Rights Groups in Russia

To read our earlier translations of publications by Russian human rights groups, please click HERE

Golos: Main News of the Week 25 November - 1 December 2019

posted 2 Dec 2019, 11:39 by Translation Service   [ updated 2 Dec 2019, 11:40 ]

30 December 2019

Everything you need to know about elections for the past week

Correctional labour for human rights activist
The Magistrate’s Court in Khimki has assigned Roman Udot 320 hours of correctional labour. He was found guilty of threatening to murder some NTV reports who by chance ended up in Sheremetyevo Airport in the middle of the night and while they were there decided to taunt him, thus infuriating him. The court was not bothered by the multiple inconsistencies in the case and the forgery of evidence referred to by the defence.

Together to free elections!
How do we create an institution of elections that we trust? How to hold genuinely fair elections? We think about these questions every day. And we've had some ideas! We will talk about them at the All-Russian Civil Forum – please come.

Also, if you have any suggestions, fill in the form. We will study and discuss them all attentively. In such conditions we could not stand aside, and made a statement in support of human rights organisations in Russia – we explain what you can do to help. Every one of us.

Recently human rights activists have been struggling, and the authorities continue their assault on civil society. In these conditions we could not stand aside and we have 
issued a statement in support of human rights organisations in Russia. We explain what you can do to help. Each one of us. 

How the Central Election Commission was ‘excommunicated’ from the courts in the elections in St Petersburg – Golos

A court upheld the lawfulness of a search of Mikhail Tikhonov, the coordinator of Golos in Tatarstan – Golos

The Federal Service for the Oversight of Communications, Information Technology and Communications has published a list of fake news resources – Novaya gazeta

Our bloggers
Last Sunday we observed the elections in the Kemerovo and Voronezh regions, and also monitored referenda in Tatarstan. It was very interesting: read our account.

In Tatarstan we got an entirely predictable result – none of the three referenda which were going to be observed took place. But in places where there were no independent observers, the inhabitants decided to kindly ‘chip in’ (Translator’s note – the referenda concerned voluntary donations to state projects). Here’s a report by Maria Zakharova from the village of Vysokaya Gora.

In the Voronezh region the chief of Bratkov (as the village is called) has been elected. Vladislav Khodakovsky worked there. In his sketches you will learn not only about the elections, but about the life of local people and the particular features of this region.

On Monday you can read how the elections in the Kemerovo region and for the Council of Deputies in the city of Topka turned out.

Translated by Anna Bowles

OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 131: The Moscow Case has a new defendant, and the Bolotnaya Square case continues

posted 1 Dec 2019, 13:12 by Translation Service   [ updated 1 Dec 2019, 13:19 ]

30 November 2019

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday OVD-Info sends out a mailing with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here.


Yet another person has been charged in the Moscow Case; meanwhile, an LGBT activist from Komsomolsk-on-Amur continues her misadventures, and so does the Bolotnaya Square case.

As for us – the latest episode of our podcast is out. In it, we look at freedom of assembly in the post-Soviet space. Ksiusha Sonnaia and her guests discuss whether there is any and where to find it.

Another participant from the 27th July protests has been arrested in Moscow. 30-year-old Sergei Surovtsev has been charged with hitting an officer of the National Guard with a metal barrier. The courts ordered Surovtsev to be detained, disregarding evidence of his innocence. The investigation was completed in a day and a half.

Why do I need to know this? Summer is long past, but the Moscow Case keeps on growing. There is a risk of further arrests. The earlier we know about them, the more effectively we will be able to offer support. So, just in case, save our number (+7 (8) 800 707-05-28) and share it with your relatives. Don’t panic, but do remain vigilant. You can find the latest information about the other defendants here.

The trial of Dmitry Buchenkov, a defendant in the Bolotnaya Square case, has resumed. The investigation asked to consider the case in Buchenkov’s absence, as he left Russia in 2017. 

Why does this matter? Buchenkov was arrested in December 2015 and charged with participating in a riot; he allegedly beat police officers and attacked them with pepper-spray on 6th May 2012. Both Buchenkov himself and his relatives insist that he was not even in Moscow on that day, and that the photographic evidence is of another person.

