The views expressed in blogs published on Rights in Russia, including those of the editor, are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of Rights in Russia.

Editor's blog: President Putin pays tribute to Liudmila Alekseeva

posted 27 Jul 2017, 06:47 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Aug 2017, 03:16 ]

27 July 2017

Reflections on the week of 15- 21 July 2017

Meetings between individuals who encapsulate, each in their own way, different aspects of a turbulent period of a country's social and political life are always fascinating. This past week, on 20 July, when Liudmila Alekseeva, the doyenne of Russia’s human rights defenders, marked her 90th birthday, she was visited by President Vladimir Putin. The two sat opposite each other in Liudmila Alekseeva’s living room in her apartment on the Old Arbat and an account of their conversation was duly published on the official Kremlin website. Video of the two in conversation was broadcast on the nation's main TV channels. The President came with gifts: a bouquet of flowers and an engraving of a view of the town in Crimea where Alekseeva was born, Evpatoria, as well as a decorative plate with a picture of the tower what is now the main building Moscow State University where she had been a student. Given Alekseeva's well-known opposition to the annexation of the Crimean peninsula, the gift of the engraving would seem a particularly pointed one, although according to the published account of the dialogue it was the picture of Moscow State University that moved Alekseeva to comment, saying she had not actually been a student in the landmark tower, although she had helped build it[Read more]

Editor's blog: Impunity and the "absence of requisite determination"

posted 20 Jul 2017, 06:19 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Jul 2017, 14:42 ]

20 July 2018

...reflections (mostly) on the past week of 8 - 14 July 2017 by Simon Cosgrove 

This past week marked the 8th anniversary of the brutal abduction and murder (on 15 July 2009) of Natalia Estemirova who for several years had been the leading member of the NGO Memorial in Chechnya. The killing of this courageous human rights defender, for which no one has been held responsible, stands as a terrible example of impunity in today’s Russia. The week also saw the fourth anniversary of the murder of journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, a Caucasian Knot correspondent, in Dagestan (on 9 July 2013). In this case also, those responsible for the killing have yet to be brought to justice. While the investigation into Natalia Estemirova’s death formally remains ongoing, the authorities suspended the investigation into the killing of Akmednabi Akhmednabiyev in November 2015.  [Read more]

Editor's blog: Electoral facade looking ragged and raw

posted 12 Jul 2017, 10:32 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jul 2017, 13:41 ]

12 July 2017

...a look back at the week of 1 - 7 July 2017 by Simon Cosgrove

It might be desirable – even comforting, to some extent - to think that human rights abuses are, by and large, the result of individual human frailty and have nothing to do with politics. That they result from the actions of individual civil servants and law enforcement officers, from ‘human nature,’ rather than from the systematic and purposeful types of actions that constitute the kind of organization we usually denote as a ‘political system.’ But when we come to consider elections in Russia we face evidence that, in this area at least, violations of rights may be both systematic and purposeful.  [Read more]

Editor's blog: Relations between Russia and the Council of Europe reach a new low

posted 6 Jul 2017, 02:35 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jul 2017, 13:41 ]

6 July 2017

...a look back at the week of 24 - 30 June 2017 by Simon Cosgrove

One very significant indicator of the direction a European country is taking is its relationship with the inter-governmental Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights organization that works to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law. This week the troubled history of relations between Russia and the Council of Europe (of which Russia has been a member since 1996) reached something of a new low when on 30 June foreign minister Sergei Lavrov informed the Council of Europe that Russia was suspending all financial contributions (approximately €33m annually) until the "unconditional total restoration" of the rights of Russia's delegation. Ostensibly this step was a response to the decision by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), of 10 April 2014, to strip Russian delegates of their voting rights following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. [Read more]

Editor's blog: European Court rules on 'gay propaganda' legislation in Russia

posted 28 Jun 2017, 05:00 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jul 2017, 13:42 ]

28 June 2017

...a look back at the week of 17 - 23 June 2017 by Simon Cosgrove

The week saw a new twist in what many perceive as a mounting conflict between Russia and the Council of Europe, as the European Court of Human Rights ruled on 20 June 2017 in the case of Bayev and Others against Russia that Russian legislation banning promotion of homosexuality to minors encourages homophobia and discrimination. The conflict falls into place along side a number of legal cases that have seen the Russian authorities tussle with the European Court of Human Rights (most notably the Yukos case). If one puts specifically legal issues aside (in so far as that is possible, or even desirable), on the one hand some see the conflict over the 'gay propaganda' law as one of cultures, as Russia asserts values that are different from those currently predominant in the West. On the other hand, some view the conflict as arising primarily in the political field, as President Putin seeks to draw on support from a nationalist conservatism to buttress his increasingly authoritarian rule. [Read more]

Appeals broadcast in support of Yury Dmitriev by writer Dmitry Bykov and musician Boris Grebenshchikov

posted 26 Jun 2017, 02:17 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jun 2017, 04:53 ]

26 June 2017

On 20 June radio station Echo Moskvy broadcast appeals on behalf of YURY DMITRIEV by poet Dmitry Bykov and (from Petersburg) by the former leader of Aquarium, musician Boris Grebenshchikov.

20 June, Echo Moskvy radio station & website

It also published a list of several hundred people who have signed a petition in support of the historian. Dmitriev's trial is just entering it fourth week.


