Agora Digest: April 2011

posted 13 May 2011, 12:42 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 May 2011, 13:09 ]
New Generation

Agora Digest №04 (34)

(April 2011)

In this Issue: International Level / Federal Level / Intellectual Intervention / Development of Regional Organizations

Legal Cases. Courts. Victories / Top-10 Media Publications

International Level

In its 2010 report on Human Rights and Democracy, the UK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted the work of Agora in providing legal assistance to human rights defenders in Russia.

A worker, beaten on the head by the commander of a district police department in Tatarstan has submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights. Having failed to obtain justice in the Tatarstan courts, Radik Puzyrev has made an application to Strasbourg with the help of Kazan human rights defenders. Read more.

The European Court of Human Rights has registered an application by Leonid Nikolaev, activist of the art performance group Voina, that was submitted while Nikolaev was in pre-trial detention. The civic activist claims in the application that Russia violated his right to freedom and personal security. Read more.

The European Court of Human Rights registered an application by Tatiana Mikheeva, a resident of the Chuvash Republic. A mother of two, Tatiana Mikheeva last year lost her third child and applied to Strasbourg against the refusal by an official to give her a certificate that would enable her to receive a maternal financial benefit. Mikheeva is represented at the Court by the human rights organization, Shield and Sword. Read more.

On 12 April the chair of Agora, Pavel Chikov, took part in a meeting of leading human rights organizations with representatives of the European Union, at which the latest trends and current situation in the human rights situation in Russia was discussed.

On 7-8 April in Voronezh Dmitry Kolbasin, head of Agora’s information department and lead editor of the Open Information Agency (, took part in an international round table ‘The Development of National Institutions for Human Rights Protection – Strengthening Cooperation between Human Rights Defenders and the State’ organized by the Youth Human Rights Movement and the Interregional Human Rights Group, with the support of the Council of Europe and the Voronezh representative of the Federal Human Rights Ombudsman.

Federal Level

After an appeal by Agora to the Supreme Court of Russia demanding that the presidential decree “On the Additional Re-Evaluation of Staff of the Organs of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation” be recognised as void in so far as representatives of civil society were not included in the special Commission, Dmitry Medvedev signed a new decree regulating changes to the membership of the Commission. Now Anatoly Kucherena, a member of the Public Chamber, and Ilya Raznik, chair of the Public Council of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, have been made members of the Commission. Read more.

On 11 April in Moscow, Pavel Chikov ran a seminar on the legal situation of NGOs for new grantees of the European Commission in Russia.

Agora’s lawyer and legal analyst, Ramil Akhmetgaliev, ran seminars on the security of civic activists on 7 April in Samara, on 16 April in Moscow, on 17 April in Nizhny Novgorod (for anti-fascist activists, anarchists and journalists), and on 23 April in Moscow for activists of the Libertarian Party of Russia. More than 60 civic activists took part in the seminars.

Agora lawyer Ilnur Sharapov and Dmitry Kolbasin ran training on protection of the rights of people who are HIV positive on 10 April in Tver and on 16 April in Nizhny Novgorod. The seminars were supported by the organization HIV-Information Link in the framework of the project Globe, in which 30 HIV activists took part.

On 14 April in Kazan Dmitry Kolbasin ran a training session for HIV activists from Naberezhnye Chelny, Almetevsk, Nizhnekamsk and Kazan at the invitation of the Tatarstan Consultation Forum of Communities of Patients on how to prepare press releases and public declarations.

Intellectual Intervention

Pavel Chikov and Dmitry Kolbasin wrote a review for Novaya gazeta of the March decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on cases against Russia (‘Bombings, Torture in the Frost, Deportation and Enforced Disappearance’).

Development of Regional Organizations

Sergei Petryakov, a lawyer with the human rights organization Shield and Sword, has written a brochure for prisoners describing in detail the procedure of release from imprisonment on grounds of serious ill health. Read more.

In April a unique agreement between the Investigative Committee and Kazan Human Rights Centre was extended. The head of the Investigative Committee for Tatarstan, Pavel Nikolaev, made a speech in which he said he was in favour of extending the agreement on cooperation with the human rights defenders. Read more.