An LGBT activist from Komsomolsk-on-Amur has been charged with promoting non-traditional sexual relations. The reason for the charges was two public pages on Russian social media site Vkontakte.

Why do I need to know this? Feminist and LGBT activist Iulia Tsvetkova is facing criminal charges for distributing pornography. She managed a youth theatre and had been planning a festival, but she was forced to cancel the event and close her studio. The security services forced a teenage actor to state that he was a victim in the case, and asked the activist’s mother for a bribe to drop the charges. Tsvetkova was about to go for interrogation when police officers approached her and told her of the fresh charges.


They couldn’t stand by and watch. On 27th July, at the intersection between Rozhdestvenka Street and Theatralny Proezd, police and National Guard soldiers beat peaceful protesters with truncheons. These precise events led to criminal charges against eight people as part of the Moscow Case. They tried to stop the violence and help the victims. Mikhail Shubin and Yana Sakhipova have analysed video footage of the events and explain what happened, in chronological order.

There are several reasons why you were expelled. The consequences of the summer protests are not all bad: students have become more proactive in defending their rights. On the other hand, this has meant that the larger universities have developed their own ways of dealing with students. Anastasiya Medvedeva uses several real-life stories to explain what methods universities are employing to put pressure on inconvenient students and how to protest against this.

All this, right under the police’s noses. Mines were planted almost every day at the recent LGBT film festival, Side by Side. The organiser of another themed film festival, Iulia Tsvetkova, is facing criminal charges. Click here to read about the persecution that people of sexual minorities and their allies have been facing all year.

Stay in touch,

Monitor Laura Fish


Each day we publish news reports and provide assistance to people who have been arrested. We very much need your assistance. After all, we depend for all our work on your support. Please sign up to make a monthly donation to OVD-Info. That way we can continue to send you your favourite mailing, our Weekly Bulletin.

Photo: An arrest at the rally on 27 July 2019. (c) Evgeny Feldman 

Translation by Judith Fagelson

Declaration by Memorial and Moscow Helsinki Group to the Russian Investigative Committee concerning statements by Ramzan Kadyrov.

posted 1 Dec 2019, 07:24 by Translation Service   [ updated 1 Dec 2019, 07:43 ]

22 November 2019

Pictured: Moscow Helsinki Group Co-Chair Vyacheslav Bakhmin

To A.I. Bastrykin, Chair of the Russian Federation Investigatory Committee.

2, Tekhnichesky Lane, Moscow, 105005

In accordance with the authority vested in you, we write to request that you order an inspection to be conducted, in accordance with the procedure established by the Russian Federation Criminal-Procedural Code, and the question decided as to the existence of grounds for opening a criminal case in connection with the following circumstances. 

On 5 November 2019, Grozny ChGTRK [Chechen State Television and Radio Company] aired a statement by the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov, at a session of the Government of the Chechen Republic.

In his speech in the Chechen language, R.A. Kadyrov, taking advantage of his official position, made statements inciting hatred and hostility toward journalists and human rights activists who publish reports on human rights violations in the Chechen Republic and also toward users of the Internet and social networks who post critical comments addressed to the above-mentioned authorities. He [Kadyrov] publicly called for them to be stopped “by killing them, putting them behind bars, doing whatever it takes.” According to R. Kadyrov, associates of the police and special service and heads of districts and settlements should be brought in to carry out these criminal actions. We are attaching a translation into Russian of this portion of the statements by the Chechen Republic at the session of the Chechen government.

Subsequently, R.A. Kadyrov attempted to justify his statements by referring to adats (customary law) and by saying that in ordinary communication the promise to kill is merely an image, a figure of speech that should not be taken literally. These self-justifications do not stand up to any criticism, first, because the head of the Chechen Republic uttered the above-cited words not in an ordinary conversation but at a session of the Republic's government. Second, in addressing the official persons sitting before him, R. Kadyrov called on them to involve police officers and officials in criminal activity.

