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18 April 2018

posted by Rights in Russia   [ updated ]

Amid Bid To Block Telegram, Russian Regulator Warns Facebook
The chief of Russia's media regulator, Roskomnadzor, says his agency may seek to block Facebook if an inspection this year reveals it is not complying with a law requiring social networks to store the personal data of Russian citizens on Russian servers. In an interview published in the daily Izvestia on April 18, Aleksandr Zharov said that Rokomnadzor has been holding talks with Facebook representatives every six months. "There are provisions that need to be implemented, including the localization of the Russian user database on Russian territory and the removal of all illegal content," Zharov said. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [18 April 2018]

Pussy Riot's Alekhina Sentenced To Community Service For Pro-Telegram Protest
A Moscow court has ordered Maria Alekhina, a leading member of the punk protest band Pussy Riot, to perform 100 hours of community service for a protest against Russia's ban on the messaging app Telegram. The court issued the ruling on April 18, two days after Alekhina and other activists threw paper airplanes of different colors at the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB) on Moscow's Lubyanka Square. They were charged with violating regulations on public gatherings. Telegram’s logo is a paper airplane. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [18 April 2018]

Russian communications watchdog blocks 200 pirated websites with online casino ads
Russian communications agency Roskomnadzor has restricted access to 200 unauthorized websites containing illegal advertisement of online casino and bookmaker's offices, the watchdog’s statement reads. In total, Roskomnadzor added over 250 pirated online cinemas and torrent trackers posting such advertisement to the Unified register of prohibited information. Owners of 200 Internet resources failed to comply with the agency’s requirement to remove banned information and therefore faced blocking. Other 50 website owners have still time to fulfil the demand; their deadline has not expired yet, according to the statement. [...]

Source: RAPSI [18 April 2018]

'Russia's Elon Musk' Raped, Tortured, Killed In Jail, Report Says
A Russian entrepreneur suspected of embezzling money earmarked for building military submarines was raped, tortured, and killed in pretrial detention, the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports. In an April 16 report that cited what it said were the findings of state forensic pathologists in St. Petersburg, Novaya Gazeta said that Valery Pshenichny's jailers "tortured and then killed him" and "did not even try to hide the evidence." The forensics experts "ruled out suicide" and determined that Pshenichny -- who was found hanging in his cell on February 5, three weeks after his arrest -- was raped before his death, the newspaper reported. It cited the forensics experts it said had completed an autopsy last week as saying that electric shock burns from a water-boiler cord were found in his mouth, lacerations and stab wounds found on his body, and his spine was broken. Prison authorities have taken issue with the report -- which is likely to deepen rights activists' concerns about the treatment of inmates in Russian prisons and pretrial detention facilities -- but do not appear to have issued a direct denial. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [17 April 2018]

17 April 2018

posted 17 Apr 2018, 11:42 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Apr 2018, 11:43 ]

Russia's Telegram block hits web users
Russian web users are reporting problems accessing online services as a result of the authorities' bid to block the Telegram messaging app. Russia's media regulator has blocked more than 4 million IP addresses after a court approved its request to shut the app down. Telegram is reportedly using the addresses to get around the block. Retailers, online games and another message service - Viber - are also said to have been affected. [...]

Source: BBC [17 April 2018]

In Russia, You Don’t Have To Be A Telegram User To Be Affected By The Ban
Russia’s drive to ban access to the popular messaging app Telegram could be proving a bigger headache than the Kremlin may have imagined. In its zeal to shut down Telegram, which was founded by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov and his brother in 2013, millions of ordinary Russians, their businesses, and others have found themselves entangled in a cyber dragnet along with much bigger entities. So far, 16 million IP addresses have been blocked by Russia’s state communications regulator Roskomnadzor. The Telegram app allows users to communicate via encrypted messages that cannot be read by others -- including government authorities. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [17 April 2018]

