Andsource In Ulyanovsk, a search was conducted in the apartment of a journalist. Employees of the Center for Combating Extremism of the Regional Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs searched the apartment of Ulyanovsk journalist Oleg Sofyin as part of a criminal libel case. The police have not commented on the case. Oleg Sofyin himself notes that, according to police officers, he is suspected of participating in the Kompromat Ulyanovsk telegram channel, in whose posts criticism of the regional authorities is regularly heard. Oleg Sofyin claims that he had nothing to do with this telegram channel. The governor's administration confirmed that there were allegations of slander “in relation to some telegram channels”, but noted that they had no information about the relationship between the statements and Oleg Sof'in. Political scientists note that anonymous telegram channels, which allow their authors to evade responsibility, lead to disinformation and distortion of the political space in the interests of certain political forces.
On Thursday last week, employees of the Center for Combating Extremism of the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs conducted a search in the apartment of Ulyanovsk journalist Oleg Sofinin, confiscating a smartphone and a video camera (neither a computer nor a laptop was found in the apartment). This was reported to Kommersant by Oleg Sofyin himself, who noted that from the court order on the search, which the police showed him, it followed that permission to conduct investigative actions was given as part of a criminal case on libel on the Internet (part 2 of article 128.1, from a fine of 1 million rubles to two years in prison) “according to Barynin, and in the governor’s administration, the head is Vyacheslav Barynin.” As noted in the decision, the investigation believes that Oleg Sofyin, according to operational information, may be involved in the fact of slander.
Oleg Sofyin worked as a journalist in 2013-2017 in the editorial office of the Ulnovosti information portal, then left it, in recent years, until recently, he collaborated as a journalist with the Simbirsk City website. Now, according to him, he earns money as a taxi driver and earns money by filming and creating videos. In Ulyanovsk, he was previously known as a blogger who, while still a student, in 2012, after a series of scandalous posts about the spending of the regional government on a 3D-GIS system, was the defendant in a lawsuit to protect the honor and dignity of Deputy Governor Svetlana Openysheva (the court did not satisfy the claim).
Oleg Sofyin explained to Kommersant that, in his opinion, the criminal libel case is “probably connected with the publications of the Kompromat Ulyanovsk telegram channel”, “at least the police asked questions about involvement in this telegram channel , and in the prosecutor's office, and in the investigative committee. “I answered them that I have nothing to do with Kompromat Ulyanovsk, and in general I have nothing to do with any of the telegram channels,” said Mr. Sofin. He also stated that back in the spring he was invited to the governor's administration, where they allegedly demanded to stop writing all sorts of nonsense and also announced his involvement in Kompromat Ulyanovsk. Oleg Sofyin also believes that, in reality, the investigative actions may be related to his complaints to the prosecutor's office and the Prosecutor General's Office, in which he points to the activities of the regional authorities in the field of medicine in the interests of one of the major owners of the medical business.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs declined to comment on the searches. A Kommersant source close to law enforcement agencies confirmed that a criminal case had been opened and that the investigation suspected that Oleg Sofyin was involved in the work of the Kompromat Ulyanovsk telegram channel. “But so far the case has been initiated only on the fact, on the complaint of an individual, there are no personalities there, it may turn out that there won’t be, especially since it can be very difficult to prove slander, especially from anonymous telegram channels,” the source said.
Alexander Korobko, deputy governor for domestic policy, noted that he had no information that Oleg Sofyin was invited to the governor's administration for talks. “Since I oversee interaction with the media, I would definitely be informed,” Mr. Korobko explained. At the same time, he confirmed that a slander statement was sent to the police, “since some telegram channels are openly fraudulent, including the discrediting of the Russian army.” “No one is against criticism, officials have such a job that they are criticized, but you can’t manipulate facts. And I know that a lot of people complain about Kompromat Ulyanovsk, both veteran organizations and ordinary citizens,” the vice-governor noted.
A source in the regional authorities told Kommersant that “there is indirect information about Sofyin's involvement in compromising evidence, and then the investigating authorities will sort it out.” administrators of telegram channels, including Anatoly Spirina, the owner of the well-known telegram channel Politburo 3.0 in the Ulyanovsk region. that anonymous telegram channels enable their authors to evade responsibility and write whatever they need in the interests of certain political forces, and this leads to disinformation and distortion of the political space. “Such channels are a powerful tool for influencing both the political alignment and the country's security issues. And I think that it is necessary to introduce some methods of regulation of this sphere of activity,” the political scientist noted.