With these statements, the head of the Chechen Republic publicly undermined the authority of organs of republic and federal authorities and demonstrated his disdain for the country’s laws, constitutional principles, and democratic values.

We perceive these words as a direct threat that could have serious consequences for the life, health, and safety of all those who speak out critically against the authorities of the Chechen Republic. Similar statements by Chechen government officials in the past have led more than once to the commission of serious crimes.

In the conditions created over the last fifteen years in the Chechen Republic, R. Kadyrov’s public statements are understood by his subordinates as a direct order to act. Calls for lawlessness emanating from the very top are picked up on by subordinates. There are many armed people in the republic prepared to carry out any, even absolutely illegal instructions issued by its head. For these people, it is not even mandatory to have a direct order. In the atmosphere of fear and servility reigning in the Chechen Republic, people will always be found who will decide to carry out the wish of the top level and to cripple or kill a person this top level finds inconvenient and unpleasant.


R.A. Kadyrov’s statements at a session of the government of the Chechen Republic contain the hallmarks of the following crimes:

Article 282, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code (actions aimed at inciting hatred or hostility based on belonging to some social group, actions committed publicly, including involving the use of means of mass information or information-telecommunications networks, the use of one’s official position, the threat of the application of violence);

Article 285, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code (abuse of official powers, that is, the use by an individual holding a state position in the Russian Federation of their official powers against the interests of his service, if this act is committed out of some other personal interest and entails a substantial violation of the rights and legal interests of citizens or organizations or the interests of society or the state that are protected by law);

Article 286, Section 3, of the Russian Criminal Code (exceeding of official powers, that is, the commission by an individual occupying a state position in the Russian Federation of actions that manifestly exceed the bounds of their powers and have entailed a substantial violation of the rights and legal interests of citizens or organizations or else the interests of society or the state protected by law that are committed with the threat of the application of violence).

We request that an inquiry be conducted into the presence in the actions of R.A. Kadyrov of evidence of the said crimes and that a decision be taken in accordance with Articles 144-145 of the Russian Criminal Code.

22 November 2019

A.V. Cherkasov, Chair of the Board of the Memorial Center

O.P. Orlov, member of the Board of the Memorial Human Rights Centre

V.I. Bakhmin, V.V. Borshchev, and D.A. Makarov, Co-Chairs of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Translated by Marian Schwartz

Golos: Main News of the Week 18-24 November 2019

posted 1 Dec 2019, 07:00 by Translation Service   [ updated 1 Dec 2019, 07:52 ]

24 November 2019

Everything you need to know about elections for the past week

Who’s falsifying the case of Roman Udot
Unbelievable and amazing details are coming to light in the case of our colleague Roman Udot. It turns out someone erased videos from the flash drive of the NTV pseudo-journalists, videos which didn’t fit their conception of things and spoke of Roman’s innocence. But we have restored them – see for yourself.

The opening session on that case took place on 18 November; witnesses were heard and arguments from both sides were presented. The “injured parties” averred in all seriousness that they took seriously words about “biting out an Adam’s apple” and were frightened to death. We have gathered the main points for you to know about the position of the parties, no matter how ridiculous it may be.

There will be a new court hearing on 25 November. We know we’re like the little boy who cried wolf, but the decision could be handed down precisely at a moment when there is no one in the court. And it could take place very soon. That’s why we’re asking you once again to come and support Roman and all fighters for honest elections.

25 November, 11 AM, Magistrate’s Court in the Moscow suburb of Khimki.

Alcohol, tea and other methods of neutralizing observers in Korolyov
To ensure victory at the polls in the Moscow suburb of Korolyov, authorities used the holy trinity of electoral fraud: carousels, checking off people as no-shows, and fraud in voting from home. And to keep observers from interfering, the tried to remove them by all means possible: offering hard alcohol and tea, or simply by trying to kindly persuade them to leave the premises after the polling stations had closed.

There have been shocking new details in the mass fraud in Korolyov in the investigation of Tatyana Yurasova. We will strive for the punishment of all participants involved in these crimes.