Telegram Founder Pledges Millions to Fight Russian 'Political Censorship'
Pavel Durov, the founder of the popular Telegram messaging service, has pledged millions of dollars to fund tools that would allow users to sidestep new Internet restrictions imposed by the Russian government. Russian Internet providers began to block access to Telegram on Monday following a court decision last week ruling to block the app over its refusal to provide the security services with keys to decrypt private conversations. The number of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that have been blocked in Russia since the move has ballooned to 17 million by mid-Tuesday, from 2 million earlier in the day. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [17 April 2018]

Alleged racist chanting during Russia v France to be investigated by Fifa
Fifa has started "disciplinary proceedings" against the Russian Football Union for alleged racist chanting aimed at French players when the two countries played in March. Russia, who will host the 2018 World Cup this summer, lost the home friendly 3-1 in St Petersburg. France's goals came from striker Kylian Mbappe, who scored twice, and midfielder Paul Pogba. [...]

Source: BBC [17 April 2018]

Activist In Siberia Says Dacha Destroyed By Arson
The leader of a consumer-protection group in the Russian city of Novosibirsk says an arson attack has destroyed his summer house. Activist Rostislav Antonov told RFE/RL on April 17 that a man suspected of setting the dacha on fire a day earlier had been apprehended and identified as a former convict. There was no immediate comment from police. Antonov, who heads a group called Civil Patrol and is a vocal critic of Novosibirsk Mayor Anatoly Lokot, said he believed the attack is linked to his organization's work. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [17 April 2018]

Russia Cuts Prison Financing in Half
The Russian government has cut its federal prison financing program by nearly half, from 96.5 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) to 55 billion rubles ($890 million). Over 600,000 people are housed in 962 correctional facilities and detention centers, according to the 2018-2026 target program signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev published last week. [...] 

Source: The Moscow Times [17 April 2018] 

Russia seeks secret trial of tortured Ukrainian accused of Crimea ‘sabotage plot’
‘Secret documents’ have been cited in Russian-occupied Crimea to justify holding the trial of Yevhen Panov behind closed doors. Since no secret material was ever mentioned to either Panov, or his lawyer, this may well simply be the latest attempt to conceal the lack of any substance to the charges against the Ukrainian. It will not be the first time. Panov was held for two months without access to a lawyer after being seized and tortured in August 2016, and has been under massive pressure ever since to plead ‘guilty’ to concocted charges. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [17 April 2018]

Russian ombudsman proposes to set detention term limits
Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova has offered the Federation Council to form a working group for developing a bill to set deadlines for detention of suspects and accused persons, the ombudsman’s website reads. Currently, there are no limitations of detention terms for defendants, according to the statement. [...]

Source: RAPSI [17 April 2018]

On April 9-15, two persons fell victim to armed conflict in Northern Caucasus
During the week from April 9 to April 15, 2018, at least two people were killed in the armed conflict in Northern Caucasus; no information was received about any wounded ones. These are the results of the calculations run by the "Caucasian Knot" based on its own materials and information from other open sources. According to law enforcers, both casualties had ties with the armed underground. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [16 April 2018]

16 April 2018

posted 16 Apr 2018, 11:40 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Apr 2018, 11:50 ]

Russian investigative journalist dies after falling from balcony
Maksim Borodin was known for reports on private military firm and prison investigations
A Russian investigative journalist who confirmed the deaths of Russian mercenaries in Syria has died after falling from his fifth-floor balcony in the city of Yekaterinburg. Maksim Borodin, 32, was a reporter for the Yekaterinburg’s Novy Den website, gaining national attention for his reports on the Russian private military company Wagner, and local repute for his investigations into prisons and corrupt officials in his native Sverdlovsk region. He told journalists in 2017 that he had been hit on the head with a metal pipe shortly after giving an interview on the controversial historical romantic drama, Matilda. “His work was very dangerous,” Vyacheslav Bashkov, a local civil rights activist, told the Guardian by telephone on Monday. “He was one of the best.” [...]
Source: The Guardian [16 April 2018]

Russian Government Drafts Bill To Fight AIDS Denial
The Russian government has drafted legislation that would make it illegal to urge people not to seek treatment for AIDS or to deny the existence of HIV, the virus that causes the disease. The Health Ministry submitted the draft amendments to the State Duma on April 16. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 April 2018]

