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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]