Rights Groups in Russia

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

Team 29: We have hit the 0.2%!

posted 9 Dec 2018, 11:31 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Dec 2018, 11:31 ]

30 November 2018

Hi, this is Team 29! 

It is often said to us: "Well, why are you going to Russian courts? It is impossible to win there, the authorities will always get what they want." Acquittals really do account for only 0,2% out of the total number of cases tried - that is two chances out of a thousand. It is almost impossible to obtain a discharge. But we have managed to do it - thanks to you. 

Former colleagues of Aleksander Eivasov from the court wanted to put him in jail because he had spoken about what the court system was really like. We 
have obtained a complete acquittal for Eivasov - and it is your merit. The office of Public Prosecutor dismissed an accusation of slander after an expert review organized thanks to the money you sent to us. It is twice as cool to win when you have such wonderful allies behind your back.

Besides, this month we have told how one 
can lawfully criticize the leadership, why concerts are cancelled, how the military's rights are restricted and many other things. This is our lawyer Anastasia Bocharyonok who prepares instructions in these cases and her work is also paid for by you, friends. Without you it would be much more difficult. 

We need your support very much. Thanks to it we can do even more: send lawyers to another city, order new expert reviews of cases, write another hundred important texts in which we will explain how to live in Russia. The precondition for our secure existence consists in constant payments
Support us. Let's reach the impossible together.

Translated by Anna Dvoryanchikova

Team-29: Russia is closing down

posted 9 Dec 2018, 11:22 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Dec 2018, 11:32 ]

23 November 2018

Hi, this is Kolya Ovchinnikov. Today the letter will be short. 

This week we have managed to obtain a complete acquittal for the former court clerk Aleksander Eivasov. He was accused of slander and hindering justice for speaking out about what the justice system looked like in reality (in brief, everything is very bad). We had managed to beat off the accusations of slander back in July already, and now the court has acquitted Eivasov on the second charge too. The percentage of acquittals, you should know, is 0,2% of the total number of cases tried.

The miracle wouldn't have happened without your help: that is you who have helped to 
get money for expertise thanks to which we have beaten off one more prosecution. Thank you! 

Unfortunately, such good news is rare. The main ideology of modern Russia - "make sure nothing can come of it." The state 
closes archivesmakes its expenses secretconceals its mistakes and, of course, puts people in prison: for protests, for reposts, for the revelation of information claimed to be allegedly secret. We have decided to understand how this has happened and created a thematic channel in Telegram named "Russia is closing down". There we will write about censorship and political processes, espionage cases and state secret - all in all, about everything that we like, only from a historic perspective. Sign up!

Translated by Anna Dvoryanchikova

Golos News Digest 3 – 9 December 2018

posted 9 Dec 2018, 11:13 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Dec 2018, 11:13 ]

7 December 2018

Golos on Elections

It would appear that the investigations into financial fraud at local electoral commissions have already brought forward a result. The Central Electoral Commission has promised that at the next Moscow elections local commission members won’t be paid in cash but via a different system.

Golos representative Vladimir Egorov was attacked at the elections in Pereslavl by a group of aggressive youths, some of whom were drunk. They tried to stop the civil activist from being present during the vote count. Golos’ experts pieced the events from the evening together and have prepared an in-depth report on the happenings, which promises to be of  interest to not only observers and commissions but the security services too.

We are continuing to get to grips with the Moscow Oblast elections. We have been uploading photos and videos of the merry-go-round each day for two weeks. They all voted at multiple polling stations in Balashikha and Zheleznodorozhny. We ask you to help us work out their identities. We’re particularly reliant on residents of these towns.


The return of the merry-go-round. Tatiana Yurasova’s investigation into voter falsification at the elections in Balashikha. – Novaya Gazeta

The Kremlin reacts to Novaya Gazeta investigation into voter falsification at the gubernatorial elections in Balashikha – Novaya Gazeta

Central Electoral Commission begin checking information on possible election violations at the Moscow Oblast elections. – TASS

A Just Russia candidate questions election result in Pereslavl – REGNUM

Central Electoral Commission refuse idea of memorial for members of electoral commissions – TASS

Our Bloggers

Civil activists prepared two reports this week. Stanislav Shevchenko reveals how elections took place in a little town in a Novosibirsk region controlled by a construction company. Ilya Pigalkin from Ivanovo was at the elections in the neighbouring Yaroslavl Oblast and shared his impressions of the elections and the work of the committee.