Russian Regulator Orders Internet Providers To Block Telegram App
State communications regulator Roskomnadzor has begun blocking access to Telegram, seeking to bar Russians from using the popular app whose self-exiled CEO has defied demands to let the Federal Security Service (FSB) read users' messages. Roskomnadzor said in a statement on April 16 that it had notified Internet providers that they must "restrict access" to Telegram as the result of an April 13 court ruling in favor of the regulator. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov swiftly denounced the Roskomnadzor order, saying that "the quality of life of 15 million Russians will worsen" as a result. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 April 2018]

Russian Police Disperse Protesters Blocking Road To Garbage Dump
Activists say police have forcefully dispersed protesters who were blocking a road to a controversial garbage dump near the town of Volokolamsk, and briefly detained at least 10 of them. Several hundred people locked arms and stood on a road to prevent trucks from reaching the Yadrovo landfill on the outskirts of Volokolamsk, about 120 kilometers west of Moscow, on April 15. Volokolamsk residents have been demonstrating since January against the dump, which they say emits toxic fumes. The protests intensified after dozens of children were hospitalized with symptoms of gas poisoning on March 21. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [16 April 2018]

13 April 2018

posted 13 Apr 2018, 11:45 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Apr 2018, 12:00 ]

Russia to block Telegram app over encryption
A court in Moscow has approved a request from the Russian media regulator to block the Telegram messaging app immediately. The media regulator sought to block the app because the firm had refused to hand over encryption keys used to scramble messages. Security officials say they need to monitor potential terrorists. But the company said the way the service was built meant it had no access to customers' encryption keys. [...]
Source: BBC [13 April 2018]

Activists Cry Foul As Russian Court Orders Telegram App Blocked
A Moscow court has issued an order to block access to Telegram, ruling in favor of the state and against the defiant self-exiled Russian entrepreneur who created the popular messaging app. The April 13 ruling was expected, but is certain to deepen concerns that the government is seeking to close avenues for dissent as President Vladimir Putin heads into a new six-year term. It came a day after a warning from Amnesty International that blocking Telegram, which is used by senior government officials and ardent Kremlin foes, would be "the latest in a series of attacks on online freedom of expression" in Russia. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [13 April 2018]

'Privacy Is Not for Sale' — Telegram CEO Blasts Russia’s Decision to Ban Messaging App
The chief executive of the Telegram messenger app, Pavel Durov, has vowed to allow users to circumvent a Russian government ban of the service following a court decision on Friday. A Moscow court ruled to block access to Telegram in Russia after it refused to give security services access to users’ secret messages in an ongoing legal battle. The court satisfied state media regulator Roskomnadzor’s request to “immediately” ban Telegram after the ruling despite the company’s legal right to delay enforcement through an appeal. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [13 April 2018]

Russian Human Rights Council’s member denounces Telegram blocking
Blocking of popular messenger Telegram in Russia is a result of a prolonged development of prohibitory legislation, a member of the Presidential Council of Human Rights Ivan Zasursky has said. Earlier today, the Tagansky District Court of Moscow blocked access to Telegram for the whole Russia. According to Zasursky, although there was no scientific basis for the decision, the interests of the state understood as ability to control and monitor information were put above the interests of citizens and their right to privacy and access to information. [...]
Source: RAPSI [13 April 2018]

Russia: Move to block Telegram the latest blow in government assault on freedom of expression online
Ahead of tomorrow’s court hearing on a request by Russia’s media watchdog to block the messaging app Telegram for its refusal to share users’ information with the government, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Denis Krivosheev, said: “By attempting to block the Telegram messaging app, the Russian authorities are launching the latest in a series of attacks on online freedom of expression in the country." [...]
Source: Amnesty International [12 April 2018]