Invitation to a forum of voluntary observers
“The Forces of Good” will meet in St. Petersburg: the fifth Forum of Volunteer Observers” will take place there 14 December. It is being organized by eight movements of voluntary inspectors. The observer are meeting to discuss problems of the association, methods of fighting fraud, and innovation in the area of elections.

You can also join us – to take part, please fill out this questionnaire.

“Judgment Day”: Why Lyudmila Kuzmina in being prosecuted and what’s happening in her case – Golos

The 15th Case: in Kirov Oblast one more precinct electoral commission member will be tried – Golos

A court has affirmed the legality of a search at the residence of Tatarstan Golos coordinator Mikhail Tikhonov – Golos

This coming Sunday we will follow the elections in Voronezh and Kemerovo oblasts, and also the referendum on self-taxation in Tatarstan. Follow the chronicle on our site and publications on social media.

Support Us: Golos operates with help from your contributions.

The voter’s rights movement Golos is the leading Russian organization for volunteer election observers. Golos instructs observers, supports the work of the federal hotline and online services, refers voters to legal assistance, participates in the improvement of the electoral system, and conducts short- and long-term observation of elections. Our goal is free and fair elections in Russia.

Translated by Mark Nuckols

Team 29: How to fight Lucifer

posted 27 Nov 2019, 12:39 by Translation Service   [ updated 27 Nov 2019, 12:44 ]

23 November 2019 

Hi. Natasha Korchenkova here.

Late last week, I started to read the book The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo, author of the well-known Stanford Prison Experiment. He has dedicated his whole life to studying the nature of evil and has come to the conclusion that hidden influences in a situation can override the will of even the best person. However, writes Zimbardo, there are ways to counter unwanted social influences.

I still haven’t finished the book, as we spent every day (and night) this week working on a special project on former political prisoners. But as it turned out, the project itself ended up being a little guide on countering evil. It was five interviews with very different characters from several post-Soviet countries – about how to survive a prison experience, not give in, and keep going. The Azerbaijani politician Ilgar Mamedov spent five and a half years in a prison camp for standing against the permanent president of the country, Ilkham Aliev. Aleksandr Feduta, having helped the Belarusian President Lukashenko in his first elections, supported the opposition candidate in 2010 and ended up in a KGB isolation cell. The activist Dmitry Dashkevich, also from Belarus, was put away twice for protesting against election rigging. Andrei Barabanov was sentenced in the ‘Bolotnoe Affair’ – they are using the same formula right now in the ‘Moscow Affair’. And the pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who was sentenced in Russia to 22 years and returned to Ukraine after being cleared, ended up a political prisoner once again, only now in her own country.

What unites all of them is the fact that even after surviving prison, and aware of all the risks, they remain the same people. Mamedov is preparing for the next election cycle, Dashkevich continues to put crosses on the graves of victims of Stalinist repression near Minsk, Barabanov helps political prisoners and prepares meals according to prison recipes with guests on his own show.

It’s likely that you won’t share all the characters’ views, ideologically. Certain statements of theirs may surprise or annoy you. But that is precisely why we wanted to bring up our interview series: no one should be persecuted for their position. This is because respect for others serves as a guarantee of our freedom – even if that’s the freedom to say things that we find unpleasant or thoughts that we find abhorrent.

Before I go, I recommend that you have a listen to our podcast. It’s dedicated to Egor Letov and the political persecution of his group ‘Civil Defence’. In general, though, it’s also about the most important thing: freedom. There’s lots of great music in the podcast, too. Don’t miss it!

iTunes | SoundCloud | VK | Android | Yandex.Music

Have a good weekend!

Natasha and Team 29

Translated by Lindsay Munford

OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 130: Individuals to be designated as 'foreign agents' and LGBT activist prosecuted for pornography

posted 26 Nov 2019, 14:14 by Translation Service   [ updated 1 Dec 2019, 08:02 ]

23 November 2019

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday OVD-Info sends out a mailing with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here.

Hello, dear readers! This week the State Duma managed to pass two strange laws at once.

