Russia Arrests Libertarian Activists at Adam Smith Forum

If you read regularly, you will notice that I regularly go after the whole Russia is coming narrative.  I’ve even coined a new phrase, the Russian Boogeybear.  But lest you be operating under the misguided assumption that I am some sort of fan of Mother Russia, or, more conspiratorially, a Russian bot, or operative, let me reassure you that my love for the Russian state is no greater than it is for any state (which would be non-existent, that is, love, for any state).

This story should remind those of us that rightly attack the whole Rusian Boogeybear narrative which the states of the west are using to scare their citizens to give them more power over their lives, that Russia itself is every bit as oppressive as the western states we’re challenging.

Case in point is this story about two dozen libertarian activists being arrested at an Adam Smith Forum.  After hours in a police bus, most of the activists were let go, but some are still being held.  In addition to the people arrested at the forum, there were 376 more libertarian activists arrested in 36 other cities across Moscow.

Of course, predictably, the charges against these activists include conspiracy against the state, unauthorized rallies, and criminal commerce conspiracy charges, the same type of charges western states use against their dissidents.

So, when I express extreme skepticism at the whole Russia Boogeybear narrative, bear in mind that Russia, if you live there, is still far more of a threat to your safety and freedom than any other state the Russian media might attempt to have you fear.


From Reason

Over two dozen attendees at the “Adam Smith Forum,” a libertarian conference over the weekend in Russia, were arrested by authorities, according to a report from the Freedom Today Network site (an Irish site for millennial libertarians).

The UK Telegraph contextualized the arrests as part of a wider crackdown, apparently triggered by fears of “Vyacheslav Maltsev, a nationalist YouTube blogger and former member of the Saratov regional parliament” who “has long declared that a revolution against Vladimir Putin would start on November 5 2017.”

The Telegraph says that the Adam Smith Forum members were among “at least 376 people [who] had been detained in Moscow and 36 in other cities.”

From the Freedom Today report:

when a group of guests and speakers were going on a lunch break they were brutally searched, arrested and taken to the police station….Some of the detainees were not released until late at night, others are still kept under arrest; some were accused of participating in an unauthorised rally and are now serving 15 days in jail.

From a Facebook report by one of the detained, Mikhail Svetov:

After spending several hours in the crammed police bus we were brought to the station and informed that we will be questioned as witnesses in relation to the criminal investigation of terrorism and inciting riots.

The way police investigation works in Russia, witnesses are very quickly made suspects in political cases like this. Hence why we are on high alert. Some of us were release after 10 hours of questioning [and others] were just released without charge after 59 hours of detention. No explanation as to why they were detained was given either, but at least they were finally let go…

And details on the wider picture from the Telegraph report:

On Sunday afternoon, riot police had begun searching people near the Kremlin and putting many of them into police vans, although none of them were shouting slogans or holding signs. State news agency TASS reported that authorities had confiscated guns, knives, brass knuckles and clubs from some of those detained.

Photographs and video shared on social media showed that many of those arrested were teenagers and 20-somethings. One was seen playing Pokemon Go in a police van.

A video report (in Russian language) with some video of Adam Smith Forum attendees being taken in:

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at