The New South Wales police have confirmed they are investigating a complaint of alleged intimidation of Liberal MP Fiona Martin after she was confronted by a pro-Russia anti-vaccine mandate activist.
Simeon Boikov, who styles himself as an independent journalist known as the Aussie Cossack, arrived with a camera in tow at the MP’s pop-up campaign stall at Cabarita Park on Monday, later posting several videos of the incident to YouTube.
The videos depict Boikov attempting to question Martin as she gets into her car to leave the park, before a staffer for the marginal seat MP calls the NSW police.
In the video, Boikov labels Martin a “coward”, a “rat [running] from a sinking ship”, saying she “ran like a criminal” away from him and suggesting it is a “crime” or “unAustralian” behaviour to waste police time.
Katja Theodorakis from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told Guardian Australia that, while she didn’t suggest Boikov was an extremist, the “divisive” language used to “troll” Martin is consistent with language used by extremists seeking to create division in Australia and other liberal democracies.
Boikov featured in a 2021 ABC Four Corners investigation as the leader of the Australian Cossacks, a group that promotes pro-Russian government sentiment.
In 2018 Boikov reportedly told a Russian media outlet that “we have a unique opportunity to support Russia from within an enemy state”, in reference to Australia, although he later told the ABC he loves Australia and wants to improve Australian-Russian relations.
Boikov was a prominent figure in the recent anti-vaccine mandate convoy to Canberra, part of a contingent of live-streamers and YouTube personalities who broadcast for hours from protests and demonstrations.
Boikov was invited into United Australia Party MP Craig Kelly’s office during the recent parliamentary sitting fortnight, to accompany a “delegation” of protesters as a so-called “independent press”…