Stop Police Excesses at the Solovetsky Stone!

posted 22 Jul 2011, 11:40 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 Jul 2011, 11:43 ]
22 July 2011

Translation by Memorial

An appeal by HRC “Memorial” and “Moscow Memorial” to the Moscow Central Department of Internal Affairs

Yesterday, the Human Rights Center “Memorial” and the “Moscow Memorial” Society sent to the head of the Moscow Central Department of Internal Affairs, V.A. Kolokoltsev, an appeal (see below) about inappropriate actions, that have already continued for several days, by police officers (the militia) at the Solovetsky Stone. 

The letter's authors ask that immediate action be taken to stop the unjustified detainment of citizens at the Solovetsky Stone and remove the police barriers around the memorial to victims of political repression.

To the Head of the Moscow Central Department of Internal Affairs
Mr. V.A. Kolokoltsev

Dear Vladimir Alexandrovich!

Our concerns have been raised over the events that have taken place in the last few days at the memorial to victims of political repression on Lubyanka Square. 

The Solovetsky Stone serves as a symbol of the memory of victims of political repression and as a warning to future generations of the infeasibility of a return to totalitarianism. Quite naturally, it attracts not only those who wish to honor the memory of victims of the communist regime, but also those citizens who are protecting the rights of those whom they consider political prisoners today. We believe that such actions, as long as they do not violate the norms of current legislation, are the constitutional right of citizens, irrespective of which social organization they support or how government authorities view their societal positions.

In the last few days, social activists have been conducting rallies by the Solovetsky Stone in support of T. Osipova, who is being prosecuted based on suspected political motives. 

Although these rallies have not broken any laws and do not in any way threaten societal safety, police officers are detaining participants of the rallies and sending them to the police station. More than a hundred arrests have already been made in the past few days. Judging by the fact that some detainees have been released from custody without a report being written, it seems that police officers are finding it difficult to come up with grounds for detention.

In recent days, entrances to the Solovetsky Stone have all been blocked off.

Apparently, this has been done based on a document that can be found on the internet at (; printout attached-in Russian) - “Plan to Prevent Unapproved Rallies,” approved by police colonel Vasilyev, the head of the Kitai-Gorod Department of Interior Affairs, Central Administrative District, Moscow.

From our point of view, this document imposes a limit on citizens' access to the Solovetsky Stone, going beyond police officers' scope and illegally restricting civil rights. 

What makes these arbitrary actions even more outrageous is that it is going on at a monument to the memory of victims of the arbitrary actions of the Soviet era.

We ask you to take immediate measures to stop the unwarranted arrests and remove police cordons around the Solovetsky Stone.
We also ask that you conduct outreach with the authors of the attached document and point out the inadmissability of any restrictions to civil rights, including access to the Solovetsky Stone.

Chairman of the Council
Human Rights Center “Memorial” O.P. Orlov
Co-Chairman of the Board
“Moscow Memorial” Society Y.Z. Rachinsky

July 22, 2011

Human Rights Center Memorial, 127051, Russia, Moscow, Maly Karetny, 12
tel: +7 (495) 225-3118, fax: +7 (495) 624-2025, email: