Person of the Week: Grigory Shvedov

posted 15 Jan 2017, 06:48 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Jan 2017, 00:59 ]
On 9 January 2017 the Caucasian Knot said it would take legal action after Chechen Parliament Speaker Magomed Daudov threatened the news outlet's editor-in-chief Grigory Shvedov [sometimes 'Gregory Shvedov' in English publications] on Instagram. As The Moscow Times reported: 'The speaker of Chechnya's parliament, Magomed Daudov, who also goes by the nickname “Lord,” published a picture on his Instagram account on Jan. 4 of a dog with its tongue tied into a knot. The pictured was accompanied by the text: “How to untie the Caucasian Knot?” In a comment alongside the photo, Daudov described the dog as “a mongrel nicknamed 'Swede,'” in an apparent reference to Grigory Shvedov who is the chief editor of the Caucasian Knot news agency. In Russian, “Shvedov” closely resembles the word for “Swedish.” “He puts out his long tongue, ties it into a dangerous 'Caucasian knot' and starts yapping,” the parliamentarian wrote. “It's time to call the vet with the large pliers,” he continued. “To pull a couple of 'wisdom' teeth from the Swede and shorten his tongue to a normal size”. Shvedov told the Kommersant business daily on Monday that the agency's lawyers were preparing to lodge a complaint with the Investigative Committee on charges of obstructing journalism.'

On 9 January 2017, Amnesty International issued an 'Urgent Action' notification, calling on its supporters to write to the relevant Russian officials: ' Urging the authorities to conduct a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into the threats made to Grigory Shvedov, which is a crime under Article 144 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“obstruction of lawful professional activities of journalists”);  Urging them to condemn in the strongest manner the threats posted by Magomed Daudov and ensure that Grigory Shvedov is protected from any possible physical attacks;  Reminding the authorities that as a party to the European Convention on Human Rights the Russian authorities have an obligation to guarantee freedom of expression and protect journalists from threats and attacks.' 

On 9 January 2017, Front Line Defenders Front Line Defenders issued a statement expressing deep concern about the threats against human rights journalist Grigory Shvedov, which it believed to be 'related to his legitimate and peaceful human rights work.' Front Line Defenders urges the authorities of the Russian Federation to: '1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats against Gregory Shvedov, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards; 2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Gregory Shvedov; 3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Russia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.'

On 10 January 2017 a 'Statement of Solidarity with Grigory Shvedov in Defence of Freedom of Expression in the Chechen Republicwas published by human rights defenders, civil society activists and journalists which expressed solidarity with Grigory Shvedov and, among other things, called on the law enforcement agencies to conduct an effective investigation into the threats and hold Magomed Daudov to account. 

On 12 January 2017, Human Rights Watch issued a statement on the serious threats made by Magomed Daudov against Grigory Shvedov, placing him at great risk. Human Rights Watch noted that Caucasian Knot's coverage of developments in the Caucasus includes extensive reporting on abuses by Chechen authorities, and that Daudov is widely known as the right-hand man of Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic. Human Rights Watch urged the Russian authorities to publicly condemn these threats, ensure no harm comes to Shvedov, and put an end to threats against and attacks on independent media in Chechnya.

Photo: Human Rights Watch via RFE/RL [© 2016 RFE/RL]

'"Shorten His Tongue, Pull Out His Teeth," Says Chechen Official In Apparent Threat to Journalist,' The Moscow Times, 9 January 2017
'Statement of Solidarity with Grigory Shvedov in Defence of Freedom of Expression in the Chechen Republic,' in English, 10 January 2017
'Chechnya: Leading Politician Threatens Editor. Authorities Target Independent Media Outlet,' Human Rights Watch, 12 January 2017