ST PETERSBURG, Russia: A group of four girls were attacked by young men on Ligovsky Prospect in the center of St. Petersburg for being suspected lesbians.
The group of young men saw the girls holding hands and started harassing them. The girls sought shelter in a nearby coffee shop, but one of the young women was nevertheless punched in the face when she reached for her pepper spray.
Сейчас нашла эти фотки и просто хочется плакать. Мы были такие счастливые, довольные жизнью. Сейчас все не в состоянии даже просто функционировать, Катя в больнице, Алина постоянно на телефоне из-за сми и полиции, мы с Дашей стараемся как можем. Ни работать, ни спать. pic.twitter.com/hsiKly54i2— кел (@cell__lupus) December 12, 2019
The attackers then tried to run away and were chased by 18-year-old Ekaterina Lysykh. Video footage from the coffee shop shows Lysykh being kicked and hit in the head by the group of men.
She was taken to hospital by paramedics where she received stitches in her lip and treatment for concussion. She was released from the hospital the next day, but had to be rehospitalized as her condition deteriorated again.
On 11 December, four suspects were arrested by agents from St. Petersburg’s “anti-extremism” unit. Three suspects, between ages 16 and 19 were charged with “malicious infliction of moderately serious bodily harm.” The fourth suspect turned witness.
The suspects are reported to be members of the nationalist group Firstline Nevograd. Although it is not clear how many members the group has, or who started it, it is suspected that a man named Andrey Linok was possibly the person who established the group.
In 2011, other members of this group were charged with assault. At least two murders have also been committed by members of Firstline Nevograd.
Firstline Nevograd has been staging concerts and selling t-shirts with its symbol since the summer of 2018. The profits from the sales of these are used to support nationalists who are in jail, for assault and other violent crimes.
In September 2018, the night club Zoccolo in St. Petersburg hosted a performance of the group “Truckdrivers” that is popular with Antifa activists. A group of about 20 neo-Nazis entered the club and caused a ruckus. They attacked a security guard and threw smoke grenades and rocks. The band still played and no-one was seriously injured, but a man that looks a lot like Linok is seen to show the Nazi salute. He is still in jail but maintains his innocence.
The Firstline Nevrograd denies having any ties to Linok, but fellow nationalists believe him to be a political prisoner. Linok is believed to have staged at least three attacks against local migrants and activists from the LGBTQ and Antifa communities.