‘I’m sure I’ll be locked up in a hospital’. Murmansk authorities threaten opposition candidate Violetta Grudina with forced hospitalization for allegedly breaking quarantine

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Violetta Grudina, the former head of Alexey Navalny’s campaign office in Murmansk, announced her candidacy for the upcoming City Council election back in April. But in the midst of campaigning in June, she fell ill and decided to self-isolate — she didn’t leave home for 16 days straight. However, on July 9, the authorities opened a criminal case against her for allegedly violating epidemiological rules and thus, by negligence, creating a threat of mass infection. According to police officials, Grudina knew she had tested positive for the coronavirus but broke mandatory quarantine and “came into contact with an indefinite number of persons.” A source in law enforcement told the local news agency SeverPost that Grudina left home to organize the distribution of leaflets promoting her election campaign when she was supposed to be under quarantine. In conversation with Meduza, Grudina described herself as a “law-abiding citizen” and insisted that she complied with the self-isolation instructions, as she understood them. According to Grudina, who has faced repeated threats and attacks on her campaign office since announcing her City Council run, the criminal case against her is simply the latest attempt to pressure her politically. 

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