Telegram Loses Free Expression Battle to Russian Authorities
Moscow Court Rules to Block Access to Telegram Messenger in Russia
This morning, Moscow’s Tagansky District Court issued a ruling to block access to Telegram, a popular messaging service with close to ten million users in Russia, and close to 200,000 worldwide, for failure to hand encryption keys over to Russia’s security services. The ruling enforced July 2016 counterterrorism legislation, often referred to as the “Yarovaya law,” which requires internet companies operating in Russia to provide authorities with “information necessary for decoding” their users’ messages. In effect, the law requires these companies to act, at authorities’ request, as part of the government surveillance machine. [...]
Source: Human Rights Watch [13 April 2018]

Advocate associates prosecution of Stavropol activist with his activities
Mikhail Savostin, an oppositionist from the city of Mineralnye Vody, was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs. He himself claims that the drugs have been planted to him, and his advocate believes his client is being prosecuted for political reasons. Mikhail Savostin was detained on April 5, and on April 7, the City Court of Mineralnye Vody pronounced against him the pre-trail restriction measure in the form of detention for two months. On April 9, his advocate Vitaly Zubenko from the human rights group "Agora" filed a complaint against the Court's decision. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [13 April 2018]

About 100 come to rally after Makitov's murder
At a spontaneous rally today, residents of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR) have decided to apply to the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) with a demand to take the murder of Khusey Makitov, a resident of the settlement of Elbrus, under control. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Khusey Makitov, 29, was shot dead in Elbrus on April 6. Two law enforcers were detained on suspicion of committing the murder. According to locals, Makitov had refused to give them a lift to Terskol, which triggered a conflict of them. On April 9, a law enforcement source reported that the suspects had been arrested. According to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, the above 100-strong rally came to Abkhazia Square in Nalchik to express their outrage at the "groundless and cruel murder." [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [12 April 2018]

Former Russian Economy Minister Ulyukayev's Verdict Upheld
A court in Moscow has upheld an eight-year prison term for former Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev. The Moscow City Court on April 12 ruled that Ulyukayev's sentence remains unchanged, but lifted a restriction on him holding public office after his sentence is served. Ulyukayev maintained his innocence in the courtroom on April 12 and his lawyers said they will appeal the court's ruling. A Moscow court on December 15 convicted Ulyukayev of taking a "large bribe," and sentenced him to eight years in a strict-regime prison. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [13 April 2018]

Play about silenced 1920s gay poet rivets Moscow theatre audiences
Play tells story of poet Mikhail Kuzmin who disappeared into official obscurity during Soviet era
A play about a largely forgotten gay poet from early 1900s Russia has emerged as the dark horse in this year’s Golden Mask awards, the Oscars of the Russian theatre world. The Trout Breaks the Ice is based on the story of Mikhail Kuzmin, who disappeared into the official obscurity imposed by the Soviets on artists considered deviant or who were out of favour. The play’s success comes amid fears that the relative freedom enjoyed by Russian theatre is under threat. Kuzmin was celebrated in his day for his poems on love and loss but from 1929 until the end of the Soviet Union his work was not published. [...]
Source: The Guardian [13 April 2018]

12 April 2018

posted 12 Apr 2018, 10:56 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Apr 2018, 11:11 ]

Russian Court To Hear Request To Block Telegram
A Russian court says it will begin considering this week a request by state media regulator Roskomnadzor to block the messaging app Telegram. Moscow's Taganka district court said it scheduled the hearing for April 13, rejecting a request by Telegram to postpone it. Roskomnadzor has asked the court to block Telegram following the company's refusal to give the Federal Security Service (FSB) access to users' messaging data. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 April 2018]

Rosneft CEO Testifies In Ulyukayev's Appeals Case
The chief executive of Russia's state-run oil giant Rosneft has testified in the appeals case of former Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev, who has been sentenced to eight years in prison for bribery. Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who did not show up at Ulyukayev's trial last year, gave his close-door testimony for about 90 minutes at the Moscow City Court on April 12. Following Sechin's questiionning, the court gave Ulyukayev's defense team two hours to work out a new position. No more details were made public. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [12 April 2018]

