The morning of February 3rd 2012, on his way to work the social activist Filip Kostenko was beaten in St. Petersburg. The attack happened in a dark and deserted park. Two fit young men attacked Kostenko, brought him to the ground and started to kick and beat him. The attackers weren’t interested in his money or personal things. The only question they asked was, “What is your name?”, and after Filip identified himself, they continued to kick his legs. Then the attackers quickly disappeared.
Filipp Kostenko is an active member of the St. Petersburg protest movement, an antifascist and anarchist, and a member of a human rights organisation. Late last year he was repressed by the authorities and arrested for a month after participating in the December protests against electoral fraud. He has repeatedly been threatened by members of the Center to Combat Extremism (CCE) and today’s attacks, which occurred on the day before the oppositional rally in St. Petersburg, shows political and repressive motives.
Kostenko says about the situation, “I have repeatedly received threats from both members of CCE and from anonymous people. Even after my release from arrest in January, I was given a threat that I would have my legs broken in a park by my house. And today they tried to carry out that threat. On February 3rd, assailants kicked me, injured my knee and broke my glasses – their goal, it seems, was to prevent me from taking part in any future activities. Even though they didn’t break my leg, I now cannot take part in tomorrow’s protest. They managed to reach that goal. The CCE has resorted to tactics of open terror. They could not put me in a jail and decided to intimidate me with force. But they will not succeed.”
Right after the attack, Kostenko received a messagel sent from Vasily Trifan’s e-mail adress. Vasily Trifan is a senior security officer of the Center to Combat Extremism in the Northwestern Federal District, who conducted a search of Kostenko’s apartment in 2010 and threatened the activist. The email from firstname.lastname@example.org was as follows: “Well Filippok, do you have sore feet? Things are only heating up. If you keep on f***ing around, you’ll see more shit. So keep quiet, and don’t complain, or you will spend the rest of your life pissing blood. )))”
This was the second attack on Kostenko this week. Prior to this, he was first photographed, and later beaten by four unknown assailants downtown the morning of January 31st, 2012.