Translated by Matthew Quigley

OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 84: Our first podcast, the authorities stop bands performing, and an adolescent threatened with psychiatric hospital for creating school student union

posted 9 Dec 2018, 10:56 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Dec 2018, 10:59 ]

7 December 2018

Greetings to our readers!

You have probably received our message about our podcast and about OVD-Info’s seventh birthday. If not, then here is a summary: we have turned seven; we have released our first podcast and we hope to win your hearts and ears; you can sign up to monthly donations here.

The courts in Moscow have sentenced Lev Ponomarev, the director of the movement For Human Rights, to 16 days in prison. He is 77 years old. He was arrested because of his posts about rallies in support of the defendants in the New Greatness and Networks cases. Initially, Ponomarev was given 25 days, but the municipal court reduced the sentence.

A teacher at St Petersburg State University was refused contract renewal because of an expert opinion he issued in a court case on extremism. Aleksandr Panchenko, an anthropologist and teacher at St Petersburg State University, was refused a renewal of his contract after he gave an expert opinion on Pentecostalist texts which were under inspection on the initiative of Russia’s state counter-extremism unit, Centre E. Panchenko claims that his conclusion “cast serious doubt on the prosecution’s position.”

The headteacher of a school in St Petersburg has threatened a pupil with “a stay in a psychiatric hospital” after he started his own Union. Tenth-grader Leonid S organised a Union of 170 people in St Petersburg School No. 622. The teenager was called in by the headteacher, Natalya Aleksakhina, and was threatened in front of the entire senior management of the school with exclusion, prosecution and “a stay in a psychiatric hospital”. According to the sixteen-year-old S., she also called in other pupils to see her and told them that Leonid was an extremist and an “unleader”, and also advised pupils to keep their distance from him.

The authorities are preventing bands from singing their music:

·  In Novosibirsk, the police arrested the band ISZREAK and threatened to plant drugs on them; in Kazan, after the band had a concert broken up, the police have initiated criminal proceedings about false reports of an act of terrorism; in Saratov, a club where they were performing was searched for drugs and explosives; in Voronzeh, police beat the band’s manager and their concert was cancelled by the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor).

·  In Ivanov and Yaroslavl, the band Friendzone cancelled their concert following pressure from the law enforcement. The same has happened in Nizhny Novgorod.

·  In Petrozavodsk, rapper GONE.Fludd had a concert cancelled by the public prosecution office, who had previously issued him a warning.

In Altai, an NGO working on HIV prevention has closed. It was classed as a “foreign agent” and unable to pay the resultant fine. The state considered the distribution of over 100,000 syringes and 20,000 condoms to drug users, to limit infection risk, to be a political act.

The European Court of Human Rights has issued several rulings in favour of Russian activists. Participants in the March of the Millions who had been fined 500 roubles were awarded 7500 euros in compensation, and the ruling to compensate Pussy Riot members with 48,000 euros was upheld.

Some updates on the Networks case: Arman Sagynbaev is not receiving essential medicines. His health has worsened. Dmitry Pchelintsev has ended his hunger strike after the head of the remand centre where he is being held promised to stop placing defendants in the Networks case in solitary confinement without justification. Pchelintsev also says that all his letters are being confiscated. 


Attending rallies, heading down to a kiosk on a street corner at night-time, leaving the bounds of the Moscow Ring Road (or anywhere else) – you can be forbidden from doing any of this, even if you have served your full prison sentence. These measures are called “administrative oversight.” Oversight, as ruled by a court, can last up to eight years. We explain how it works and why lawyers consider it archaic.

Incorrectly weeding tomatoes and other reprimands can mean that the Federal Penitentiary Service can deny a prisoner early release. We explain how parole works in Russia and what is wrong with the system.