In Petrozavodsk City Court the hearing of the case of Yury Dmitriev, a well-known historian, continues. A Gulag researcher and compiler of several "Books of Memory", he is among those who created the memorial complexes at Sandarmokh and Krasny Bor, and the memorial graveyard at Sekirnaya Hill on Solovki. Dmitriev is accused of making child pornography, lewd acts and the unlawful possession of a firearm. The hearings are taking place behind closed doors and the media are not permitted into e courtroom. There are serious grounds for believing that the accusation is a deliberate provocation, aimed at ending the historian’s activities and destroying his reputation. [Read more]

Edited and translated by John Crowfoot

Editor's blog: Police break up peaceful protests on Russia Day

posted 20 Jun 2017, 09:25 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jul 2017, 13:43 ]

20 June 2017

...a look back at the week of 10 - 16 June 2017

Right of assembly

Last week, right of assembly was the main focus of attention for observers of the human rights scene in Russia. On 12 June, Russia Day, the renewed enthusiasm for peaceful, public protest, seen on 26 March, once again showed itself on Russian streets. OVD.Info reported that 1,720 protesters were detained by police (866 in Moscow, 658 in St. Petersburg). Amnesty International said that protesters had been subjected to cruel and degrading treatment. The pattern of dealing with the anti-corruption protests with bans, often brutal police action and arrests was repeated in many other Russian cities. A few days later and on a smaller scale there were also protests (on 14 June) against the vast housing demolition programme proposed by the Moscow city authorities. On that day at least 16 protesters were detained outside the State Duma. [Read more]

John Crowfoot: A quota for killings, 1938: Arrest 5,000 more, and shoot 60%

posted 19 Jun 2017, 07:34 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Jun 2017, 22:55 ]

19 June 2017  

"These encrypted telegrams mostly contain statistics rather than specific names. There are no people, just numbers," says ALEXANDER DANIEL in a recent comment about the DMITRIEV case. "Only in Karelia do we have everything at the level of individual people, and that is all thanks to Dmitriev."

Daniel was referring to the encrypted telegrams that passed between Moscow and the Republics and Regions of the USSR during the Great Terror. On 4 February 1938, for example, local Party boss YULY KAGANOVICH sent a brief message to Moscow, to STALIN and to YEZHOV, the head of the NKVD. He requested an increase in the quota for executions and arrests in his region (and a corresponding extension in the deadline). [Read more]

Photo: Memorial stone reads: 
"1,111 prisoners from the Solovki Prison were shot here from 27 October to 4 November 1937 "

We are delighted you have been reading Rights in Russia. As a non-for-profit organization that does not carry advertising, we rely on our readers and well-wishers to support our work. If you share our belief in the importance of our mission, in the need to publicize the human rights situation in Russia, please consider making a donation to help keep Rights in Russia alive. To donate, see HERE

John Crowfoot: Who is Yury Dmitriev - and why does he face 15 years' imprisonment?

posted 19 Jun 2017, 07:09 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Jun 2017, 22:57 ]

19 June 2017 

By John Crowfoot

Photo of Yury Dmitriev

The trial of historian YURY DMITRIEV began on 1 June. The hearings in Petrozavodsk, suggests journalist Maria Eismont, is "the most important thing happening in Russia today".

Because the charges are sensitive, and concern a minor, not everyone can attend. Journalists can gain access to the courtroom; and perhaps, behind the scenes, diplomats (and not just from Poland and Ukraine?) have been talking about the case to the Russian authorities. [Read more]

We are delighted you have been reading Rights in Russia. As a non-for-profit organization that does not carry advertising, we rely on our readers and well-wishers to support our work. If you share our belief in the importance of our mission, in the need to publicize the human rights situation in Russia, please consider making a donation to help keep Rights in Russia alive. To donate, see HERE

Ildar Dadin's phone conversation with his wife, Anastasia Zotova [X Soviet]

posted 12 Jan 2017, 09:40 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Jan 2017, 09:45 ]

8 January 2016

Source: X Soviet [original Russia: Territoriya pytok]

Translated by Sarah Hurst

After complaining about torture in the Segezha IK-7 prison in Karelia, Ildar Dadin, an opposition activist who is serving a 2 1/2-year sentence, was transferred out of the prison, but authorities refused to tell his wife where he was. Russians and their supporters in other countries campaigned for over a month demanding that the Kremlin reveal Dadin's whereabouts. On January 8, after his arrival at the IK-5 prison in Altai Krai, he was allowed a short phone call with his wife, which she recorded and transcribed.

Dadin: Very short conversation...

Zotova: Yes, I know. Tell me how your journey was, please.

Dadin: It was fine, I had a break from that fascist prison IK-7. It just took a long time, first of all – I left on December 2 and they only brought me to my destination yesterday. And all that time I was tormented by depression... I wanted to quickly tell you that every day in that prison was unbearable hell. And I didn’t know how to find the internal strength to survive there for another week, let alone six or seven months. But this month, when I was coming here... I’ll tell you, living out of synch with your conscience is even harder than living there. So I want you to understand my main strategic task and desire – it’s to do everything to get back there and finish the job we started. Because if that fascist isn’t brought to justice – and I’m sure they took me out of there so that it would all die down, the fuss was the first to go...[Read more]

1-10 of 110