It is proposed to enable the designation of individuals as 'foreign agents.' Holders of this status will have to register as a legal entity and add a ‘foreign agent’ label to everything they publish.

Why is this important? According to the bill, anyone who publishes material on the internet and receives money from abroad or from Russian 'foreign agents' can be considered 'foreign agents.' At the same time, officials held that not all such people need be automatically designated as 'agents.' The wording of the law is rather vague, and there is a danger that it will be used to put pressure on journalists and bloggers.

It is proposed that lawyers will face a lifetime ban on appearing in court in cases where they:
  • are convicted of a crime;
  • are incapacitated or partly incapacitated;
  • have violated the lawyers’ Code of professional ethics;
  • have illegally used and/or disclosed information related to legal assistance to clients;
  • have systematically failed to comply with the statutory requirements of a lawyer’s inquiry.

Why is this important? Lawyers consider that the law contravenes the Constitution and makes it possible to put pressure on lawyers. If it comes into force, then someone with a higher education in law could be deprived of the right to work at their profession. In addition to this, the law contravenes the current procedural codes (the Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Administrative Offices, Code of Administrative Legal Proceedings). They envisage limits on a judicial representatives who are deprived of their lawyer status.

LGBT activist in Komsomolsk-on-Amur faces prosecution for alleged dissemination of pornography. At the start of the week, Yulia Tsvetokva’s home was searched. Her status was transferred from that of a witness to that of a suspect after she refused to testify.

Why do I need to know this? Law enforcement have been paying attention to Tsvetkova since February of last year. Previously the activist led a youth theatre, but it had to be closed after a festival was disrupted and young actors began to face pressure. Later, Tsvetkova and her subscribers on VKontakte were summoned to the police and asked about propaganda on “non-traditional family values”. The police promised to open an administrative case, but decided to go further. Here you can read monologues by the pupils of the theatre and their parents about their many hours of police interrogation and their activist art.


Prosecution of innocent people A book by Aleksei Fedyarov, a staff member at the Russia in Jail Foundation [Русь сидящая], has been published by the publisher Alpina. In the past both a prosecutor and a prisoner, and now a human rights defender, Fedyarov describes in the book what to do if you are the victim of an unfair criminal prosecution. We have published a chapter.

20 protests without official permission Жители Residents of Neftekamsk are dissatisfied that there are plans to build a dump for dangerous waste near the town. For two months they have tried to get permission to hold a protest, but local authorities have rejected all 20 of their applications. Each time the local authorities claimed that the activists were late in applying, because the location had already been promised to organisers of another event - although no other events ever took place. Aleksandr Litoi has interviewed Aidar Bayanov, an activist from the group 'Stop Kambarka-Neftekamsk.'

Antifascists' criminal connections Last Sunday people in masks and flack jackets burst into a martial arts tournament held by antifascist activists entitled 'Don't Give Up.' All of those present were put in buses and taken away. About 60 of those arrested were sent to various police stations, photographed and given questionnaires to fill out. Among the information requested was 'Criminal Connections.' Aleksandr Litoi spoke with Irina, one of those who had been at the tournament. 

Stay in touch,
Laura fish


Each day we publish news reports and provide assistance to people who have been arrested. We very much need your assistance. After all, we depend for all our work on your support. Please sign up to make a monthly donation to OVD-Info. That way we can continue to send you your favourite mailing, our Weekly Bulletin.

Illustration by Anna Goremyka for OVD-Info

Translated by Anna Bowles

Memorial Human Rights Centre: Six more defendants in the ‘Moscow Case’ prosecutions for riot are political prisoners

posted 25 Nov 2019, 08:26 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 25 Nov 2019, 08:28 ]

Правозащитный центр «Мемориал»20 November 2019

Six individuals have been charged with violence against law enforcement officers during the dispersal of the opposition protest on 27 July 2019 in Moscow, although only protesters were assaulted

In line with international guidelines defining the term ‘political prisoner,’ Memorial Human Rights Centre has recognised Andrei Barshai, Vladimir Emelyanov, Egor Lesnykh, Maksim Martintsov, Aleksandr Mylnikov and Pavel Novikov as political prisoners and demands their immediate release.