If criminal proceedings have been initiated against your father, then you continue his fight. We explain the workings of the Crimean Solidarity movement. Crimean Solidarity is a union of lawyers, activists and relatives of political prisoners. It was started in response to repression in Crimea. On Friday, Emil Kurbedinov, a lawyer from Crimean Solidarity, was sentenced to five days in prison for a post he wrote five years ago. Kurbedinov had been helping Crimean political prisoners. We also discuss the pressure that Emil received earlier on and why this is happening.


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 Vlad Milushkin for OVD-Info

Translation by Judith Fagelson 

Golos: News Digest 26 November – 2 December 2018

posted 7 Dec 2018, 08:48 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 7 Dec 2018, 08:52 ]

30 November 2018

Golos on Elections

Khakasia has finally elected its governor – communist Valentin Konovalov. His path to the position was thorny – all his opponents refused to take part and the authorities launched a counter campaign. Golos experts analysed the fairness of the election and how electoral rights were observed. Their conclusion can be found in this large analytical report.

Alarming signals are coming in from Moscow electoral committees. As if on cue they’ve stopped including independent representatives. Candidates from the “Civil Initiative” and “Yabloko” are being sent to be reserve members of the local electoral committees. While the formation of the Moscow electoral committees is still taking place, we’re hoping the situation will change. We’ll be monitoring it.

This week we continued searching for the falsifiers who worked at the 9th September elections in Balshikha and Zheleznodorozhny. We’re really counting on the help of people from these towns. Photos and video clips are being collected in our archive. Take a look, maybe you’ll know some of these people? Comment or private message us on our social media pages.

Next Sunday we’ll be keeping our finger on the pulse of elections in Saratov oblast, Krasnodar Kray, and Krasnoyarsk Kray. You can see what’s happening on our traditional election day timeline.

What’s more we’ve prepared a new piece on Golos activists and the sacrifices they bring to the altar of free and fair elections. The story of Valentina Denisenko, who though she survived the Siege of Leningrad, was years later seen by her neighbours as a fascist because of the work of pseudo-journalists.


Russia’s Central Electoral Commission gains new expert council – Tass

Pamfilova allows change of 2019 election day – Tass

Our Bloggers

Communist Andrey Ishchenko wasn’t permitted (to take part) in the new gubernatorial elections in Primorye and called on his supporters to spoil their ballots.  Vitaly Averin explains what this will lead to.

Ballots were stuffed but they weren’t able to change the result. The referendum on self-taxation in the village of Zvank in Tatarstan still hasn’t taken place. An atmospheric report from Ksenya Telmanova. 

Ivan Shushkin observed the presidential election in Gelendzhike and analysed them with the meticulousness of a researcher.

Translated by Matthew Quigley

Memorial Human Rights Centre: Viktor Korb is a victim of politically motivated prosecution

posted 2 Dec 2018, 07:49 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Dec 2018, 07:52 ]

22 November 2018

Blogger, journalist and human rights defender Viktor Korb, an opposition activist in Omsk, has been charged with ‘justifying terrorism’ for the publication of Boris Stomakhin’s closing speech at his trial. Korb has been charged under Article 205.2, Section 1, of the Russian Criminal Code (‘public incitement to carry out acts of terrorism, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism’). If found guilty, he faces a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.

Travel restrictions have been imposed on Korb and his name has been added to the official register of extremists and terrorists held by the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring), which in practice deprives him of access to his bank account.

Viktor Korb is one of the administrators of the Patriofil website which published an audio recording and text version of Stomakhin’s final speech in court, a speech in which Stomakhin described acts of terrorism in Russia as a ‘deserved revenge.’ Stomakhin’s speech was published on Patriofil as a direct citation without any approving commentary with a view to acquainting readers with the views of the defendant as expressed in open court. Korb has consistently sought to publicise the disproportionate severity of the prosecution of Stomakhin. However, this does not mean Korb agrees with any of Stomakhin’s publications or statements.

Korb’s prosecution was initiated three years after the publication of Stomakhin’s speech, even though the publication has had no consequences dangerous to the public. This indicates a political motive for the prosecution. The FSB has sought to intimidate Korb himself, as well as other civil society activists, journalists and human rights defenders, to make them engage in greater self-censorship and restrict their own activities.

Korb is being prosecuted for the non-violent realisation of his rights to freedom of expression and publication of information, and for non-violent defence of the rights of Stomakhin by publicising his prosecution. Memorial Human Rights Centre demands an end to the criminal prosecution of Viktor Korb and his complete rehabilitation.

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.

Bank account details for supporting Viktor Korb can be found here

Memorial Human Rights Centre: 12 more Jehovah’s Witnesses are political prisoners and victims of politically-motivated prosecutions. The number of Jehovah’s Witnesses now prosecuted for their faith has reached 62

posted 2 Dec 2018, 07:45 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Dec 2018, 07:57 ]

12 November 2018

On 3 August 2018 Memorial Human Rights Centre announced it had recognised 29 Jehovah’s Witnesses as political prisoners. A further 10 Jehovah’s Witnesses, who had not been remanded in custody or placed under house arrest, were recognised as victims of politically-motivated prosecutions. In September 2018 Memorial announced that 11 more Jehovah’s Witnesses had been recognised as political prisoners or victims of politically-motivated prosecutions.

Since then, repressive measures against Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose Church has been banned in Russia, have continued. Memorial Human Rights Centre is aware of at least seven new cases in which charges have been brought and suspects remanded in custody:uHhhh

1. Korobeinikov, Vladmir Aleksandrovich
2. Onishchuk, Andzhei
3. Sorokina, Nataliya Igorevna
4. Suvorkov, Andrei Sergeevna
5. Suvorkov, Evgeny Anatolievich
6. Troshina, Mariya Vladimirovna
7. Khalturin, Maksim Valerievich

Three Jehovah’s Witnesses have been placed under house arrest:

1. Kuchkov, Viktor Aleksandrovich
2. Lemeshev, Anton Nikolaevich (initially remanded in custody, then placed under house arrest) 
3. Turik, Igor Valerievich 

We also know of two other people facing criminal charges relating to their membership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who remain at liberty:

1. Burylov, Boris Ivanovich
2. Kriger, Valery Sergeevich

As of 9 November 2018, the total number of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia who are political prisoners is at least 42, of whom 27 have been remanded in custody and 15 are under house arrest. In addition, there are at least 20 Jehovah’s Witnesses subject to politically-motivated prosecutions who have not been remanded in custody. The relatively slow rate of increase in the number of those remanded in custody, in our view, derives from the fact that while ever more Jehovah’s Witnesses are being remanded in custody, a number of those remanded earlier are being transferred to house arrest or released subject to travel restrictions. We are aware that the current list is in all probability not exhaustive, and new names will be added. The regularly updated list of those prosecuted on charges of belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Church can be read on our website. For our readers’ convenience we also publish this list here.

Remanded in custody:

1. Alushkin, Vladimir Aleksandrovich
2. Bazhenov, Konstantin Aleksandrovich
3. Bazhenov, Konstantin Viktorovich
4. Barmakin, Dmitry Viktorovich
5. Britvin, Sergei Alekseevich
6. Budenchuk, Aleksei Vladimirovich
7. Klimov, Sergei Gennadievich
8. Korobeinikov, Vladimir Aleksandrovich
9. Kristensen, Dennis Ole
10. Levchuk, Vadim Anatolievich
11. Matrashov, Konstantin Viktorovich
12. Makhammadiev, Feliks Khasanovich
13. Mikhailov, Dmitry Vasilievich
14. Moskalenko, Valery Vasilievich
15. Myakushin, Vladimir Nikolaevich
16. Onishchuk, Andzhei
17. Osadchuk, Valentin Pavlovich
18. Polyakov, Sergei Valerievich
19. Polyakova, Anastasiya Andreevna
20. Raiman, Sergei Alekseevich
21. Sorokina, Nataliya Igorevna
22. Stupnikov, Andrei Garafetanovich
23. Suvorkov, Andrei Sergeevich
24. Suvorkov, Evgeny Anatolievich
25. Troshina, Mariya Vladimirovna
26. Khalturin, Maksim Valerievich
27. Iulmetev, Aidar Maratovich

Under house arrest:

1. Vilitkevich, Anatoly Sergeevich
2. Erkin, Sergei Livievich
3. Zyablov, Evgeny Anatolievich
4. Karimov, Ilkham Shamilievich
5. Kulyasov, Vladimir Aleksandrovich
6. Kuchkov, Viktor Aleksandrovich
7. Lemeshev, Anton Nikolaevich
8. Magliv, Andrei Aleksandrovich
9. Markin, Roman Nikolaevich
10. Petrov, Konstantin Nikolaevich
11. Puida, Ivan Grigorievich
12. Soloviev, Aleksandr Vasilievich
13. Timoshin, Denis Vladimirovich
14. Trofimov, Viktor Fedorovich
15. Turik Igor, Valerievich

At liberty, but subject to criminal prosecution for belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Church:

1. Akopyan, Arkady Akopovich
2. Aliev, Alam Abdulaziz ogly
3. Bazhenova, Snezhana Evgenievna
4. Burylov, Boris Ivanovich
5. Voikov, Sergei Aleksandrovich
6. Zalipaev, Yury Viktorovich
7. Zolotova, Vera Ivanovna
8. Ivashin, Igor Nikolaevich
9. Kolbanov, Vladislav Sergeevich
10. Kochnev, Vladimir Yurievich
11. Kriger, Valery Sergeevich
12. Mikhailova, Elena Valentinovna
13. Popov, Mikhail Yurievich
14. Popova, Elena Vyacheslavovna
15. Raiman, Valeriya Aleksandrovna
16. Skrynnikov, Sergei Vladimirovich
17. Suvorov, Aleksandr Gennadievich
18. Shalyapin, Anatoly Aleksandrovich
19. Shishina, Svetlana Yurievna
20. Shpakovsky, Gennady Valerianovich

We continue to hold that there are no grounds on which the organisations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses could be designated as extremist, and this designation is in violation of the rights to freedom of conscience and of association. The criminal prosecution of adherents of this religious faith is unlawful and discriminatory. We continue to consider all Jehovah’s Witnesses in custody or under house arrest as political prisoners and we call for their immediate release. We also demand an end to the criminal prosecution of those Jehovah’s Witnesses who are subject to other pre-trial conditions.

Memorial Human Rights Centre will continue to monitor the unlawful prosecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses and of members of other religious groups that have been banned without good reason.

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.

Memorial Human Rights Centre: Rostov-on-Don resident Vladislav Mordasov, charged with attempting to organise riots, is a political prisoner

posted 2 Dec 2018, 07:09 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Dec 2018, 07:10 ]

30 September 2018

Vladislav Mordasov, a worker from Rostov-on-Don, has been charged with attempting to organise riots under Article 30, Section 3, and Article 212, Section 1, of the Russian Criminal Code (which carries a maximum sentence of 11 years three months’ imprisonment) and with attempting to take part in riots under Article 30, Section 3 and Article 212, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code (which carries a maximum sentence of six years’ imprisonment).

Mordasov has officially been held on remand since 10 November 2017. However, as a matter of fact, he has been deprived of liberty since 5 November 2017 when he was detained on Ploshchad Sovetov opposite the Rostov region government building where he tried to organise a picket and was jailed for an offence under administrative law.

According to the charges laid against Mordasov and other defendants in the case, Yan Sidorov and Vyacheslav Shamshin, on 5 November 2017 allegedly ‘actively sought to publicly demonstrate campaigning materials intended to incite those present to actions of protest, gathering a crowd, and also for the purpose of committing provocations in relation to representatives of law enforcement agencies when the latter sought to detain the said participants in public disorder, and by that means tried to start a riot,’ in other words, to hold a picket. There are grounds, however, to consider that only Sidorov and Mordasov knew each other at that time, since Shamshin was brought to the location of the picket, which by that time had been dispersed, against his wishes by police officers from the anti-extremism department. He was there formally arrested.

Analysis of the materials of the criminal investigation to which we have access allows us to state with confidence that Vladislav Mordasov and the other defendants are innocent. The investigation has presented no material evidence that the accused actually did try to organise a riot, or even plan one.

With far greater certainty it can be said that the two young people, who carried no weapons but only placards that were not extremist in nature (‘Return their land to Rostov residents whose homes have been burnt down,’ and, ‘The government must resign’), leaflets and megaphones, and had spent a total of 3,500 roubles on the event, had tried to hold a picket and not to organise a riot or attempt to overthrow the regional government.

The investigation has provided no explanations why, if Mordasov and Sidorov allegedly committed not even the ‘preparation’ but ‘an attempt’ to organise a riot, there were no signs of these alleged riots beginning. The very notion that a riot could begin because of an ordinary picket with specific demands is absurd. In that case, such an intention could be attributed to any participant in any picket whatsoever, including those that have official permission and took place not on 5 November 2017 but at any other time. None of this makes the alleged ‘plan’ feasible or gives it any objective basis.

Of very great importance is Mordasov’s assertion that at the time of the opening of the criminal investigation against him, when he was charged by officers from the anti-extremism police department, he was tortured on two occasions. Furthermore, during his questioning on 10 November 2017, investigators V.A.Voskanyan and S.V.Gordeev also took part in the torture. Mordasov alleges that he was struck on the head, in the stomach, in the kidneys and in the lower stomach. During the most recent episode of torture, according to Mordasov’s account, a gas mask was twice put on his head and access to air was cut off until he had given the required testimony in which he testified against himself and Sidorov (during the torture the government-appointed lawyer A.P.Artamonov left the office at the request of investigator Gordeev). We point out that Sidorov’s defence counsel has also stated that officers from the anti-extremism police department put both pyschological and physical pressure on him during questioning at the special detention centre. The ‘confession’ secured in this way regarding an intention to organise a riot, as recorded in the official protocol of Mordasov’s questioning on 10 November 2017, must undoubtedly be considered inadmissible as evidence and the torture allegation must be investigated in an appropriate manner.

Memorial Human Rights Centre considers Vladislav Mordasov a political prisoner and calls for his immediate release.

At present we are unable to examine the materials of the case of Vyacheslav Shamshin. However, we plan to follow developments in his case. It is highly probable that the charges against him are also wholly fabricated.

We demand that officials guilty of violating the rights and freedoms of participants in public events and of accidental passers-by, unlawfully detained on 5 November 2017, be brought to justice.

Memorial Human Rights Centre continues to monitor the campaign of prosecutions against those charged with allegedly preparing the ‘Revolution of 5 November 2017,’ a campaign which began in the autumn of 2017 and has resulted in dozens of criminal prosecutions, including on charges of terrorism and preparing riots. In all likelihood, a significant number of the defendants are innocent, or do not even have any connection whatsoever with Maltsev and the Artpodgotovka organisation which is banned in Russia.

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.

More information about this case is available here.

OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 83: Musicians face pressure from the authorities, why Artdocfest left Russia and Immanuel Kant

posted 2 Dec 2018, 05:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Dec 2018, 06:02 ]

30 November 2018

Greetings to our readers!

Some good news:

·  The courts in Ekaterinburg have dismissed the case of a married couple detained for protesting against pension reforms.

·   One of the first people in Russia to be convicted for reposts on Vkontakte has been released. He served a three-year prison sentence for justification of terrorism.

·  The FSB have dropped a case in Khakassia against a defender of indigenous peoples for a post on VKontakte. 

The good news, however, stops there.

A lawyer has claimed that an elderly Crimean Tater activist, who died during a police search, was beaten with the butt of an automatic rifle. Lawyer Nikolai Polozov maintains that upon her arrest, Vedzhie Kashka – a veteran of the Crimean Tatar movement – was beaten with the butt of an automatic rifle at least once, and that she was also handcuffed. The lawyer notes that the videos which may have included the moment of Kashka’s arrest were removed and that evidence regarding the circumstances of her death was being “actively hidden” from him. The Crimean Investigative Committee refused to file a criminal case on Kashka’s death “because of the absence of criminal activity.”

The authorities are continuing to put pressure on musicians:

·  A 12-day prison sentence handed down to the rapper Khaski for petty hooliganism has been overturned. That said, a club in Vologda decided not to allow the rapper to perform in view of threats of closure by the law enforcement agencies.

·  Things even tougher for the band ISZREAK – they have had two concerts in Perm broken up, they have been banned outright from Novosibirsk, and prosecutors in Tyumen have issued a warning to a club where they were due to hold an event. Before their performance in Ekaterinburg, the musicians were questioned by Russia’s counter-extremism police.

The organiser of a rally in defence of Immanuel Kant has been called in by counter-extremism authorities. The protest was denied authorisation. On 27 November, pink paint was anonymously poured over a monument to the philosopher Kant standing outside Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University. Leaflets were scattered nearby, claiming that students at the university were studying “within walls bearing the enemy’s name.” A student was called in by counter-extremism police after he decided to organise a picket line in defence of Kant and his monument.

A photographer who covered the torture of gay people in Chechnya has fled Russia in view of threats he received. On 16 October 2017, Maksim Lapunov was arrested in Chechnya on suspicion of homosexuality. According to Lapunov, law enforcement officers held him in a basement, where they beat him for 12 days. The Investigative Committee of Russia did not open criminal proceedings with regard to his arrest and beating.

Human rights activist Mokhnatkin was taken into custody a day before he was due to be released. This occurred in connection with five criminal cases on causing disruption in prison. According to public defender Andrei Krkov, the 64-year-old detainee struggles to walk and to speak.

Our publications

“Nothing warms a bunk up like foam.” We tell the story of a St Petersburg group helping prisoners who have ended up in police custody for taking part in protest rallies.

“I was afraid that they would torture and beat me, and that they would interrogate me about what I received and where I sent it. I was so frightened.” Nadezhda Romasenko, a resident of the Vologda region, wrote a piece in support of an anarchist in Archangelsk who blew himself up inside the FSB’s buildings which resulted in her facing criminal charges herself. She does not have a lawyer, and lives 200km from the nearest city. We explain everything that is known about the case.

“A documentary is a living piece of work and will only continue to live as long as it can remain an art form.” We explain how and why Artdocfest, Russia’s biggest documentary film festival, has ended up holding most of its screenings abroad.


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 Vlad Milushkin for OVD-Info

Translation by Judith Fagelson

Team 29: Let's Play A Game

posted 25 Nov 2018, 11:29 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 25 Nov 2018, 11:31 ]

16 November 2018


This is Tanya Torocheshnikova, the commissioning editor of Team 29, and I want to play a game with you.

What is going on?

Imagine that you have found a very funny image and want to share it with friends. You have several attempts.

To post in social networks. Try not to get caught by cyber-squads - yes-yes, there are such squads. So far they have been patrolling social networks and looking for "dangerous content" on a community basis but deputies propose to make their activity lawful.

To send in messengers. There an ambush also waits for you: Medvedev has signed a new law and now owners of messengers must request your date from the service provider and he has 20 minutes for confirming your personality. No response - the identification fails.

And if you are a military officer, forget about messengers and about social networks - you are forbidden to post photos, videos and information about yourself, and it's better not to have a social network account at all. And don't use a smartphone. Choose another character.

What to read?

Our history about how the amateur of planes was accused of state treason for communication at avia-forums. The role of a foreign agent in this case was attributed by the FSB to Israel's citizen (because fuck you, thats why).

And about an important thing. 75-year-old Viktor Kudryavtsev whom we defend is still in the detention facility. We and his family are collecting signatures for his transition under home arrest. It remains a little up to 100000, help us. It is possible that together we will manage to win.

Good luck,

your Tanya and T29

Translated by Tanya Dvoryanchikova

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