Russia falsifies medical records endangering the life of abducted Ukrainian teenager Pavlo Hryb
It is seven months since Russia’s FSB abducted Ukrainian student Pavlo Hryb from Belarus and since the 19-year-old, who has an extremely serious medical condition, saw the Ukrainian specialists treating him. Russia has refused to allow Ukrainian doctors to examine him and is producing suspiciously ‘healthy’ test results to try to justify their refusal to provide him with proper medical care. Ihor Hryb reported on 11 April that the Krasnodar SIZO [prison] staff had refused to allow virtually all the food products that his wife tried to pass for their son. With cruel cynicism, they told his mother that “Pavlo is on a diet”. Hryb suffers from serious blood circulation issues, including portal hypertension, and has been under specialist medical supervision most of his life. The young man complained to his lawyer on 9 April of severe stomach pain and vomiting, and there has long been concern that he could suffer internal haemorrhaging at any time. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [12 April 2018]

Tumso Abdurakhmanov: law enforcers force my relatives to record a video appeal
In Grozny, law enforcers have detained relatives of Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov, who stays in Poland to hide from persecution. The law enforcers threatened the detainees and demanded from them to record a video complaint against Tumso Abdurakhmanov, the blogger himself reports. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Tumso Abdurakhmanov, put in Russia on the federal wanted list, reported his detention in one of the countries to where he went from Georgia. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [12 April 2018]

Relatives succeed in visiting Usman Lorsanov detained in Chechnya
Usman Lorsanov, a resident of Grozny, whose relatives were not aware of his whereabouts for more than two weeks, is now being kept at one of the police stations, the "Caucasian Knot" was told by the relatives of the young man. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that at night on March 27, law enforcers took 19-year-old Usman Lorsanov away from his parents' apartment in Grozny. The parents expressed their fears for the fate of their son, since his brother was killed after his detention by law enforcers in 2017. Today, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent has been informed by a close relative of Usman Lorsanov that at present, the young man is being kept at one of the ROVDs (District Interior Divisions). "The father [of Usman] has managed to visit him and talk to him. Law enforcers promised to set him free, but we do not know when exactly," said the close relative of the detained young man. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [12 April 2018]

State Duma backs fines for fake information on social media
A bill on fines of up to 50 million rubles (about $810,000) for social networks refusing to remove false and illegal information passed its first reading in the lower house of Russian parliament on Thursday, according to the State Duma database. The bill prescribes that social networks’ owners must restrict access to illegal information such as stirring up national, racial, religious hatred and propagating wars upon users’ applications. Moreover, Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor would be eligible to demand removal of false information concerning socially important matters from social media within 24 hours, according to the initiative. [...]

Source: RAPSI [12 April 2018]

State Duma passes bill on blocking of websites with damaging information
The State Duma passed in the third and final reading on Thursday a bill specifying regulations for blocking of information defaming a citizen or a company. According to the bill, if a person disseminates defamatory information and does not voluntary remove it within a certain time, a court may ask authorities to restrict access to a website in question. A ruling to block a website containing discrediting information may be given by court bailiffs, an explanatory note to the bill reads. [...]

Source: RAPSI [12 April 2018]

11 April 2018

posted 11 Apr 2018, 10:12 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Apr 2018, 10:41 ]

Russian activists arrested for sexual harassment protest
Women charged over ‘unlawful protest’ say arrest is attempt to stifle complaints about politician
Three Russian activists have been arrested and charged with staging an unlawful protest in what they claim is an official backlash against their campaign for sexual harassment allegations made against MP Leonid Slutsky to be taken seriously. Authorities arrested Alena Popova, Anastasiya Glushkova and Anastasiya Alekseeva last week on the charge of having organised a mass event without permission after they protested with a cardboard cutout of Slutsky outside of the State Duma in Moscow. Slutsky has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment, prompting a public debate and comparisons with the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The State Duma’s ethics committee cleared Slutsky on accusations levelled by several journalists. [...]
Source: The Guardian [11 April 2018]

