He was one of the last great opponents of Vladimir Putin to still be able to move freely in Russia, and he suspected that it would not last. At the end of June 2022, after being arrested for “disobedience to the police”, Ilia Yachine, deputy of a Moscow district, presented himself as “an opponent, an independent municipal deputy, a critic of President Putin and an opponent of the war in Ukraine”, in other words as a concentrate of everything that the Kremlin hates and wishes to eliminate. Lucid, he predicted that his arrest would quickly lead to “a criminal case”, which has now been open since July 13, on the grounds of “dissemination of false information about the Russian army”.

Guilty of having departed from the sacred semantic rule of the Kremlin, by qualifying the “special operation” as “war”, the 39-year-old man finds himself in pre-trial detention at least until September 12. But the conviction, Friday, July 8, of another elected municipal official of Moscow, Alexeï Gorinov, to seven years in prison, and the continued detention since April of Vladimir Kara-Mourza, both arrested for the same facts as Ilia Yachine , suggest that it will stay there much longer.

Born in Moscow in 1983, Ilia Iachine carried out brilliant studies in political science, and reading the title of his master’s thesis – Organization and processes of protest in contemporary Russia – we understand that the young man was not going to easily resolve to live in the Putinian system. From the age of 17, he joined the social-liberal Yabloko movement, which became a political party in 2001. Appointed head of the Moscow branch, he advocated an alliance with other opposition parties, in order to unite forces, but faced with the repeated refusals of the founders, he was forced to leave.

Returned to his freedom, he allied himself with two great figures sharing his ideas, Boris Nemtsov and Garry Kasparov, to found, in 2008, the liberal party Solidarnost. Its goal: to restore freedom in the country, in particular by organizing marches and rallies. Despite Kasparov’s exile in 2013 and Nemtsov’s assassination in 2015, Iachine continued the fight, and it was under the orange banner of Solidarnost that he was elected, in September 2017, deputy of a Moscow district, then president of the municipal council of this same arrondissement.

Spotted as a dangerous agitator by the government, especially since he presented, in 2016, a report denouncing the repressive policy of the President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, he announced, during the summer of 2021, his resignation from the presidency of the municipal Council. Isolated on the opposition scene, this friend of Alexeï Navalny is now preparing to experience the fate of any Russian opponent who has been far behind in his convictions. It was all smiles, making the V for victory with one hand and shouting: “Don’t be afraid of these rascals, Russia will be free!”, that Ilia Yachine welcomed the announcement of her placement in custody.