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27 December 2016

posted 27 Dec 2016, 01:07 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 Dec 2016, 01:08 ]
Moscow School Drops 'Religious Propaganda' Classes Under Pressure from Parents

A Moscow school has removed compulsory classes on Russian "spiritual and moral culture" after parents complained to the Prosecutor General's office that the lessons amounted to "religious propaganda." Moscow school No. 2065 will replace the classes with lessons on "societal ethics," the Takie Dela news outlet reported Tuesday. “I got a call from the school council,” Irina Gerasimova, one of the activist parents, told Takie Dela. “They offered us [the parents] a chance to take a look at a textbook they would use in the ‘societal ethics’ classes. We reviewed it and had no objections.” Earlier this month, Gerasimova told the media that the textbook on “spiritual and moral culture” was unduly biased toward the Russian Orthodox Church and was inappropriate for a class with Jewish, Catholic, Adventist, Muslim, and atheist children. She said the book “constantly referred to evil spirits, holy water, guardian angels, and miracles related to [Orthodox] icons.” [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [27 December 2016]

Russian Supreme Court Overturns Acquittal of Far East 'Partisans'
Russia's Supreme Court has overturned the acquittal of the so-called "Primorye Partisans," a group accused of multiple murders, robberies, and attacks on police stations in Russia's Far East. Although initially convicted in 2014, five members of the group were acquitted during a retrial held in July 2016. The jury determined that the prosecution had not presented sufficient evidence to prove the defendants guilty in the robbery and murder of four people in the Primorye region's Kirov district. Upon acquittal, two of the five defendants were released from custody, while the other three remained incarcerated for previous convictions. The prosecution appealed the acquittal, arguing that the judge in the July trial had excluded certain evidence that might influence the jury. Now that the Supreme Court has sided with the prosecution, the case will be tried once again. [...]

Source: The Moscow Times [26 December 2016]

Kremlin 'Aiming for 70% Victory' in 2018 Presidential Election
Russia's authorities are angling for a 70-percent victory in the upcoming 2018 presidential elections, according to one regional deputy governor. The deputy governor in question attended a seminar on 24 Dec., organized by Sergei Kiriyenko, the new deputy head of the presidential administration. The meeting brought together the man charged with Russian domestic policy and his regional counterparts, but the discussion was largely about the 2018 election. Kiriyenko said that "the main candidate should win with 70-percent turnout" and should receive 70 percent of the vote, the deputy governor told the RBC news site on condition of anonymity. Two other participants in the seminar confirmed the numbers to RBC. One of the sources also said that the election would take place in March 2018, thus dismissing rumors that the Kremlin could opt for early elections. [...]
Source: The Moscow Times [26 December 2016]

‘Deported’ Crimean Tatar activist on hunger strike too weak to stand

After illegally ‘deporting’ 57-year-old Nedim Khalilov from occupied Crimea, Russia is now reportedly [as of 25 December] planning to hospitalize him, probably in order to force-feed him. Khalilov has said that he will resist this, but is seriously weakened after over a month on hunger strike. He began this on Nov 24, in protest at Russia’s ‘deportation’ 9 months after the Crimean Tatar lodged a law suit against Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading and occupying Crimea. The Crimean Tatar activist has been held in a centre for foreigners in the Krasnodar region of Russia since being forcibly taken from Crimea on Nov 7. He told the QHA news agency that the other people in the centre support his hunger strike, and that he was simply left with no choice. This is the only method left to him to fight the violation of his rights. Although the authorities may now be planning hospitalization, his situation has up till now been ignored. If, at the beginning, the head of the centre turned up once a day, even that had stopped, and he is not getting any medical care. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [27 December 2016]

Russian activists jailed for crucifix protest at monument to notorious secret police chief
Two Krasnodar activists have been jailed for 15 days for their alleged involvement in the appearance of a wooden crucifix on the monument to Felix Dzherzhinsky, first head of the Cheka, or notorious Soviet secret police. It is possible that the FSB, the modern version of the same security service, just used the cross as a pretext for repressive measures against two ‘dissidents’, however they also appear to have gone into overdrive in their reaction to the cross, intimidating even the local media into removing their reports about the cross. The crucifix appeared on the Dzherzhinsky monument in the morning of Dec 20. This is the anniversary of the creation of the Cheka by Vladimir Lenin in 1917, and the day, unofficially known as Day of the Chekist, is officially a day for honouring members of the security services – from Cheka to the FSB. [...]
Source: Human Rights in Ukraine [27 December 2016]