Denis Bakholdin was born in Moscow in 1981. He has served military service in Russian army, has obtained two graduate degrees – as a psychologist and an economist, got a well-paid job in a bank.
In 2012, he became involved in opposition activities. He was regularly detained at protest rallies with the courts imposing fines and periods of administrative detention. He also took part in observing elections.
With the beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine, he actively joined anti-war rallies. For example, on October 7, 2014, he gained a lot of publicity when he came out in the centre of Moscow with a mask resembling Russian President Vladimir Putin and a sign saying: “Putin – a war criminal”.
In the autumn of 2014, he moved to Ukraine, where he continued his activities, in particular, supporting the Russian anti-war opposition.
In March 2017, while trying to visit his mother, he was arrested in the Bryansk region and imprisoned in a detention centre on charges of “participation in an extremist society”; he is also threatened with a second charge of acting as a “mercenary”.
The investigators initially tried to beat a confession out of him. This will be followed by a trial with a predetermined outcome and long prison sentence, all because Denis could not support his country’s engagement in an unjust war, and could not remain in an “inner emigration”.