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Week-ending 22 May 2015



‘Undesirable’ foreign organizations



Sergei Kholkin



Forced, bigamous marriage?


Russian 
soldiers 
in Ukraine




Flash mob 
detained 
in Crimea


Aleskandr Perepilichny may have been poisoned
Right of association 
On 19/5 the State Duma passed a law banning “undesirable” international organisations, raising fears of a further crackdown on voices critical of the Kremlin. (The Guardian, 19/5) 

On 20/5 the Council of the Federation approved the bill on so-called "undesirable" foreign organizations. (HRO.org, 20/5) 

Conscription 
On 18/5 Kommersant reported that Sergei Kholkin, a conscript from Murmansk, filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) alleging that he had been deprived of his right to perform alternative service. (RAPSI, 18/5) 

Chechnya 
On 16/5 a Chechen district police chief, Nazhud Guchigov, was married to a 17-year-old local girl, weeks after reports that she was being forced to wed the already-married official. Last month Novaya gazeta reported Guchigov had launched an intimidation campaign against the girl’s parents. (The Moscow Times, 17/5) 

Ukraine 
On 20/5 activists investigating the deaths of three soldiers from a special forces brigade of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), based in Tambov, said the evidence indicates elite army reconnaissance units are operating in Ukraine, adding to evidence of direct Russian involvement in the conflict there. Their claims came shortly after Ukrainian authorities detained two men they say are GRU soldiers who were wounded in a firefight while on a scouting mission in eastern Ukraine. (RFE/RL, 20/5) 

On 21/5 OSCE mediators in the Ukrainian crisis say two men captured by Kyiv's troops had said they were members of the Russian armed forces sent in to back up pro-Moscow separatist fighters. (RFE/RL, 21/5) 

On 21/5 a flash mob to mark Ukrainian Embroidery Day in Russian-occupied Crimea resulted in four Ukrainian activists and three TV Inter journalists being detained, interrogated for five hours and having their fingerprints taken. When asked why the fingerprints were needed, the officers replied that this is in case “something happens to you tomorrow. Headless bodies get found here”. (Human Rights in Ukraine, 22/5) 

UK 
On 18/5 a pre-inquest hearing into the death of wealthy Russian businessman Aleksandr Perepilichny, 44, who collapsed and died while jogging near his home in Surrey, south of London, on 10/11/12, was told that he may have been poisoned using extracts from a deadly plant after new tests found traces of a chemical in Perepilichny’s stomach that could only be derived from the highly toxic gelsemium plant. (RFE/RL, 19/5)
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Rights in Russia,
24 May 2015, 08:01
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