Site Archive‎ > ‎Human rights week by week‎ > ‎2012‎ > ‎

February 2012

Moscow schoolteachers were ordered to attend a pro-Putin rally on 4/2; a director of a Moscow training centre subsequently lost her job for refusing to ensure her employees’ attendance. On 8/2 Irina Kolpakova, a Samara region election official, told how the authorities had falsified results in the December parliamentary elections. On 8/2 the Russian Supreme Court upheld the banning of Grigory Yavlinsky as candidate in the presidential election. On 13/2 the League of Voters said Russian TV channels were broadcasting campaign materials exclusively on behalf of Putin. On 15/2 independent election monitor Golos said it had been forced out of its Moscow office. On 21/2 billboard ads for candidate Mikhail Prokhorov were reported torn down in cities across Russia.

Election protests
Tens of thousands protested in Moscow on 4/2 for fresh parliamentary elections and other reforms. On 10/2, authorities in Barnaul declared anti-government protests with toys to be illegal without official permission. Hundreds of protesters drove cars around in central Moscow on 19/2 to demand free elections. Thousands of protestors formed a chain around central Moscow on 26/2. On 20/2 in Lermontov, Stavropol region, about 50 residents stormed the Town Hall after authorities refused to register candidates for the municipal elections; five candidates went on hunger strike.

Activists said they came under pressure prior to the protest rally on 4/2. Philip Kostenko of Memorial’s Anti-Discrimination Centre in St. Petersburg, was victim of a brutal attack on 3/2. On 15/2 Smolensk court overturned a 10-year prison sentence on drug charges given to opposition activist Taisiya Osipova and ordered a new trial. On 21/2, activist, Vera Lavreshina, arrested at a rally outside the Central Election Commission, was forcibly hospitalised in a psychiatric hospital. Nadezhda Nizovkina, who protested on Red Square against the FSB, was forcibly taken to a psychiatric hospital on 26/2 and released on 28/2. Irkutsk activist Timofei Kirichenko was beaten up on 29/2 by unidentified suspects.

Justice system
On 7/2 Hermitage Capital reported police investigators said the case against late lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and Hermitage CEO William Browder was ready to go to court. On 27/2 Moscow City Court ruled on-going investigations into Magnitsky were lawful. On 28/2 the FSB said two tax officials accused by Magnitsky of embezzlement could not be questioned since they had left the country. On 8/2, two days after Putin said there were no political prisoners in Russia, activists submitted a list of 39 alleged political prisoners to the President. On 10/2 head of the St. Petersburg police Mikhail Sukhodolsky was sacked following an investigation into the death in custody of a 15-year-old boy.

On 14/2 a painting by Aleksandr Savko ‘Sermon on the Mount’ was ruled extremist by Kaluga region court. On 14/2 Aleksei Venediktov, editor of Ekho Moskvy radio, said he and his deputy were resigning from the board in protest over the ouster of two independent board members. On 15/2 Russian MTV pulled a new talk show, Gosdep presented by Ksenia Sobchak, in which members of the country's opposition had been given a voice. French journalist Anne Nivat, detained on 10/2, was expelled on 12/2 for alleged visa violations. On 16/2 Internet TV channel Dozhd said prosecutors had requested information about how the channel financed coverage of protest rallies. On 17/2 the FSB searched a bank owned by Aleksander Lebedev, funder of Novaya gazeta. Lebedev subsequently said he could no longer pay the wages of Novaya gazeta staff. A denial-of-service attack on 20/2 took down a website,, run by organizers of the upcoming opposition rally "Big White Circle."

LGBTI rights
On 29/2 a bill banning so-called ‘propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia to minors’ passed in a 3rd reading in St. Petersburg city parliament.