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20 December 2016

posted 19 Dec 2016, 23:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Dec 2016, 00:22 ]
Russian Activist Alekseyeva Says NTV Interviewed Her Under False Pretenses

Prominent Russian human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alekseyeva says journalists from pro-Kremlin NTV television tricked her into giving an interview by claiming they were with RFE/RL. The 89-year-old head of the Moscow Helsinki Group also said that NTV took her comments out of context when it aired excerpts from the interview, and paired them with footage in a way that made her appear to criticize migrants. Alekseyeva told RFE/RL's Russian Service that NTV journalists phoned her twice several days ago. After she rejected their request for an interview in the first call, they called a second time and presented themselves as RFE/RL correspondents, she said. She said she agreed, believing they were RFE/RL, and invited them to interview her at her Moscow apartment. [...]
Source: RFE/RL [19 December 2016]

Russian Factory Abandons Condom Plans After Orthodox Protests
A factory that hoped to manufacture condoms in a Russian village acclaimed for its Christian heritage will forgo the contraceptives production after protests by Orthodox activists, says its managing partner. Pavel Spichakov told local media on December 16 that the factory, owned by Bergus, will stick to making adhesive bandages and diapers, placating religious conservatives who had categorically opposed condom production. Dozens of protesters staged a rally in Bogolyubovo last month with banners and slogans like "Mother of God, save us from desecration" and "No condom manufacturing on a holy site." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [19 December 2016]

Austrian Far-Right Party Signs Cooperation Pact With United Russia
An Austrian far-right party has signed a "cooperation pact" with Russia's ruling party, which is loyal to President Vladimir Putin, the latest sign of ties between the Kremlin and populist, anti-EU parties in Europe. Heinze-Christian Strache, the leader of the Freedom Party (FPOe), announced the five-year agreement with United Russia in Moscow on December 19. Strache said the parties pledged to strengthen political and economic ties between Vienna and Moscow as well as "strengthen the friendship and education of young generations, in the spirit of patriotism and of finding joy in work." [...]
Source: RFE/RL [19 December 2016]

Federal Police Raid Russian Classroom and Arrest High Schooler for Online Extremism

Federal police raided a classroom at a high school in Perm this October, in search of a 16-year-old student named “Mark R.,” according to the local news website “Periscope” (unrelated to the video-streaming app). When Federal Security Service agents found Mark, they arrested him on the spot and took him in for questioning. In a story that’s now familiar in Russia, the boy is in trouble because of something he wrote online. The supposedly criminal remark occurred last spring, when Mark got into an argument on Vkontakte, Russia’s largest social network, with a Christian student from his school. At one point in the exchange, Mark wrote, “Churches should be burned down.” According to Periscope, Mark self-identifies as pagan. Local police reportedly conducted a linguistic analysis of Mark’s comment about churches — a favorite tactic in Russian law enforcement — and determined that his words “illegally advocated hostility.” [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [19 December 2016]

Russian prison staff on trial after 16-year-old Ukrainian tortured to death

Vitaly Pop was just 16 when he died of horrific injuries inflicted by Russian prison staff following his arrival in a ‘corrective prison’ for young offenders. He was probably picked out for ‘special treatment’ because of his Ukrainian accent, and his torturers used nationality-linked words of abuse while beating him. A year later 10 men from the Belorechensk prison colony are on trial, though 8 of them are only accused of abusing or exceeding their powers despite the appalling torture of Vitaly and some other young lads. That a trial is beginning at all is probably only because, after repeated refusals to call for outside medical help and claims that Vitaly had ‘abused the nurse’ and refused treatment, an ambulance was finally called. It was the involvement of the local hospital which ultimately prevented another cover-up. The prison staff still initially tried to claim that Vitaly had “fallen down the stairs”. Vitaly and 6 other 15-17-year-olds were brought to the prison on Nov 24, 2015. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [20 December 2016]

Rustam Aptaev detained in Ali-Yurt subjected to torture, his defenders assert

Rustam Aptaev, a 36-year-old resident of Grozny, detained on December 13 by believers of a mosque in the village of Ali-Yurt in Ingushetia for the attempted murder of Isa Tsechoev, a well-known Islamic preacher, and brought to a police station, is being subjected to torture, since law enforcers force him to incriminate himself. This was reported by detainee's defenders and relatives. At present, Rustam Aptaev is being kept at the IVS (detention facility) of the Nazran ROVD (District Interior Division). According to the resolution of the Nazran District Court issued on December 14, Rustam Aptaev is charged with failure to obey to a lawful request of a public officer. A copy of the Court's resolution is available to the "Caucasian Knot". [...]
Source: Caucasian Knot [18 December 2016]

Educators Respond to Plans to Expand Orthodox Education in Russian Schools

In addition to memorizing world capitals and important dates in history, some policymakers in Russia want students to be able identify different kinds of church bells and navigate the Russian Orthodox calendar. On November 29, the newspaper Kommersant reported that it had received plans for a course being reviewed by the Ministry of Education that would significantly increase the amount of class time devoted to the study of Russian Orthodoxy for students from kindergarten to eleventh grade. Members of ministry, Kommersant wrote, were prepared to vote on the measure without formal discussion or deliberation. [...]
Source: Global Voices [19 December 2016]

Social network group admin charged with pushing teens to suicide to undergo sanity exam

Philipp Budeykin, aka Philipp Fox, an administrator of a closed group on social network Vkontakte who stands charged with inciting teenagers to commit suicide, has been taken to hospital for psychiatric evaluation, RIA Novosti reported Monday. A criminal case was opened in May after several Russian media outlets reported about so-called Groups of Death, numerous groups where young people were encouraged to kill themselves. Investigators claim that from December 2013 to May 2016 eight Groups of Death were registered on Vkontakte network. Fifteen teenagers from various regions of Russia were members of these groups and committed suicide. [...]
Source: RAPSI [19 December 2016]