Russian Opposition Politician Yashin To Contest Moscow Mayoral Election
Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin says he will contest an election for mayor of Moscow in September. In a video statement uploaded on Facebook on April 11, Yashin accused the incumbent Mayor Sergei Sobyanin of corruption. The head of Moscow's Krasnoselsky municipal district, Yashin also said he would take part in election primaries to garner public support. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [11 April 2018]

Russian business ombudsman backs bill on judges’ disciplinary liability
Russia’s business ombudsman Boris Titov has backed a bill authorizing qualification boards to take disciplinary actions against judges, according to a  statement on his Facebook page. The State Duma is expected to consider amendments to the law on bodies of the judiciary in May. [..]
Source: RAPSI [11 April 2018]

Ingush activist's defence disagrees with extension of his arrest
Magomed Khazbiev's advocates have filed a complaint with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ingushetia against the decision of the Magas District Court, according to which Khazbiyev's arrest has been again extended. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that from March 12 to 20, Ingush oppositionist Magomed Khazbiev was on a hunger strike at the Karabulak SIZO to protest against conditions of detention and refusal of medical examination. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [11 April 2018]

10 April 2018

posted 10 Apr 2018, 11:43 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Apr 2018, 11:45 ]

Embalming fluid error kills patient in Russian hospital
Russian authorities are prosecuting doctors who accidentally gave a woman a fatal dose of formaldehyde instead of saline after an operation. A senior doctor at the Ulyanovsk hospital, Vladimir Demin, has been sacked, Russian media say. Formaldehyde is used for embalming corpses. The region's health minister said the team had tried to rectify the error by giving the patient 10 litres of saline. The 28-year-old died in intensive care after being moved to a Moscow hospital. [...]
Source: BBC [10 April 2018]

LGBT activists mark anniversary of persecution of gays in Chechnya
On the anniversary of persecution of gays in Chechnya, activists have installed a memorial sign near the permanent representative office of Chechnya in Moscow. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in April 2017, the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" reported on mass detentions and murders in Chechnyaof men suspected of unconventional sexual orientation, as well as about a "secret prison" for gays in Argun. The Chechen authorities called those materials a provocation. In Moscow, near the facade of the Chechen representative office in Astrakhan Lane, the activists installed a lilac triangle with the silhouette of the republic's map, the "Novaya Gazeta" reports on April 9. [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [10 April 2018]

State Duma passes amendments to law on rehabilitation of political repressions’ victims
The State Duma has passed in the first reading amendments to law on rehabilitation of victims who suffered from political repressions that specify the procedure of recognizing people as victims. According to the bill, prosecutors along with other state security and law enforcement agencies to examine documents, write down their conclusions and provide notes recognizing individuals as the ones who were subjected to political repressions and requiring rehabilitation. Refusal to provide such note may be contested in court. [...]
Source: RAPSI [10 April 2018]

Russian Justice Ministry proposes to assign court-appointed lawyers by electronic system
Russia’s Justice Ministry has proposed to assign court-appointed lawyers using an automated information system, the ministry’s statement reads. The Justice Ministry currently drafts a relevant bill to amend the Criminal Procedure Code. The bill is aimed to implement the bar independence principle eliminating the influence of investigators and courts on dividing dock brief duties among attorneys, according to the ministry’s statement. Under the draft law, if an appointed lawyer failed to appear in court a new attorney would be assigned with the use of the electronic information system. [...] 
Source: RAPSI [10 April 2018]

Poll: More Than Half Of Russians See Stalin As 'Wise Leader'
A public-opinion poll in Russia has found that 57 percent of respondents view the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as "a wise leader who led the Soviet Union to might and prosperity." The independent Russian pollster Levada Center conducted the survey on March 23-27 and published it on April 10. Stalin's positive rating has not changed much since a similar poll in March 2016 but has been increasing since 2008, when 50 percent of Russians viewed him favorably. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [10 April 2018]

9 April 2018

posted 9 Apr 2018, 12:03 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Apr 2018, 12:04 ]

Russian poet convicted of ‘incitement’ for poem in support of Ukraine
Alexander Byvshev has been convicted of ‘incitement to enmity’ and sentenced to 330 hours community service for a poem entitled ‘On Ukraine’s Independence’. The charges and the verdict are preposterous, but it could have been much worse since the prosecutor had demanded a two-and-a-half prison sentence. This would have been devastating since 45-year-old Byvshev from Kromy (Oryol oblast) is the sole carer for his two elderly and invalid parents. Byvshev has also been prohibited from working as a teacher for three years. [...]

Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [9 April 2018]

Trial Date Set For Man Accused Of Stabbing Ekho Moskvy Radio Journalist
A court in Moscow has scheduled April 18 for the start of a trial for a man accused of stabbing an Ekho Mosky radio journalist in the neck. Judge Yelena Abramova on April 9 also extended the pretrial detention of the defendant, Boris Grits, until September 26. Tatyana Felgengauer, a program host and deputy editor in chief at Ekho Moskvy, survived the October 23 knife attack. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [9 April 2018]

Putin orders government to work on pay increase for court-appointed lawyers
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to consider pay increase for court-appointed lawyers, the press-service of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers has stated. The decision is related to a letter to the President forwarded by President of the Chamber Yury Pilipenko. He pointed out the lack of finances for the provision of free qualified legal counsel to Russian citizens. [...]
Source: RAPSI [9 April 2018]

Russian government approves bill on protection of children from pedophilia
Russia’s government has approved a bill on measures for protection of children from sexual violence, the press-service of Children's Rights Commissioner Anna Kuznetsova has stated. The bill stipulates establishment of the so-called registry of pedophiles. This list is to include information on all citizens responsible for committing crimes against children’s sexual inviolability. Criminals are to be put under administrative supervision for the rest of their lives. [...]
Source: RAPSI [9 April 2018]

Two law enforcers suspected of killing KBR resident
The police have detained two law enforcers on suspicion of killing a man in the settlement of Elbrus, a source said. According to local residents, the man refused to give them a lift; and this triggered a conflict. The incident occurred on April 6; and a record from a CCTV camera has spread in the WhatsApp. The guy was sitting in his car, when two drunken men approached him and demanded to take them to Terskol. The guy refused. The quarrel soon turned into a fight, residents of Elbrus told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [7 April 2018]

US fail to put Kadyrov on "Putin's friends" sanctions list
The sanctions imposed by the US Department of the Treasury cover Vladimir Ustinov, the Russian president's plenipotentiary in the Southern Federal District (SFD); Suleiman Kerimov, the Senator from Dagestan; and Oleg Govorun, who is in charge of relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Last time, such measures were applied to high-ranking Russian officials in December 2017, when Ramzan Kadyrov was put on the "Magnitsky list". In total, the "Kremlin list", published on January 30, includes 114 officials and heads of Russian state companies and 96 businessmen, having a wealth of more than one billion US dollars each. The today's sanctions list includes 24 persons, including seven Russian businessmen and 17 state officials. All of them were also present on the "Kremlin list". [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [6 April 2018]

6 April 2018

posted 6 Apr 2018, 11:55 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 6 Apr 2018, 12:26 ]

Russia seeks to block Telegram messaging app
The Russian government has started legal proceedings to block the Telegram messaging app in the country. The Roskomnadzor media regulator is seeking the block because the firm has refused to hand over encryption keys used to scramble messages. Telegram, which is based in Dubai, was given a deadline of 4 April to hand over the keys. The company has refused, saying the way the service is built means it has no access to them. [...]

