On June 10, co-working "Kontora" in Yoshkar-Ola refused to provide local journalists with rooms to hold a meeting in support of independent mass-media and Meduza’s special correspondent Ivan Golunov who is under house arrest on charges of drug distribution. The refusal was given by the bot of Telegram-channel "MariLand" that was sending out invitations to the meeting.
In the message, the company representative claimed that co-working is a neutral platform and the reservation had been made by mistake.
— The administrator tried to clarify the subject of the event, but did not receive a full answer and therefore made a reservation. We ask you to give full information on the forthcoming action next time, so that there would be no misunderstanding, — the message says.
Co-working terminated the contract and promised to return the prepayment made the day before.
On the «Kontora’s» website, restrictions for the tenant and the position of neutrality are not indicated.
— I expected and was afraid of refusal, I was preparing Plan B, because it had already happened to my friends who tried to hold an action about civil society, — the organizer Denis Dolgopolov told "7x7". — Here we see a typical day-to-day story: you cannot just gather with friends and simply talk about something without major’s permission. The whole story with Golunov and his support should destroy the last bits of trust in state institutions, if there are any left.
The meeting is going to take place in cafe «Croissant» at 19:00.
On June 8, the correspondent of Meduza Ivan Golunov was kept under house arrest on charges of drug distribution. The sanction of article 228.1 of the Criminal code provides punishment from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment. Golunov claims that drugs were planted to him, and connects criminal prosecution with his journalistic activity.
Rallies in support of Golunov were held in Russia.
In October 2018, «Kontora» refused to provide the room to the interregional human rights organization "Man and the Law" for a discussion with human rights activist from Syktyvkar Igor Sazhin. At the time, the company did not name any reasons why it had been done.
In April, «Man and the Law» was rejected by co-working "Boiling Point", which is located on the basis of Mari State University. There was to be a lecture by human rights activist Andrey Yurov. The refusal came the day before the event and was motivated by the fact that the public policy would be discussed at the site, and "Boiling Point" is apolitical. The organization "Man and the Law" is included in the register of foreign agents.
Natalya Petrova, «7х7»