OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 35: Review of the Year

posted 29 Dec 2017, 05:58 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 29 Dec 2017, 06:25 ]
29 December 2017

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

In two days’ time it will be New Year. If you wish to send New Year greetings to people who are currently in detention, we have drawn up some guidelines to help you write a letter to a prison colony or a pre-trial detention centre.

The past year has not been an easy one for us. We have met new challenges and, unfortunately, the demand for our work has increased. For example, since last year the number of calls to our helpline has increased fourfold.

Thank you very much for your support. With your help in 2017 we have:
  • received 6,431 phone calls, amounting to 282 hours
  • provided at least 1,591 people with legal advice
  • provided lawyers in more than 450 court cases
  • drawn up 25 applications to the European Court of Human Rights
  • written 4,587 news items that were used by other media 6031 times
This year we have started a Telegram-channel and a bot that gives advice on what to do if you have been detained. We have also provided an online system for assistance with drafting court documents and instructions on how to defendoneself in court, with a memo for adolescents who have been detained.

The most important events for us this year have been:
  • The protest “Don’t Call Him Dimon” that took place in 97 Russian cities on 26 March
On that day, according to various estimates, between 36,000 and 88,000 people took part in the protest. In Moscow, 1043 people were detained — more than at the rally on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012. After the disperal of the 26 March protests, nine people in three cities were prosecuted under criminal law. Eight people have already been sentenced, the sentences ranging from a one-year suspended sentence to three years and eight months in a prison colony. One person has already served their term and has been released.
  • The anti-corruption protest, “We Demand Answers”, that took place on 12 June in 154 Russian cities
At the protests unlawful detentions and beating of participants by police officers were recorded. More than 1,769 people ended up in police stations. In 46 police stations, officers committed at least 109 serious violations of the law. In police station No. 33 in St. Petersburg, police officers sprayed tear gas into premises holding detainees. Four participants in the 12 June protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg are under investigation for allegedly using force against police officers. Two people have already been convicted. One was sentenced to a fine of 100,000 roubles, the other to two-and-a-half years in a general-regime prison colony. Two of the defendants were minors at the time of their arrest. In Ufa an activist has been prosecuted under Article 280 of the Criminal Code for public incitement to extremism on the grounds of a speech they made at a rally on 12 June.
  • The Bolotnaya Square case
Dmitry Ishevsky and Ivan Nepomnyashchikh have been released from prison. Dmitry Buchenkov, prosecuted for the actions of another person, absconded while under house arrest and has gone to Europe. Ivan Nepomnyashchikh, who has been put on probation following his release, has travelled to the United States to study. At the present time only Maksim Panfilov remains in detention. On 29 March 2017 Panfilov was committed to a psychiatric hospital for compulsory psychiatric treatment.
  • Prosecution of people in connection with the “revolution” of 5 November 2017
The “revolution” announced by Vyacheslav Maltsev on 5 November has served as grounds, throughout the country, for the detention of both his supporters and activists who had no connection with Maltsev. In total, according to our data, at least 35 people in ten cities have been prosecuted for various criminal offences, including terrorism.

Those questioned as witnesses in these investigations have included people who have openly spoken out against the "revolution,"or were in detention several months before the action in question took place. Maltsev himself is currently abroad.

Thank you

You can help us continue our work now, and in the difficult months of the coming 2018 election campaign, here.

We wish our readers a Happy New Year.