OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 59: Journalist goes missing, acquittal of historian Dmitriev quashed, “He’s Not Our Tsar” protesters prosecuted

posted 15 Jun 2018, 07:06 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Jun 2018, 14:00 ]
15 June 2018

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 information on freedom of assembly, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit hereThese English translations of OVD-Info's weekly bulletins are published by openDemocracy and are reposted here by kind permission.

We believe publicising a prosecution can, on occasion, help bring it to an end or achieve a more just outcome. We can see this in the case of the Moscow State University student, with which we begin this week’s Bulletin.

Prosecutors refuse to prosecute Moscow student for vandalism. Dmitry Petelin, a first year student at the philology faculty of Moscow State University, has been merely fined 1,500 roubles for an administrative violation for writing the phrase “No to the fan-zone” on a cardboard sign set up outside the university buildings.

Several prosecutions are underway against Navalny supporters following the “He’s Not Our Tsar” protests.  Natalia Podolyak, a participant in a Krasnoyarsk protest, has been charged with using force against a police officer. According to the investigation, Podolyak kicked a police officer on the shin. In Chelyabinsk, the homes of Navalny campaign volunteers Yury Vashurin and Iskander Tagaev have been searched in connection with an investigation into alleged hooliganism committed by a group of people. Both individuals are witnesses in the case. The current suspect is Boris Zolotarevsky. coordinator of the local Navalny campaign office.

  • According to OVD-Info, 1,600 participants and chance passers-by were arrested during the “He’s Not Our Tsar” protests in 27 cities. Apart from the prosecutions in Krasnoyarsk and Chelyabinsk, charges have also been brought against individuals in St. Petersburg.

The Supreme Court of Karelia has ruled that the case against Yury Dmitriev, historian and head of the Karelian branch of the Memorial Society, should be sent for a retrial. The court quashed both Dmitriev’s acquittal on charges of child pornography and his conviction for possession of a weapon.

The former head of a Saratov NGO supporting people with diabetes has been fined 50,000 roubles under the law on ‘foreign agents.’ A court ruled that the organisation is a ‘foreign agent’ NGO and fined the NGO 300,000 roubles on account of its ‘political activity.’

After a performance of a play by Teatr.doc about the human rights defender Oyub Titiev, currently being prosecuted in Chechnya, the police ordered the evacuation of Memorial’s Moscow offices and residential apartments next door. The police stated they had received information that there was a bomb in the building. At first, the police did not know in which building the play was being performed and evacuated Teatr.doc’s own premises. As a result of this delay, the actors managed to perform the whole play before the evacuation.

The hunger strike of film director Oleg Sentsov has entered its 33rd day. Sentsov has been transferred to a medical unit at the prison colony where he is held. The Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsperson has not been allowed to see him.

  • Stanislav Klykh, a Ukrainian sentenced to 20 years in a strict-regime prison colony, has also gone on hunger strike. He was convicted of murdering Russian military service personnel during the First Chechen War. Human rights defenders assert that Klykh was brutally tortured during the investigation and subsequently his behaviour radically changed: at various times he appeared to be either apathetic or excited, and his speech was incoherent. It was not physically possible for him to have taken part in the fighting in Grozny in 1994—1995 since, as witnesses and documents from the institution of higher education where he was a student confirm. From the end of December he was undergoing intensive preparation for exams which he subsequently sat in early January.

  • The documentary, The Trial, about the trial of Oleg Sentsov and Aleksandr Kolchenko can be viewed on our website.

  • “We are going hungry, although each new day of a hunger strike, that sometimes last for several months, irreversibly deprives us of the little strength that we still have and what remains of our energy. Hunger is our natural state.” We publish a letter from Soviet political prisoners held in Perm camp No. 35 and recall the longest hunger strikes by Soviet dissidents.

Leonid Makhinya, journalist and leader of the Volgograd branch of The Other Russia, has gone missing. He has not been seen for a week. Members of his party are concerned he may have been abducted by law enforcement officers.

Support our work

You can sign up to make regular monthly donations to OVD-Info of any size - 50, 100 or 300 roubles — or make a one-off donation. We use this money to pay for lawyers to help those detained at demonstrations, and create advice on how to defend yourself in court and at the police station. And we use this money to run our telephone hotline used to report arrests, searches and interrogations. With our help, those detained have a greater chance of avoiding criminal prosecution or winning their case in court. After all, when you know your rights, it is harder for others to violate them, especially if you have the asisstance of an experienced lawyer. You can support us here.