The Case of Oleg Slepynin: While Terrorists Seize Buses, the SBU “Exposes” Writers

On July 15th, the SBU reported that a resident of Cherkassy and member of the Union of Writers of Russia, by order of curators from Russia, inciting religious hatred, publicly, “on the propaganda on the Internet resources of the Russian Federation”, condemned the existence of one of the Ukrainian denominations and “actively supported the illegal armed groups of the so-called L/DPR”.

The person was handed a notice of suspicion under part 1 of article 161 (violation of equal rights of citizens based on race, nationality, or religious beliefs). Thanks to the publication of the local website “Provintsiya”, it became known that this is referring to the writer Oleg Slepynin, who was already searched for the same reason a year and a half ago. In fact, the SBU twice in a year and a half reported about the capture of the same “anti-Ukrainian agitator”.

We contacted the writer Oleg Slepynin, who is currently under house arrest under the sanction of the Pridneprovsky Court of Cherkassy.

Oleg, this is not the first search. What happened a year and a half ago?

“A search was conducted twice. The first was in March 2019, exactly a year and a half ago. A case was initiated under part 1 of article 161 — ‘incitement’. In the protocol, as evidence of ‘incitement, articles from the Internet written by various authors that I use when writing a historical work of fiction are named. They were found on my laptop and system unit, in the contents of the computer folder ‘roman EKSPERT’. I am writing a novel about the events of modern history. By the way, the search protocol strongly emphasised, three times (!), that such an author as the Grand Duke Vladimir Monomakh was found in the contents of texts. The equipment was confiscated. They kept it. Then they returned. Then Zelensky won the election.”

But they didn’t lose interest in you.

“Quite so. In November 2019, my laptop was taken from me again, fraudulently. They said: ‘We just need to see it’. They spoke with my wife, she simply took it to them herself. The laptop was arrested by the court. I don’t know what they might have put on it later. Then they came back with a new search. Once again, the system unit was removed and confiscated in March, and then returned, having not found anything interesting on it. Probably, at this moment they realised that all the articles are working material for a novel. After the second search, the investigation turned to the court to arrest the system unit through the court. With a great delay, I learned about the court and that the court refused them: it issued the appropriate court order. Why am I mentioning this? On the system unit there is a novel that I’ve been writing for the last few years. In January, the court order came into force, but so far the system has not been returned. It is not evidence as defined by the court.”

Why is the case being re-opened?

“Probably, the people who supervise Zelensky and his ‘Soros team’, those who prepare Ukraine for full sawing up, do not intend to stop there. They do not need intra-church and – more broadly – civil peace in Ukraine. In society, they use everything that can create additional tensions. So they launch the church theme again. And there is no need for more: the church is constitutionally separated from the state. And if the state and individual statesmen do not interfere, it will sort out its own problems.”

And yet what is in the publications to incriminate you under article 161 of the Criminal Code?

“These are several articles written by the same author, from among those who are interesting to me; the articles are interesting as a historical fact and partly as an analysis of modernity from one of the points of view. They talk about the kitchen where Tomos and its sauce were prepared. That’s one thing. Secondly, in Cherkassy, those who need it are well aware of my attitude to the events related to the international scam to impose this document, in relation to the schism. There are articles about the schism disaster signed ‘Oleg Slepynin’. This attitude of mine is not at all original. It is in solidarity with the opinion of the majority of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and is based on the teaching of the Church Fathers.”

A lot of journalists and bloggers over the years have been involved in various articles [of the Criminal Code – ed] – separatism, terrorism, treason, but for [article – ed] 161, it is perhaps for the first time. It has always been considered that it does not function in Ukraine.

“As can be seen, we decided to make up for this omission. And not in relation to those who aggressively oppose the canonical church, who incite simpletons against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who hysterically say: ‘The church is a lie, the church is death, the church is evil’. There are no complaints about them. There are no complaints about those who spread stories about the church before and during the covid-quarantine. State bodies are dissatisfied with those who have always supported church peace and canons. They are a hindrance. In fact, nothing new, like 2000 years in a row — the Church of Christ is a hindrance. So we came up with a move: to use article 161 as a tool. So I see it. In fact, the charge of incitement looks strange. Why ‘deliberately incite’ using not the largest websites that were closed in Ukraine? I checked, one of the sites named in the suspicion doesn’t open for sure. Why, if the same thing is said openly by church leaders, politicians, publicists on all broadcasts?”

What exactly was the “incitement”? Any injuries?

“Good question. The fact of the matter is that there’s nothing. There were no injuries. At the trial, I learned that the investigation, having started the case under part 1 of article 161, then, it turns out, reclassified it to a more severe part 3 of article 161 — actions committed by an ‘organised group of persons or which cause the death of people’. Why did they re-qualify it? My first thought is that some action was planned against the canonical church. Capture, clashes… What else is there to think? Moreover, this happened. Then the investigation returned to part 1 of article 161. Why is there this shuffling of articles? Or is this a trick to extend the period of pre-trial investigation? The term is one year. It’s been a week and a half! So, the court followed the hint, extended the period of pre-trial investigation? What for? All of this is strange. The information fabrications of the SBU press service on the eve of deciding on a preventive measure also looks strange. They add: ‘agitator’ on the order of ‘Russian curators’ distributed information that is aimed at ‘inciting religious, ethnic hatred, and support for separatism’. For some reason, they also added ‘support for the activities of the leaders of the DPR/LPR’. Either to put pressure on the court (and did it succeed?), or so that I go on the run. It is possible that they are making plans for the future, depicting stormy activity.”

What are your plans?

“I’m definitely not going to run. I have known the names of my ancestors, the Chigirin Cossacks, who shed their blood for the Orthodox faith since the 17th century. About the plans – I’m waiting for the second part of my fabulous novel ‘Veseloped. I write two novels at the same time and make short films with children… I understand why terrorists hijack buses and mine train stations. Because the SBU and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are too busy ‘exposing’ some writers.”

Pavel Volkov

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