OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 133: A conservationist investigated for deforestation, the Moscow case, and five years for reading the Bible

posted 16 Dec 2019, 04:11 by Translation Service   [ updated 17 Dec 2019, 08:52 by Subscription Service ]
14 December 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!

Verdicts in the Moscow case are still being given and people are still being arrested.

A participant in the 27th July protests has been sentenced to three years in prison. The courts have concluded that Eduard Malyshevsky broke the window on a prisoner transport vehicle, and that the glass shards landed on a police officer, hurting him. Malyshevsky maintained that he was trying to call out from the vehicle to police officers who had been beating people, and that he intended no harm to anyone.

Why does this matter? Over 30 people have been criminally prosecuted in connection with peaceful protests in support of candidates banned from standing in the Moscow city elections. 15 of them have already received prison sentences of up to four years.

The Moscow case again: a new defendant. Mikhail Kvasov, from Voronezh, has been made to sign an agreement not to leave the Voronezh region because of comments he posted on Instagram relating to the verdict against Konstantin Kotov. The investigation maintains that Kvasov threatened judge Stanislav Minin. According to Kvasov’s lawyer, his comments did not mention Minin.

Why does this matter? We’re already in December, but new cases in connection with the summer’s protests keep springing up. Four other people are also accused of threatening the judges who issued verdicts in the Moscow case.

A forest conservationist has been investigated for deforestation. Residents from Likino-Dulyovo in the Moscow region have been protesting deforestation due to the construction of a landfill site. One of those protecting the forest was called in for interrogation and asked whether he had any heavy machinery which could be used to cut down trees. Now the environmental activist fears he may face criminal charges.

Why does this matter? Local residents are being persecuted for attempting to disrupt the deforestation. In summer, when protesters blocked off the construction workers’ route, the police beat them with truncheons and threw dirt at them. One of the activists was also called in for interrogation in connection with a case of arson against car of the the head of the Likino-Dulyovo district.

Five years in prison for their beliefs. Jehovah’s Witnesses are still being sent to prison. Vladimir Alushkin from Penza was sentenced to six years imprisonment. Another five people, including his wife, have received two-year suspended sentences.

Why does this matter? In 2017, the Jehovah’s Witnesses were classed as an extremist organisation. Since then, hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been prosecuted simply for meeting and reading the bible.


The search for extremism in T-shirt labels. In 2018, the security forces broke up a presentation by the journalism project 'moloko plus' of its anthology. The anthology’s editor, Pasha Nikulin, recounts how the investigation looked for signs of extremism in T-shirts with no writing on them.

6 months in the life of Sergei Fomin. Some of the people who protested against the barring of candidates from standing in the Moscow city elections were charged with participating in civil disorder. In September, all those who faced such charges were released – all except for Sergei Fomin. He was only released in December. Iva Tsoi explains the case that developed out of an edited video clip.

Putin on political repression. The Russian President met with the Council for Human Rights and answered, inter alia, questions about political persecution. We fact-checked some of his claims.

New Year is fast approaching, and many of those involved in political cases will not be spending it at home. You can send them greetings cards; this is an important reminder that they have our support and it provides some warmth and joy where there would otherwise be none. Click here to find out how you can get in touch with political prisoners (it’s really easy).

Finally, a reminder to fill in our short survey on this weekly bulletin. We want to make it even better and more useful.


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 Anastasiya Vikulova for OVD-Info

Translated by Judith Fagelson