On 4 April Igor Sholokhov, director of Kazan Human Rights Centre, issued a statement about the instances of violations of human rights by municipal employees at a round table for staff of municipal institutions who are taking part in professional training at the Academy for State and Municipal Administration of the President of Tatarstan.

On 8 April civil society prison visitors of Tatarstan for the first time visited a women’s penal colony. Members of the Public Oversight Commission found that the conditions at Penal Colony No. 5 in Chuvashia, where 132 women prisoners from Tatarstan are held, were very good. Read more.

On 26 April Aleksei Glukhov, director of the human rights organization Shield and Sword and deputy chair of the Public Oversight Commission, spoke at a training seminar for departmental heads responsible for educational work with prisoners and heads of sections in prison facilities in Chuvashia. Read more.

On 28 April Igor Sholokhov, director of Kazan Human Rights Centre, spoke at a round table on cooperation between Tatarstan traffic police and civil society organizations designed to improve road safety. Read more.

Lawyers of Prikamsk Human Rights Centre spoke about the special issues involved in protecting the rights of minors at a seminar entitled: ‘Rights of the Child: Civic Participation and Human Rights Practice,’ organized by the Centre of Social and Educational Initiatives. Read more.

Legal Cases. Courts. Victories

Protecting NGOs, Journalists and Civil Society Activists (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Komi)

The Investigative Committee will again investigate the case of journalist Aleksandr Artemev whose arm was broken at a rally on Moscow’s Triumphal Square. The official decision to annul its own earlier refusal to conduct an investigation was presented to the court by Zamoskvoretsky InterDistrict Investigative Committee for Moscow. Agora is representing the interests of Aleksandr Artemev. Read more.

In Moscow’s Khamovnichesky District Court a hearing has taken place in the suit of Vasily Yakemenko, head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, against the journalists Oleg Kashin and Aleksandr Morozov and the newspaper Novye izvestiya. In court Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin presented his objections to the defamation suit. Agora is representing Oleg Kashin and Aleksandr Morozov. Read more.

Novaya gazeta requested the Investigative Committee to open a criminal investigation into the DDoS attack against it website. Agora, representing Novaya gazeta, submitted a statement about the crime to the head of the Investigative Committee for the South-East Administrative District of Moscow, Sergei Yarosh. Read more.

A criminal investigation has been opened into the beating of a gay rights activist in Syktyvkar. An investigator from the Syktyvkar police department said that the chair of the NGO Other View, Artem Kalinin, had been formally recognized as a victim of the crime and that the civic activist had been questioned. The identities of suspects have been established, and a search for them is underway. Read more.

Those guilty of beating up school children with cries of ‘Beat the Southern Scum’ have been sentenced to terms in prison. St. Petersburg’s Kalinin District Court ruled that six of the accused were guilty of beating Tagir Kerimov and Suleiman Ramzanov while shouting racist slogans. Read more.

Arbitrary Action by Law Enforcement, the Army and the Courts (St. Petersburg, Ulyanovsk region, Chelyabinsk region, Tatarstan)

Valery Sas, a judge of Shchelkovsky Town Court involved in a high-profile car crash in Ulyanovsk as a result of which two people were killed, is no longer a judge and has been deprived of all a judge’s privileges. The disciplinary tribunal considered and rejected the appeal by Valery Sas against the decision of the Qualification College of Judges of Moscow Region to dismiss him from the judges’ bench prior to the expiry of his term. Read more.

In final speeches at their trial, the defendants in the Kopeisk case did not acknowledge their guilt. In Chelyabinsk regional court the hearings ended with the final speeches of the accused in the case of the death of four prisoners in penal colony No. 1 in Kopeisk. The accused were Vladimir Zhidkov, the ex-head of the Federal Penitentiary Service for Chelyabinsk region, and 17 other staff. Read more.

The Investigative Committee for North-West District has completed its investigation into the criminal case against Dmitry Kuzovkin, deputy head of the Operational Service of the St Petersburg State Drugs Control Administration. He is accused of defrauding Aleksandr Tsekhanovich, ex-general director of the Humanitarian Action Philanthropic Foundation of Medical and Social Programmes. Read more.

In Kazan an ensign has been sentenced to four years in prison for the death of a soldier. Kazan Garrison Military Court convicted Anatoly Fedotov, an ensign of military unit No. 3730. Kazan Human Rights Centre represented the mother of the soldier killed. Read more.