The Charges

More than 20 people face charges as a result of the criminal investigation that began on 30 July into violence against public officials during alleged riots in Moscow on 27 July 2019 in the course of the demonstration, in which many thousands took part, against the exclusion of opposition candidates from the Moscow City Assembly elections.

Andrei Barshai, Vladimir Emelyanov, Egor Lestnykh, Maksim Martintsov, Aleksandr Mylnikov and Pavel Novikov were detained in October. They have been charged under Article 318, Section 1, of the Russian Criminal Code (use of force not dangerous to life or health against a public official). Lesnykh, Mylnikov and Martintsov, according to investigators, pushed an OMON riot police officer to the ground, while Lesnykh and Martintsov also kicked him. According to the Investigative Committee, Emelyanov ‘forcibly seized’ a riot police officer ‘from behind by his uniform’ and Barshai pushed another. Novikov allegedly struck a police officer on helmet and hand with a plastic water bottle.

Why Memorial Human Rights Centre considers the defendants innocent

It is evident from the video recording that Barshai, Emelyanov, Lesnykh, Martintsov and Mylnikov, without weapons or other objects, sought to prevent violence by law enforcement officers against a young woman and a young man lying on the road. In response, they were beaten with batons.

Pavel Novikov struck a half-litre plastic bottle against the helmet and protective jacket of a riot police officer. On the video recording published by the Investigative Committee, it can be seen that the riot police officer was in no way affected by this blow.

According to the materials of the case, the law enforcement officers who were the alleged victims suffered no injuries, not even the slightest scratches. The claim that they momentarily suffered ‘physical pain’ cannot be proved. Sentencing defendants to terms of incarceration for ‘causing pain’ in this manner clearly contradicts both the law and common sense.

Furthermore, it must be taken into consideration that these incidents occurred as a spontaneous reaction by demonstrators to the unlawful violence of law enforcement officers against them.

Representatives of Memorial were at the scene of events on 27 July and have studied in detail video recordings of the protest and the clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement officers, as well as the materials of the case. We are convinced the demonstration was peaceful in nature.

According to Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, freedom of assembly is one of the most important civic rights. Authorities are obliged to enable the conduct of public assemblies and to protect their security. On 27 July they did the opposite: they hindered the peaceful protest and dispersed it, detaining approximately 1,500 participants by force. Unlawful obstruction of the holding of a rally, demonstration or march is punishable under Article 149 of the Russian Criminal Code by deprivation of liberty for up to three years.

Political motivation

We are convinced that the authorities intend the criminal investigation to intimidate potential participants in public protests in order to deter them and to prevent such events.

The protesters who were arrested had in practice been declared guilty in advance of their trial when the mayor of Moscow announced there had been riots in Moscow and the press secretary of the Russian President also indicated the same, thereby putting pressure on the law enforcement agencies and the courts. State television and other pro-government media reported the lie that there had been ‘riots,’ branding the protesters as criminals.

The fact that charges against a number of individuals were dropped as a result of public pressure confirms that the charges were based not on the law but on the political wishes of the authorities.

You can read more about this case here.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions..You can donate via Yandex-Wallet 410011205892134 and Sberbank card № 5469 3800 7023 2177 to the Political Prisoners’ Support Fund that supports all political prisoners.

OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 129: Krivoruchko and classified materials

posted 21 Nov 2019, 13:40 by Translation Service   [ updated 21 Nov 2019, 13:49 ]

16 November 2019

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday OVD-Info sends out a mailing with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here.

Hello, dear readers!

We’ve released a project about freedom of assembly in the former USSR. Take a look at where has the highest fines for violations at rallies, and what local experts and journalists say about freedom of Assembly.

And now for the week’s news..

Prosecutions for commenting about a judge During the week, the Investigative Committee opened as many as three criminal cases for publications about judge Aleksei Krivoruchko. The first individual was detained on Tuesday. On Wednesday, another was detained at Vnukovo airport. The accused refused the help of a human rights lawyers and pleaded guilty.