Source: BBC [6 April 2018]

Belgium Provides Five Chechen Gays With Humanitarian Visas
Belgium says it has given humanitarian visas to five gay men from Chechnya who face persecution for their sexual orientation in their native region in Russia's North Caucasus. Belgian State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken said on April 6 that the five men had received visas from the Belgian Embassy in Moscow and now can travel to Belgium and stay there. Francken added that more humanitarian visas may be issued to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from Chechnya in the future. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [6 April 2018]

Number of wrongly detained persons dropped by over 30% in 5 years – Interior Minister
The number of wrongly detained people has decreased by a third over the last 5 years, Russia’s Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has said during a meeting dedicated to the 55th anniversary of the ministry’s investigative forces. According to Kolokoltsev, the number of individuals rehabilitated during investigation has dropped by almost 50%; the number of acquitted persons decreased by 27%, and the amount of wrongly detained people went down by more than 30%. [...]
Source: RAPSI [6 April 2018]

One more case opened against St. Petersburg Church of Scientology
A criminal case on money laundering has been opened against one of the leaders of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg, the press service of the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) regional directorate has told RAPSI. According to investigators, a group of people including one of the religious organization’s leaders laundered 17 million rubles ($294,000) out of 140 million rubles (about $2.5 million) received from illegal business activities. [...]
Source: RAPSI [6 April 2018]

Russia does not plan to withdraw from ECtHR jurisdiction – official
Russia does not plan to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the official representative of the Russian Federation at the court Mikhail Galperin has said during the meeting on the modern discourse on international legal human rights protection. Galperin said that there are enough people in Strasbourg willing to engage in constructive conversation with Russia. At the same time Russia finds it very important for appeals that are reviewed in the ECHR to be well rationale instead of serving as a political tool. [...]
Source: RAPSI [6 April 2018]

5 April 2018

posted 5 Apr 2018, 15:09 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Apr 2018, 15:14 ]

Gulag Historian Cleared of Child Pornography Charges
A court has cleared a prominent Russian historian and rights activist of child pornography charges that could have landed him in jail for 15 years. Yury Dmitriev, 62, was arrested in December 2016 after authorities searched his home and discovered naked photos of his adopted underage daughter on his computer as well as parts of a hunting rifle. Dmitriev dismissed the child pornography accusations and said that he had taken the photos to monitor his daughters health and physical development for child services. The Mediazona news website reported that the crowded hallway inside the courthouse in the northwestern city of Petrozavodsk erupted in applause after the acquittal was announced. Dmitriev was also cleared of a third count of depravity involving a minor.  He was handed 2.5 years of probation on charges of possessing a firearm, but will only have to serve three months, given the time he has already spent in prison, the 7x7 news website reported. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [5 April 2018]

State Duma adopts bill on blocking of websites with defamatory information
The State Duma has passed in the first reading a bill proposing to block information defaming a citizen or a company, the database of the lower house of parliament reads. Earlier, the State Duma Committee on Security and Counteracting Corruption recommended to adopt the bill. According to the bill, if a person disseminates defamatory information and does not voluntary remove it within a certain time, a court may ask authorities to restrict access to a website in question. [...]
Source: RAPSI [5 April 2018]

Supreme Court dismisses appeal of Russian NGO in dispute with Google
The Supreme Court of Russia won’t review a ruling that dismissed an appeal filed by the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis in a dispute with Google over recovery of links removed from search results under the law on information protection, the court ruling reads. According to the court, the Center’s arguments don’t prove that lower courts violated the law during review of the case. [...]

Source: RAPSI [5 April 2018]

No Justice for Chechnya’s Anti-Gay Purge Victims
One Year Later, Victims Still Waiting for Effective Investigation
One year after Chechen authorities violently carried out an anti-gay purge in an attempt to “cleanse” Chechnya of gay men, no criminal cases have been opened into the mass detentions and torture by law enforcement. No high-level Russian officials have publicly acknowledged or condemned the violence in the republic, which is part of the Russian Federation. On Tuesday I attended a news conference led by Novaya Gazeta journalist Elena Milashina and Russian LGBT Network Director Igor Kochetkov – both of whom broke the news last year that dozens of presumed gay men had been tortured by security officials in unlawful detention facilities. [...]

Source: Human Rights Watch [5 April 2018]

Court stops proceeding complaint of Chechen rights defender Oyub Titiev
Today, the court in Grozny agreed not to consider the complaint against investigators' actions after the investigator cancelled his previous refusal to initiate a case on the marijuana planted on Titiev. This was reported by the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial". [...]

Source: Caucasian Knot [4 April 2018]

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