Late last summer, 20 tractors made their way to Moscow, driven by angry farmers, to protest for the rights of provincial farmers in the Krasnodar region, near Crimea. They accused larger, corporate farming entities of stealing their land. The protest was stopped by police 17 times within 24 hours on the way to the capital. The farmers also wanted to draw attention to the court system in the region which they accuse of favoring large agricultural entities.
Now it seems one of the lead protesters, Nikolai Borodin, has been charged with fraud under seemingly suspicious circumstances. Borodin is accused of fraudulently renting a plot of land controlled by the Droganovo farming collective in 2013. Investigators claim that Borodin did not legally gain the approval of stakeholders to take over the land during a formal meeting. They have also charged the wife of another protester, Yelena Petrova, as having taken part in the scheme, reports The Moscow Times.
Borodin has a court date on the first of February and is already planning an appeal. The disputes date back to the end of the Soviet Union where local residents were given small tracts of land which has obviously now become valuable.