Sunday, October 7, 2018

St. Petersburg Police Arrest ‘Free Ingria’ Activists Friday Night

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 7 – Police in the northern capital arrested a group of activists from the Free Ingria Civic Movement on Friday night, the latest indication that Moscow is worried about the rise of regionalism in places many find it difficult to imagine it exists and are adopting increasingly repressive measures against it.

            On October 5, a group of supporters of this movement which wants autonomy or more for the historically Finnish section of the northwestern part of the Russian Federation held a meeting to protest the illegal arrest of one of their number on September 16. They displayed their flag and sang their national anthem.

            The Russian police swooped in, surrounded the group which included the man who had been arrested earlier, and then as a video released by the group shows “illegally detained more than a dozen Petersburg residents” (

            In this way, the Kremlin’s new man in St. Petersburg, Aleksandr Beglov, signaled that for him just as much as for his predecessor Georgy Poltavenko, the Free Ingria movement is a problem that he plans to address with vigor, the group says, suggesting that this shows the authorities believe they have more support than many observers have concluded.

            The Free Ingria partisans have taken heart from another recent development.  On September 29, Alina Voronkova was crowned as Miss Finland 2018. Her father is an ethnic Russian, something the Russian media have focused on; but her mother is an Ingrian Finn (

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