Surreal moment Navalny ally plays Beethoven as Russian police raid her home

1 February 2021, 13:29 | Updated: 1 February 2021, 13:33

Anastasia Vasilyeva plays piano as police raid her Moscow flat
Anastasia Vasilyeva plays piano as police raid her Moscow flat. Picture: Twitter/@exCheremnova

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

As investigators raid her home, an ally of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny plays Beethoven in a tuneful act of defiance.

Music has found a place in Russia’s current period of unrest, as thousands take to the streets to protest the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

In one of many reported raids targeting allies of the Kremlin critic, Russian investigators searched the home of one of Navalny’s supporters, only to be greeted by the sound of Beethoven.

Anastasia Vasilyeva, head of Russian medical workers’ union ‘Doctors’ Alliance’ and Navalny’s personal doctor and friend, plays ‘Für Elise’ on a white upright piano as police raid her Moscow flat (watch in the tweet below).

She continues to tickle the ivories as officers explain to her that they are about to search her flat.

When an officer informs Vasilyeva she must hand over all her electronic devices, the amateur musician brings her phrase to a close and asks: “No applause? No encore?”

Read more: 9 powerful images of music’s role in times of conflict >

Nobody applauds.

Vasilyeva looks over some papers given to her by the officer, and a disagreement appears to take place.

According to lawyer Dmitry Djulai, investigators later detained Vasilyeva for 48 hours, alleging unspecified violations of COVID-19 rules.

“Her detention was inappropriate and stupid revenge for her human rights activities,” Reuters reports that Djulai wrote on Facebook.

“Anastasia’s two children, minors, were left at home and tomorrow her patients will not be able to see her.”

Russia is experiencing significant protests as people take to the streets in support of Navalny, who has been an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Riot police and national guard troops have blocked off streets and more than 5,000 people have been detained – the most at any point in Putin’s 21-year presidency.