The father of a young man killed by a car driven by a federal judge has been formally recognized as a victim. The investigator also agreed to the petition to allow Igor Sholokhov, director of Kazan Human Rights Centre, to represent the victim. Read more.

A court has demanded that the military investigators who investigated the death of a sentry in Kazan be punished. The court issued a special ruling regarding the head of the Military Investigative Department for Kazan garrison in relation to violations of the law committed by his subordinates. Read more.

The Supreme Court of Tatarstan has ruled in favour of the victim in a case involving a physical beating by officers of the Police Department for Economic Crime. A panel of judges on criminal cases ruled in favour of the appeal of the victim against an earlier ruling that had recognized as unlawful the opening of a criminal investigation into the actions of officers of the central apparatus of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tatarstan. Read more.

Compensation (Udmurtiya, Tatarstan)

The mother of a member of a parachute regiment who fell from a plane has been awarded 340,000 roubles. The insurance company paid Leniza Shaikhutdinova of Kazan the sum in compensation for the death of her 18-year-old son while he was taking part in a training exercise. Read more.

Izhevsk’s Pervomaisky District Court awarded 206,000 roubles to Aleksei Ageev who contracted tuberculosis and became an invalid during his military service. The money is to be paid to the young man by the Rosgosstrakh insurance company. Aleksei Avgeev was represented by Prikamsky Human Rights Centre. Read more.

A former conscript has won 20,000 roubles in compensation for being beaten by his commander. The court ruled that the Finance Ministry of Russia should pay compensation to Eduard Ivanov, a 20-year-old man from Kazan, who lost his spleen during military service. Eduard Ivanov was represented by Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more.

The grandmother of a girl who drowned has won 100,000 roubles in compensation from an institution run by the municipality. The Supreme Court of Tatarstan rejected an appeal against a decision to award compensation against the Kazan Gaidar Youth Centre and ruled in favour of the grandmother of the 11-year-old girl. The applicant was represented by Kazan Human Rights Centre. Read more.

Izhevsk’s Pervomaisky District Court awarded Konstantin Konovalov, a resident of Sarapul, 250,000 roubles in compensation for torture by police. Earlier ex-police major Andrei Somov had been sentenced to three years in a general regime penal colony for the beating of Konovalov. Prikamsky Human Rights Centre represented Konovalov in court. Read more.

A resident of Tatarstan has won 30,000 roubles in compensation for an unlawful accusation of murder. The court ruled that the Finance Ministry of Russia should pay 54-year-old Vasily Vasikov compensation for unlawful criminal proceedings that lasted 138 days. Kazan Human Rights Centre represented Vasily Vasikov. Read more.

HIV positive (Moscow, Tatarstan)

The Supreme Court of Russia has finally permitted HIV-positive individuals to fly aircraft. HIV-positive civil aviation pilots must not be considered unfit to fly because of their HIV-positive status. The final decision was taken by the College of Judges for Civil Cases of the Supreme Court after reviewing an appeal by the Ministry of Transport of Russia. Read more.

Top 10 Media Publications

1. Voice of America. 29.04. Yakemenko against Kashin and other Journalists.
2. Kommersant. 28.04. “It’s nice and pleasant, I’m satisfied”.
3. Moskovskie Novosti. 28.04. General Prosecutor lacks adequate sanctions to combat extremism.
4. Rossiiskaya gazeta. 28.04. Supreme Court permits pilots with HIV to fly.
5. Radio Mayak. 22.04. Nazi School children from St. Petersburg get real sentences.
6. National TV Channel Russia. News. 21.04. Making business out of medical confidentiality.
7. Kommersant. 20.04. Lawyer and poet to re-evaluate police officers.
8. Moskovsky komsomolets. 20.04. Story of an illness for sale.
9. Argumenty i fakty. 20.04. The Internal Affairs of Law Enforcement.
10. Dozhd TV Company. 19.04. Kucherena on re-evaluation of the police. First interview in his new role.

© Interregional Human Rights Association AGORA, May 2011,,
ICQ: 284-050-201. Skype: agora-club. Тел.: (843) 537-89-00, 537-89-01.

Rights in Russia,
13 May 2011, 13:16
Rights in Russia,
13 May 2011, 12:50