Quote for the Day
Valentina Cherevatenko: "Our work has become far more difficult because of the ‘foreign agent’ law. [...] But we continue our work"
"Our work has become far more difficult because of the ‘foreign agent’ law. The community of strong and active organizations, the institutions of civil society with which we would like to compare ourselves, organizations which it is always an honour to work with – all these people have now been added to the list of ‘foreign agents.’ This label makes our life much harder. But we continue our work. People continue to come to us, asking for help. Our public advice centre has been working now for 23 years, and continues to function. I cannot praise highly enough those lawyers who continue to work with us without asking for any money. This is very hard work."
- Valentina Cherevatenko, head of the NGO 'Women of the Don'
'Лауреат премии имени Анны Политковской: "Нас пока не сломали",' BBC Russian Service, 10 March 2017 [for translation, see Rights in Russia]
Liudmila Alekseeva: "We have to be happy for Dadin and Chudnovets and everyone, but we must remember that from the beginning they were unfairly convicted and only afterward acquitted. [...] We have many unfairly condemned people incarcerated"
“You understand, of course, we have to be happy for Dadin and Chudnovets and everyone, but we must remember that from the beginning they were unfairly convicted and only afterward acquitted. Of course, we have to be happy about this, but I would like it if our judicial system worked humanely rather than in such a way that we are happy at individual corrections made to its outrageous mistakes. We have many unfairly condemned people incarcerated"
- Liudmila Alekseeva, chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group
'Liudmila Alekseeva: “From the beginning they were unfairly convicted and only later acquitted.” On the reversal of the sentences against Dadin and Chudnovets and the pardoning of Sevastidi,' RIA Novosti, 7 March 2017 [translation: Rights in Russia]
Sergei Krivenko: "Violence and extortion haven't gone anywhere in the military. [...] The point of the violence now is not maintaining some sort of discipline but the extraction of money"
"Violence and extortion haven't gone anywhere in the military. But the form of these things has changed. Hazing as a day-to-day form of control by senior soldiers over recruits has been superseded by a system where violence is determined on ethnic grounds or by region of origin. The point of the violence now is not maintaining some sort of discipline but the extraction of money."
- Sergei Krivenko, head of the Citizen And The Army NGO and a member of Russia's Human Rights Council
Photo: Website of the Presidential Human Rights Council
Yelizaveta Mayetnaya, 'Russian Activists Say Suspicious Military Deaths Often Tied To Extortion Schemes,' RFE/RL, 17 March 2017
Ildar Dadin: "My first mission is to fight the torture in Karelia. [...] I want Russia to be a law-abiding country not only on paper"
"My first mission is to fight the torture in Karelia. I want to see those sadists who tortured me and others behind bars. There are two possible outcomes. Either the state will protect them. That would send a powerful signal for other prisons. It would say “we tortured, we are torturing and we will torture.” Or maybe the state will show that, sometimes, the law works. I want Russia to be a law-abiding country not only on paper. State authorities allow this lawlessness and want the people to remain quiet."
- Ildar Dadin
' "I’m Not Going Anywhere Until Torture Ends": Russian Activist Speaks Out,' The Moscow Times, 16 March 2017
Pavel Chikov: "In both Chudnovets’ and Dadin’s cases the justice system acted with amazing speed. [...] In Russia that is only possible when something is micro-managed from on high and has been agreed at the appropriate level"
"In both Chudnovets’ and Dadin’s cases the justice system acted with amazing speed. Chudnovets’ criminal case literally flew from Kurgan to Moscow, and then back again. In Russia that is only possible when something is micro-managed from on high and has been agreed at the appropriate level. One is reminded of the sudden release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky from the same Karelian prison colony in December 2013, the sudden and unexpected early release of the Greenpeace activists from the Arctic Sunrise, and of Masha Alekhina and Nadia Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot two months before their term was completed. And, of course, as of today the Kirov regional court still holds the record – in the summer of 2013, in 24 hours, it reversed its verdict sentencing Aleksei Navalny to five years in prison in the Kirovles case. In all the previous cases the reason behind the sudden softening of the system was clearly visible. ‘The thaw’ of December 2013 was connected with the forthcoming Olympics in Sochi. The amnesty for Navalny was clearly related to his participating in the election campaign for Moscow mayor. It was difficult to doubt that narrowly political, tactical reasons were responsible for the releases. The recent ‘softening’, as seen in the sudden release of Dadin and Chudnovets, the transfer to house arrest in Moscow for the ‘last Bolotnaya Square protester’ Dmitry Buchenkov, and in Ekaterinburg for the Pokemon catcher Ruslan Sokolovsky, has been met with enthusiastic approval by the progressive public. A liberal genie seemed about to leap out of the bottle, but then came the 11-hour search of the human rights activist Zoya Svetova’s apartment, relating to the ancient ‘Yukos affair’. This is as sudden and difficult to explain as are the recent releases."