Why do I need to know this? The arrests are a consequence of the authorities' reaction to this summer’s protests against the suspension of independent candidates for the Moscow City Duma. These protests resulted in a series of criminal cases relating to the "mass riots" and alleged violence against security forces. In September, Krivoruchko sentenced actor Pavel Ustinov to 3.5 years in prison for his participation in a rally in August. The sentence was later replaced with a suspended sentence, but Krivoruchko's decision caused such a stir online, that the court published statements regarding the "unacceptable criticism of the judicial system" and the "outright harassment" of the judge.

The Golunov Case. The materials relating to the case of journalist Ivan Golunov, who in July was detained with a planted package of drugs, have been classified. The police officers who arrested Golunov are being investigated.

Why is this important? There must be valid reasoning to classify case materials. Still, parts of the documents remain available to the participants of the legal process. Here, under the heading "secret" one can find materials which Golunov's lawyers were already familiar with. For almost six months, there have been attempts to bring the police officers who fabricated the charges to justice, but this is yet to materialise. "The whole criminal case is classified, from the cover to the last page, without explanation. This is the first time I have encountered such cynicism" said his lawyer. You can read about how courts abuse the "investigation secrets" here.

The Crimea Sentences. Six defendants in the “Hizb ut-Tahrir" case received between 7 and 19 years in a prison colony for participating in a terrorist organisation. None of them pleaded guilty.

Why do I need to know this? Russia is the only country in which the Muslim party Hizb ut-Tahrir is considered a terrorist organisation. In different regions, according to incomplete data, 301 individuals have been persecuted, 197 of whom have already received harsh prison sentences for simply meeting in apartments, reading religious literature and recruiting new members. Here, an expert from "Memorial" explains in detail how this all began, and why this so-called “terrorist group” is banned.


Mass production The former head of the Donetsk People’s Republic is now serving as mayor of Elista. The locals arranged demonstrations in protest, three of which led to participants being detained and fined. Natalia Korotonozhkina explains what is happening in the capital of Kalmykia.

Court hearings at midnight Last Friday, the Moscow City Court looked into the moral damage from uncoordinated picket. Lawyer ATS-info Maxim Sorokin together with the defendants waited for the meeting for seven hours. During this time, one of the applicants had to call an ambulance. Alexander Litoy recorded the lawyer's story.

Playing by numbers OVD-info, alongside lawyers from Memorial is launching a campaign in help detainees from protests to send complaints to the European Court of Human Rights. By the summer, the ECHR will have received hundreds of complaints. The campaign coordinators hope to help not only those who were wrongly detained, but also to address the present state of freedom of assembly in Russia. Marina Agaltsova and Alexandra Chilikova explain why this is necessary, and how it works.

Stay in touch,
Laura fish


Each day we publish news reports and provide assistance to people who have been arrested. We very much need your assistance. After all, we depend for all our work on your support. Please sign up to make a monthly donation to OVD-Info. That way we can continue to send you your favourite mailing, our Weekly Bulletin.

Illustration by Anastasia Pozhidaeva for OVD-Info

Translated by James Lofthouse

Golos: Golos: Main news of the week 11-17 November 2019

posted 19 Nov 2019, 11:07 by Translation Service   [ updated 19 Nov 2019, 11:14 ]

17 November 2019

Everything you need to know about last week’s elections

Lawyers for Dummies
Our legal group went to St. Petersburg, where it held a seminar for those who want to achieve justice regarding the September elections, but don’t know how to go about it. Explanations by lawyers can be useful to everyone, so we posted a presentation from the meeting and video broadcast on our site.

We want to hold such events regularly and aim to make them useful.

We are going to Tatarstan
We are arranging two missions to referendums in Tatarstan, because we know about the positive effect that the presence of observers has at the polls. “Golos” has been following the referendums on self-taxation for four years now, and we are convinced that when there are observers at the polling station turnout is lower and voters are not so active in voting to chip in to pay for collective needs. [Translator’s note: ‘self-taxation’ is a theoretically voluntary contribution to one-time expenditure; those who do not want to pay the contribution are often fined.]

