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The police began to check the phones of the Russians for the presence of Telegram. Monologues of those who faced this

And the recommendations of the “Open Russia” on how to behave in a similar situation.

Photo “Interpress”
At the end of September, the Readovka edition from Smolensk spoke about police officers who check the smartphones of citizens for the presence of Telegram. Several readers shared with journalists that law enforcement agencies suspect messenger users of using or selling drugs. The source of the publication in the local police noted that Telegram has a reputation as a “messenger for drug addicts”, and thanks to the verification of smartphones, it was possible to catch several drug dealers. A representative of the Smolensk police soon began to deny this information.

Telegram is really popular as a platform for the drug business, especially after the closure of the largest darknet store RAMP. Moreover, the messenger has been officially blocked in Russia for more than six months , therefore, according to the logic of state bodies, the law-abiding citizen will not use it. However, not all Telegram users are criminals, drug addicts or drug traffickers, and many of them will not argue with the police when they inspect a smartphone in order not to get 15 days for disobeying an employee.

The news from Smolensk was widely distributed in federal media, bloggers issued notes on why the actions of the police were illegal, and also sharedsimilar stories.  appealed to readers with a request to tell whether they have encountered cases of checking smartphones for the presence of Telegram. A human rights activist from Open Russia explained how to defend her rights in such situations.

All reader names are hidden upon request.


About a year ago I was stopped at the exit from the Botanical Park in Moscow (near the Vladykino metro station). It was late, they took me to a branch near the MCC station, where we inspected both phones for the presence of the Tor browser. As the operative said, they are looking for Telegram and Tor, because there are a lot of bookmarks in the Botanical Garden.

By the way, they also examined their hands and looked for dirt under their nails.

In September there was a case with a Telegram check by employees of the Rosguard. Near the metro station Glider. Judging by the stories of friends, they always look at photos, notes, recent applications, Telegram and WhatsApp.

In case of refusal, unlock the smartphone can start spinning in full and hold it for 12 hours in the office. Punch for involvement in any nonsense that occurs in the area, plus give some fine for drinking or smoking.

St. Petersburg

In 2017, after drinking, I came across police officers. Unlock your smartphone on demand, which was already a mistake. But the employee demanded at the same time to enter the password from Telegram. I found nothing dangerous there, and there was nothing to catch from me. The department, requests to let go home – let go without a protocol.

But with a good friend was worse. He had no experience with the policemen. In a large park I was looking for a bookmark. Stumbled upon the staff of the Rosguards or those who introduced them. Employees demanded unlock phone and Telegram. In the saved messages found the coordinates of the bookmark. Many search engines save addresses to the bookmarks of the messenger. Plus, recent applications on the phone probably hinted at the crime.

Employees went along with a friend to look for treasure. Found it. And they began to breed for money. Lit out. Drugs did not take. This friend is now bookmarked from memory.

At the end of August, police stopped me on the street and, in a rude manner, began to demand to get everything out of my pockets. I put things on the trunk of their car, including the phone. They asked him to unblock it, I refused, but they made it clear to me that it would only get worse. I had to obey. They saw the Telegram, read most of the chats and let go.


At the railway station in Sochi, the police stopped me and checked Telegram for the presence of the “forbidden”. The policeman asked me to unlock the phone, I did not argue, because I was late for the train. Opening the phone, the first thing I saw was Telegram. He just shook my correspondence, periodically asking questions “Who is Fred?” Who is Ildar? I replied: “My friends.”

It is not necessary to believe me. I just wanted to warn you not to accidentally show the police a photo of your naked wife or something worse.

Ivan Startsev ( quoted on Twitter )


In early August, I was sitting near the entrance to the bus station in Stavropol. Three policemen, 25-30 years old, approached, introduced themselves and asked to go with them. I did not understand what was happening, I did not even smoke so that I could be fined. They took me into my room and told me to pull everything out of my pockets and unlock the phone. Quickly found the Telegram, began to watch the chat rooms with everyone who does not have a real name. They didn’t really get it, they were looking for certain words, as I understood.

He asked why they do it. They say that every week the mortgaggers are caught like that. I say this not because it is blocked? They say no, they themselves sit in it. They did not go anywhere else, only in Telegram. They behaved normally, there was no aggression, they were joking. Gave the phone. He took his whole and left, did not write down my data and did not ask for my passport. I then asked the taxi driver if they often take someone like that. He said that somewhere every hour.


A couple of times in 2018, they stopped and checked the smartphone. As I understand it, this is a mandatory requirement. Among my surroundings, many either stopped using Telegram, or permanently delete an instant messenger when they leave home

Once stopped just outside. Check the documents and allegedly for smoking in a public place. They say that in order not to issue a fine, let’s just check the phone to see if it has been stolen. When they took, they saw Telegram, took a picture of the screen on their phone and asked to unblock the entrance. I refused – they took me to the police station and there they already pressed a little, but I refused again. They let go. In the same year, they directly approached and said that Operation “Mac” (the annual operation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs against drugs – comment of ). Like, looking for drug addicts

I have a phone on my phone and a password on a Telegram separately. But the first time I unlocked the phone myself and did not expect anything unusual, but when they took the phone, but they could not get into Telegram, it made them angry. I have passwords for almost all applications.

Now the police generally require unlocking the phone with each check. If you do not give, they are taken to the office or they can reach for several hours. This is a direct problem now with us now. Therefore, the presence of the cart itself is not safe


I stood at the bus stop, very cold – I decided to go to the pharmacy to warm up. A tall uncle flew about 40 years old, quickly went to me and asked: “What are you doing here?”. Answered: “I am in correspondence.” He asked to show the documents, and after my questions showed his ID.

He told me that I was suspected of putting bookmarks. And for 15 minutes I have been watching me stand in a pharmacy and dig in the phone. He demanded to show the “Photo Gallery”, and to the question why he answered: “Yes, I will find why”. I understood that there are two options: either he will poke at me “ksivoy” and argue, or he will take him to the station before “clarifying the circumstances”.

I chose the option “terpily” – answered questions. He showed him photos, he says: “Show your passport”. I showed, he read the name and said: “I remember your name, somewhere it figured.” And I remembered that when I was still living in the village, I was registered. But they hardly know about it. The employee sat down on the courts and started writing something there. I understood that it was time to give to a lady A bus arrived, I asked: “Can I go already? Then I will not have time. The time was closer to 11pm. He answered me: “Nothing, you will leave.”

A staff member said: “Do you know how many people stand at this point and how many do we close?”. The dialogue seems to be about anything, but, bitch, scary. If we went to the station, we would definitely find something. Then he asked me about the Telegram. I realized that I have a Telegram, and there it is that it’s better not to see people from the organs. There are no bookmarks, there are just channels where content similar in content is published. He said, “Well, come in.” And I know, they have already been given an installation, that the dealers and others use the “cart”.

He showed him slowly the correspondence and working chats. And he knew that it was better not to show them to him. He says to me: “You are faster, faster, move.” The employee says: “Next”, but I really do not want to show further. Then he asked: “And what is this Nural”? This is my colleague, there is a correspondence about money and numbers. A staff member said, “Is this a colleague? And if we call a colleague? I replied: “Well, let’s call.” And then he says that you do not need to call. While he was writing there, I deleted the chat history in chat rooms.

Scattered to me, how often people catch my bookmarks here, how they plant it, what time it takes. I said that I have a bus, I will not leave. He replied: “Well, go, but don’t come here better.” I do not advise you in such situations to be.

Ruslan Denisyuk ( quoted on YouTube )

What to do if the police ask to unlock the smartphone and show the Telegram

At the request of , Elsa Nisanbekova, a lawyer for the defense of Open Russia, made several recommendations on how to behave in such cases. According to her, the police rely on Article 13 of the Law “On Police”, which permits inspection of citizens and objects, as well as Article 27.7 of the Code on Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation on personal search. It contains clear rules: employees are required to draw up a protocol, bring in two witnesses, register their positions, full name and date, as well as indicate the number of things inspected and information about the citizen .

Inspection does not mean that the police dig in the phone. A policeman can only look at him from the outside, like at the airport: what if it was a bomb? There is no violation of rights here.

It is quite another thing when you require a password and begin to read the correspondence. In this case, the police officer must have permission from the court to limit its secrets, as stated in Article 23 of the Constitution . “Everyone has the right to confidentiality of correspondence, telephone conversations, postal, telegraph and other communications. Restriction of this right is allowed only on the basis of a court decision. “

Elsa Nisanbekova
Lawyer of the rights of “Open Russia

What to do if you are asked to show a smartphone:

  • Do not deny the request to show a smartphone, because in this case you can get 15 days for disobeying the lawful demand of a police officer;
  • Require a personal search report. If we are refused, we call passersby to take video of the police;
  • You don’t have to give anyone a password, so you can say you forgot;
  • Remember that the most important information is better to hide away.
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