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"

posted 15 Mar 2017, 13:13 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Mar 2017, 13:15 ]
"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

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