Russian activist used a drone to retrieve his data from his high-rise apartment

Russian activist saves data from police with drone

A YouTube video taken (in Russian) by a female companion shows Mr Boyko, who lives in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, releasing a drone from his flat in a tall apartment block as police wait to be let in. Mr Boyko heads the local branch of the movement of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who campaigned for voters to defeat candidates of the United Russia party using tactical voting in Sunday’s city council election.

The activists say the raids are a form of revenge by the authorities for the setbacks. Mr Boyko’s companion says the couple were woken by loud banging on the door, to find men in civilian clothes and masks demanding to be let in. The drone was loaded with various hard disks, solid-state drives and flash sticks containing “very important” information that he did not want to fall into the police’s hands, according to the activist.

Russian activist saves data from police with drone

“Done. The evacuation has been carried out. The drone reached its destination,” he says at one point. The video then shows what appears to be an attempt to break down Mr Boyko’s door after he refuses to let police in before obtaining proof of their authority. He finally let them in following negotiations through a lawyer. The organisation’s headquarters in Novosibirsk were also searched. Mr Navalny and his supporters say the money-laundering allegation is ludicrous, and the funds involved are donations from the public.

The case was launched following a series of protests over the summer against the authorities’ decision to bar key opposition candidates from Moscow’s city council election