- Pavel Chikov, head of the Agora International Human Rights Association
Pavel Chikov, A 'controlled thaw.’ What the review of the cases of Dadin and Chudnovets tells us [RBK], 6 March 2017
Andrei Babushkin: "They say there is no death penalty in Russia. And most people believe that our justice system is truly humane. It’s possible that my deputy, Andrei Mayakov, believed that at one time"
"They say there is no death penalty in Russia. And most people believe that our justice system is truly humane. It’s possible that my deputy, Andrei Mayakov, believed that at one time. But on 15 September 2016 Ms Mamaeva, a judge at Moscow’s Babushkinsky court, sentenced Andrei to six years in prison. She sentenced him in the full knowledge that he suffers from diabetes and a severe form of hypertension, that his spleen and gall bladder have been removed, and that he suffers from sleep apnoea (a condition leading to interrupted breathing during sleep). Life for someone with these disorders is not easy even in freedom. In a remand centre or a penitential colony, he simply won’t survive."
- Andrei Babushkin, head of the Moscow-based human rights organisation Committee for Civil Rights, member of the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, honorary chairman of the fourth convocation of the Moscow Public Oversight Commission (ONK), and member of the third convocation of the Moscow ONK
Andrei Babushkin, 'Human-rights defender Mayakov faces death in prison,' Moskovsky komsomolets, 5 March 2017 [in English: Rights in Russia]
Igor Kalyapin: "While in custody, Dadin...inflicted more damage to the system than he inflicted as a free man"
"Many believe that Dadin turned out to be impossible for the system to chew up, and the system had to spit him out. While in custody, Dadin...inflicted more damage to the system than he inflicted as a free man."
- Igor Kalyapin, chair, Committee for the Prevention of Torture
'Russian Activist: Torture Won't Stop Until Torturers Are Punished,' RFE/RL, 6 March 2017
Nadezhda Azhgikhina: "The raid on Zoya Svetova’s house reminded many Russian intellectuals and ordinary people of Soviet practices"
“The raid on Zoya Svetova’s house is a very sad symbolic sign, it reminded many Russian intellectuals and ordinary people of Soviet practices, especially because the raid took place at the same home where Zoya was living together with her parents, famous dissidents Felix Svetov and Zoya Krahmalnikova. She remembers raids and arrests of her parents. Law enforcement agencies say that the search has nothing in common with Zoya’s professional activity. But human rights activists and journalists see the link with her professional and human rights work, and also see the link with another search that took place on the same day – at the home of gulagu.net project coordinator Elena Abdullaeva. Dozens of Russian human rights activists and journalists issued open letters and expressed solidarity with Zoya. They raised their voices against threats against those who have devoted their work to human rights.”
- Nadezda Azhgikhina, vice-president of the European Federation of Journalists
'Russia: police raided home of journalist and human rights activist Zoya Svetova,' Russian Federation of Journalists, 1 March 2017
Zoya Svetova: "If you or someone close to you is unjustly imprisoned, in defiance of the law, [...] it’s entirely possible the system will back down under pressure from the media and civil society"
"Dadin’s case makes it clear that we have learned lessons from the examples of Pussy Riot, the Bolotnaya Square case, the Savchenko case, the Pavlensky case: if you or someone close to you is unjustly imprisoned, in defiance of the law, then, if you are certain of this, don’t be afraid, nothing worse can happen: speak about it, write about it, call the press and human rights activists, and it’s entirely possible the system will back down under pressure from the media and civil society. Especially if your story happens to attract attention at a timely moment, as happened with Dadin. I’m not saying my version is the only truth. Maybe everything was completely different and let’s say someone like Sergei Kirienko, or maybe even Putin himself, decided that the regime had to soften and throw a bone to civil society, so they free Dadin and allow a march in memory of Nemtsov. After all, the presidential elections are coming very soon. But of course, all these suppositions are based on very little real knowledge. Yet that’s not what’s most important. The main thing is that Ildar Dadin will be free tomorrow. He will return a hero to Moscow. We will see what happens next."
- Zoya Svetova, journalist and human rights defender
Source:'Zoya Svetova: Dadin’s Law-2; Why it's important to shout about injustice [Open Russia],' Rights in Russia, 22 February 2017 [source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Open Russia]
Translated by Anna Bowles
Sergei Nikitin: "This search [of Zoya Svetova's apartment] seems like a blatant attempt by the authorities to interfere with her legitimate work"
“Today’s search of Zoya Svetova’s flat is deeply alarming. She is one of Russia’s most respected journalists and human rights activists – it is unclear what she might have to do with the criminal investigation against YUKOS. This search seems like a blatant attempt by the authorities to interfere with her legitimate work as a journalist and perhaps a warning for her and others of the risks of human rights work and independent journalism in Russia.”
- Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International Russia
On 28 February 12 officers from Russia's Investigative Committee that probes serious crime conducted a search of the apartment of journalist and human rights activist Zoya Svetova. Amnesty International report: "According to Svetova’s lawyer, it was linked to a case of alleged embezzlement and tax fraud by the former YUKOS oil company head Mikhail Khodorkovsky. One of the most prominent critics of the Kremlin, Khodorkovsky served 10 years in jail and in 2011, after being convicted of another offence and sentenced to a new term of imprisonment, he was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International."
Source:'Russia: "Deeply alarming" raid targets human rights activist and journalist Zoya Svetova,' Amnesty International, 28 February 2017
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