Worldcrunch, “Cold Justice In Siberia: A Teenager Swallowed By Putin’s System”

Busted for hanging anti-government posters, 15-year-old Nikita has been jailed for almost a year on charges of “terrorism,” and has yet to even go to trial.

By Benoît Vitkine, from Le Monde (English Edition)

Everywhere, hearts. In his school notebook, Nikita wrote the words “Pushkin is a genius.” Next to it, he drew a heart. There are hearts too on the letters he sends to his mother from prison. “I miss you, I love you,” he writes. A year separates that declarations of love to the Russian poet and the letters the teenager now writes from jail in Kansk, in Siberia, which he entered at the age of 14, on charges of terrorism.

The notebooks contain other clues. In several places the letter “A” appears, written with a felt-tip pen and circled in the anarchist way. There are reflections too. The middle schooler wonders about “the social conventions invented by the middle class to distinguish themselves from the people who go barefoot.” He wants to escape — “far from the noise of firecrackers, the grandmothers who curse against dogs, the insults of passersby.”

Later on, investigators dug deeper. They demanded a report from the teenager’s school. Nikita Ouvarov “sees school as a hostile environment, reacts badly to educational measures, refuses to follow the rules and norms established by society,” the school wrote. The words might describe any number of adolescents, and yet in this case, the document played a key role in the decision to keep the boy in custody.

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