Tatarstan is called a “region with a special electoral culture: it requires special monitoring by observers. In Kazan they tried to cancel the results of the elections, reports Idel Realii. We have also talked about this story: in this area the candidate was given a “training version” of the election results document, or that was the name it was given as justification by the regional election commission. 

The missions will take place on 24 November and 8 December, and you can sign up here to join our team. You can also follow the chronicle on election day.

A court in St Petersburg has cancelled the results of the election of municipal deputies in a region where only candidates from United Russia won on 8 September.

Golos Bloggers
The reason why our colleague Roman Udot became the subject of persecution, and what is going on in his case, is a cavalcade of absurdity: lawyer Denis Kunayev attended a meeting at the magistrate’s court.

The new final result in the Rabochyeostrovsky settlement in Karelia has changed the alignment of forces in the elections to the local council. What happened, and how such an error could creep into a QR code, Oleg Ryeut investigates.

You can support Golos here.

Translated by Anna Bowles

Team 29: 📜 Email about wasted time

posted 19 Nov 2019, 10:54 by Translation Service   [ updated 19 Nov 2019, 10:58 ]

16 November 2019 

Hi, Tanya Torocheshnikova here. This week has been a total wash-out for me.

I’m writing this newsletter in the middle of the night and thinking about how strange it is how everything in life changes.

Until recently, there was a cinema on this site, and soon it’ll all be rubble. And later, there’ll be a massive, ridiculous apartment complex (Hey, Sobyanin! Hands off my Moscow!). Only yesterday, you were this ordinary student at the Moscow Aviation Institute, and today you’re a defendant in a fabricated criminal case: trial, cell, remand, psychiatric evaluation – what on Earth’s going on?

Everything is fast paced and fleeting. The news is out of date by the time it has barely even appeared in your newsfeed, while the amount of content is increasing exponentially, and it’s a complete mystery as to when you’ll find the time to watch, read and listen to it all. Even the best memes survive for a couple of hours at best – it would be off message to share them by the evening. I mean, come on, everyone saw it all ages ago! You get consumed by this fear of missing out if you don’t check social media for a whole hour, even.

I can’t imagine how people coming out of remand or a penal colony feel nowadays. It seems like even in the space of six months, everything changes beyond recognition. Where will we be and who will we be when they release the Moscow Case defendants Ivan Podkopaev, Danila Beglets, Kirill Zhukov, and Evgeny Kovalenko? What town and what country will we be living in? How many roads are they going to dig up in the My Street programme? How many more cinemas are they going to demolish in Moscow? Who’s going to be president? Oh, wait…

As it happens, almost all the articles and interviews that went across my desk recently dealt with the issue of prisons (on that note, stand by next week for an awesome project on the Team 29 website), and I can’t help but think what a crying shame it is to waste time.

Time when you could read a million books, do a load of useful things, or simply spend time with your loved ones. But instead, you’re going to spend two years in some rotten barracks somewhere in the wilderness of Arkhangelsk region, in the company of hardened criminals. And you’re telling me it’s a correctional system? Yeah, right.

We have somehow reached the point where getting 2-3 years for peaceful protest has become an everyday occurrence. It’s understandable – the brain can’t cope with all this news streaming in and activates a coping mechanism. But the more I talk to various lawyers, and political prisoners themselves, the more I think that you mustn’t get used to this sort of thing. You need to keep thinking about the fact that people are being put away for nothing, destroying their lives and robbing them of their time. You need to remember that this is not normal and not right, and that things don’t have to be this way.

That’s why I’m going to keep reading and writing about how political cases are brought in Russia. So, I’m asking you, too, to read about it and help those who find themselves held hostage by the State.

And if it all becomes too much to bear and you want to zone out, you can always go and give your loved ones a hug. Because there may come a time when it’s too late for that, too.

Take care of each other,

Tanya, Team 29

Translated by Lindsay Munford

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