Russia: Bloggers Find Street Shooter

Bloggers across the Russian Internet were quick to respond with posts and information after well-known photo-blogger Dmitry Ternovsky [ru] was shot at recently on a highway in the southeast of Moscow.

Live-tweeted shooting

Ternovsky live-tweeted [ru] a confusing scene in which two unknown men shot at his car:

Трое нерусских на мерседесе расстреляли мою машину за то что я снял их нарушение. Гонялись за мной и стреляли высунувшись из окна

Three non-Russians in a Mercedes shot at my car because I was taking pictures of how they broke the law. They caught up with me and shot with a gun stuck out the window

Номер Мерседеса, из которого стреляли: в294хк199

The number of the Mercedes from which they shot: v294xk199

The video of the shooting was uploaded on July 14, 2011, by YouTube user ridusnews (Ternovsky is behind the “Ridus News” citizen journalist community):

Ternovsky also posted photos of the cartridge cases he found on the side of the road.

Cartridge case Ternovsky found after his car was shot at. Photo by Dmitry Ternovsky (YFrog)

Cartridge case Ternovsky found after his car was shot at. Photo by Dmitry Ternovsky (YFrog)

Later, Ternovsky recounted the incident fully in an interview with RIA Novosti [ru]:

На светофоре большой длинный черный “Мерседес”, включил “крякалку” и решил встроиться в поток. Я сфотографировал этот автомобиль, он обогнал меня справа, водитель опустил окно, начал меня оскорблять, плюнул в меня и поехал дальше. Я догнал “Мерседес” – и плюнул в его сторону. После чего один из пассажиров высунулся в окно и начал стрелять в меня.

At the stoplight a large, long black Mercedes turned on its signal and decided to get into the line of traffic. I photographed the car, it pulled up next to me on the right, the driver rolled down his window and started to insult me. He spit at me and drove on ahead. I caught up to the Mercedes – and spit in his direction. After that one of the passengers leaned out of the window and began to shoot at me.

When Ternovsky reported the incident at the local police precinct, he tweeted that the police did not initially seem too concerned with the case:

Возник вопрос у милиционера. Есть ли здесь состав преступления? Во мне дырок нет, на машине легкие вмятинки. “пойду почитаю закон” говорит

One policeman questioned, “whether or not there are the making of a crime?” I don’t have a hole in me, the car only has small dents. “I'll go and read the law” he says.

Bloggers investigate

After a search of the license plate number, the police discovered that the car was registered to a female lawyer in Moscow. Ternovsky had also managed to take a picture of the two men in the car. Bloggers immediately went to work trolling Russian social networking sites, eventually finding photos supposedly matching the men in the original on the Russian website Odnoklassniki. As a result, one of the suspects, Grigory Chubrevich, a 24-year-old originally from Riga, was detained in Moscow on July 15, a day following the incident.

On July 15, Ternovsky posted on his blog [ru] several questions he has concerning the incident. Among other things, Ternovsky wondered:

Вчера вечером ребята нашли героя, сидевшего за рулем Мерседеса, на сайте одноклассников. Он отлично виден на втором (стоит справа), третьем и четвертом снимках, которые размещены здесь –
Думается, что сотрудникам МВД надо как-то быстрее осваивать Интернет и поиск в социальных сетях. Пока мы часами рисуем фотороботы и просматриваем картотеки бандитов, участники преступления спокойно находятся через Интернет.

3. Yesterday evening bloggers found the hero who was behind the wheel of the Mercedes at Odnoklassniki [a Russian site for people to connect with their schoolmates]. He is perfectly visible in the second (he’s standing on the right), third and fourth photos posted here: This leads one to think that the officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs need to somehow quickly learn to use the Internet and search on social media networks. For now we take hours sketching portraits and looking at files of bandits, while criminals can be easily found on the Internet.

In the comments under his post, bloggers quickly agreed with Ternovksy [ru], noting that:

Да. Достаточно в одноклассники встроить систему распознавания лиц. Но у нас ничего не хотят делать.

И судя по тому чемоданчику с деньгами, товарищи легко смогут отмазаться.

Yeah. It would be enough to install a face recognition system to Odnoklassniki. But of course, our people [the police] don’t want to do anything.

And judging by the suitcase filled with money, comrades will easily be able to get out of trouble.

One blogger worried [ru] that the light laws regarding minor attacks coupled with the lack of police protection would allow the perpetrators “to settle the score” against Ternovsky later:

Хочется пожелать Дмитрию тоже обзавестись травматическим стволом. По нынешним временам без него в Москве никак. […] Надеюсь, полиция все же сработает – и возьмут стрелков. Правда, им ничегошеньки не светит. Мелкое хулиганство. Заплатят штраф – и обозленные будут ждать Терновского возле подъезда, чтобы разобраться. Вооружаемся, граждане.

I'd like to advise Dmitry also to buy a traumatic pistol [a pistol that shots with rubber bullets]. In the present day and age, it’s impossible to live in Moscow without one. […] I hope the police will work everything out – and catch the shooters. But it would be hard to accuse them of something serious. It’s minor hooliganism. They will pay a fine – and enraged will wait for Ternovsky in an entryway in order to settle the score. Arm yourselves, citizens.

On July 15, a day after the attack, Ilya Varlamov [ru], a popular Russian photo-blogger and friend of Ternovsky, called for bloggers to join in support of one of their own. He posted a note on his blog [ru], asking all to rally in support of Ternovsky on July 16.

Завтра в около 13:00 в Таганском районном суде города Москвы состоится рассмотрение дела об избрании меры пресечения для задержанного по делу об обстреле машины Дмитрия ternovskiy Терновского. Мне кажется, стрелявшего в центре Москвы Григория Чубревича завтра могут отпустить. Слишком много родственников сегодня кружилось около ОВД. Думаю, только от нас зависит, замнут это дело или нет. […]

Tomorrow around 1:00 pm at Moscow’s Tagansky court, the hearing over whether or not the detained person who shot at Ternovsky's car will be arrested or not will begin. I think that the man who shot at Ternovsky in the center of Moscow, Grigory Chubrevich, could be released tomorrow. Too many relatives crowded around the Department of Internal Affairs (OVD). I think that it depends on us, if this case will be hushed up or not. […]

He later posted a blow-by-blow account of the trial [ru] and thanked the 40 or so people who came to support Ternovsky.

Due to the bloggers’ pressure, the case has received official and media attention. The first session of the court ruled to arrest Chubrevich for 2 months during the investigation. According to Echo Moskvy, Chubrevich may be charged with “Hooliganism,” which carries a sentence of up to 7 years of imprisonment.

Dmitry Ternovsky – Vocal advocate of blogger rights

Dmitry Ternovsky has long been a vocal advocate of photo-blogger rights in Russia, especially their rights to take photos of sites – from government buildings to newly constructed office buildings to trade centers. Ternovsky, along with several blogger friends, have repeatedly gone on excursions and “photowalks” in an attempt to take pictures of sites like government buildings and offices, and people such as cops and bureaucrats, in an attempt to push the boundaries of what can and cannot be photographed in Russia.

Recently, several photo bloggers, including Ternovsky, sent a letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stating that the way the police prevent photographers from taking pictures is in violation with the Russian Constitution.

Currently, the coalition of photographers is working to convince businesses, cafes, and government officials to join the ‘Photography Freedom‘ [ru] project, by posting a small sticker of a green camera in the windows of businesses and office buildings. So far, Moscow's city police have joined their ranks [ru], allowing their photos to be take while they are on duty.

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