The Current

Librarian under house arrest in Moscow accused of anti-Russian propaganda

She's accused of inciting ethnic hatred and violating human dignity. Natalya Sharina is a 58-year-old Russian librarian in Moscow and though the Russian government says she's not on the Kremlin's radar, someone thinks she and her books are a threat. The CBC's Susan Ormiston brings us her story.
A man walks past the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow, Russia. The library was raided in Oct. 2015 by Russia's security forces and the director of the library, Natalya Sharina, was accused of violating the law. Sharina has been held under house arrest since then. (Maxim Shemetov/Reuters)

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Natalya Sharina, 58, has been a librarian for 40 years. She's Russian and lives in Moscow and since 2011, Sharina has been the director of The Library of Ukrainian Literature, state-run and used by the public and researchers. 

On the morning of Oct. 28, 2015, armed Russian investigators, supported by the FCB, raided Sharina's home taking computers, flash drives and textbooks. Then brought her to the library where they raided the contents and left with big garbage bags.

Sharina was interrogated in jail and held for two nights and two days. She is currently imprisoned at home under house arrest.

Anna Pavlukova, Natalya Sharina's daugther says there is no evidence of her mother promoting books banned by Russia. Sharina has been accused of inciting ethnic hatred. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

Her daughter. 33-year-old Anna Pavlukova says "she must not communicate with anybody... she will be arrested and taken to prison." Her mother is only allowed to speak to her daughter, husband and son-in-law. Pavlukova spoke to the CBC's Susan Ormiston to tell her mother's story.

She's Russian. She loves Russia. She's not full of hate.- Anna Pavlukova on her mother Natalya Sharina accused of ethnic hatred

Natalya Sharina is accused of inciting ethnic hatred for stocking banned books in the library. Some of the books that are being pointed to in this case are nationalist Ukrainian books which the state has put under the umbrella of anti-Russian propaganda. Lawyers say they have witnesses who suggest the books were planted.

Ever since the first search of the library in 2010, Anna Pavlukova says she always believed security forces would come back. Pavlukova worked as a librarian in the library but quit in 2015. Her decision to leave was tied to the belief that as long as she was in the library, her mother's house arrest might be extended. 

The most important thing for us, for Russians I guess, is to respect and to love each other. And not to think about some other world as something horrible to find, that there are always enemies all over the world. I do believe that it is not true. And I do believe that we should look at each other as members of the family.-  Anna Pavlukova

This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien.