OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 105: Prison (non)medicine and people claiming they are the FSB

posted 2 Jun 2019, 11:23 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 2 Jun 2019, 11:36 ]
31 May 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

Greetings to our readers!

The second episode of OVD-Info and [Russian independent media outlet] ROMB’s joint video magazine is out: it features Leonid Drabkin, a member of OVD-Info, who talks about the most blatant cases of political persecution that occurred during the month of May.

Anyway, here is the news from this week:

Two defendants in the so-called Ingush case have been released from pre-trial detention; the case relates to clashes between law enforcement officers and people protesting the Ingushetia-Chechnya border deal. Adam Azhigov and Ibrahim Muzhakhoev were released under orders not to leave their locality. They are accused of inflicting life-threatening injuries on law enforcement officers (criminal code article 318, paragraph 2).

Meanwhile, the offices of the Ingushetian Red Cross and the World Ingush Congress have been searched in connection with a case on incitement of civil unrest. The head of the Ingushetian Red Cross, Musa Malsagov, had previously been detained for four months for assaulting police officers and inciting civil unrest (criminal code article 212, paragraph 3).

The Ministry for Justice has suspended the activities of the Council of Teips (family clans) of Ingushetia for two months.

·  Why does this matter? Since last September, Ingushetian residents have been protesting the partial transfer of Ingushetian land to Chechnya. The investigative committee has pressed criminal charges of inciting civil unrest and assaulting police officers. A total of 26 people are facing charges, including Malsag Uzhakhov, the chair of the Council of Teips of Ingushetia. Find out what we already know about the case here.

Defendants in the New Greatness case have had their period of precautionary detainment extended by a further six months. Viacheslav Kriukov, Ruslan Kostylenkov, Petr Karamzin and Dmitry Poletaev are currently in pre-trial detention facilities. Maria Dubovik, Anna Pavlikova, Maksim Roshchin and Sergey Gavrilov are under house arrest.

·  Why do I need to know this? The defendants have already been detained for over a year. Altogether, the case has 10 defendants. Nine of them are charged with membership in and coordinating the activity of an extremist organisation (criminal code article 282.1, paragraphs 1 and 2). Two men, who have avoided detention, testified against the accused. One of them said that he was instructed to join the group by the authorities. The other wrote the organisation’s constitution, raised money, and rented rooms for the organisation’s meetings. Click here to read our guide to the case.

Publicist Boris Stomakhin’s prison sentence has been reduced by two months. He is due to be released on 19th September 2019.

·  Why does this matter? Stomakhin was sentenced on three counts, and faced a total of 12 years behind bars. All the cases against him related to articles he had written.

Yury Dmitriev, the head of Memorial’s Karelian branch, received threats to try and force him into confession. Over a period of four days, inmates threatened to “do away with” the historian if he did not admit his guilt.

·  Why do I need to know this? Historian Yury Dmitriev discovered mass graves in Sandormokh forest containing the bodies of those shot during the Stalinist repression. He is charged with sexually assaulting his own stepdaughter. In April 2018, Dmitriev was acquitted of child pornography charges. Two months later, the Karelia high court reversed the decision and reopened the case. It was after this that criminal charges of sexually assaulting a minor were instituting against the historian.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian media regulator, has ordered Nikolay Bondarenko, a member of the Saratov regional Duma, to delete a video he posted showing protests in Ekaterinburg. Local media platform E1.RU received similar orders. The reason for the orders were YouTube comments on the video, which the watchdog saw as inciting civil unrest and extremism.

·  Why does this matter? Residents in Ekaterinburg have been protesting the construction of the St Catherine Church on a town square. Over 100 people have been arrested during the protests. In the end construction was halted and protests ended, but activists continue to face pressure – and, as it turns out, activists are not the only ones under pressure.


How (not) to treat prisoners: vets instead of doctors, withholding medicine as a form of blackmail, and suicide attempts as a way to access treatment – these are the conditions facing prisoners in Russia. Anastasia Medveeva exposes (non)medicine in prisons.

The so-called FSB: although protests against the construction of a new church in Ekaterinburg have fallen quiet, those who took part have not been left in peace. This week, they started receiving anonymous phone calls from people who seem to represent the FSB and criminal investigators. Elena Shukaeva tried to work out what is going on. And here you can see Konstantin Tisshe’s photographs of the protests in Ekaterinburg.

A criminal case, a year late: criminal charges have been brought against a Navalny supporter, who is accused of attending last year’s elections as an observed with falsified papers. He has been interrogated, but this did not clarify the situation.


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Illustration by Alina Kugusheva for OVD-Info

Translated by Judith Fagelson