OVD-Info Weekly Update No. 71: Navalny supporters arrested, remanded in custody; prosecution for a protest that didn’t take place; and again, torture

posted 8 Sep 2018, 06:02 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Sep 2018, 06:06 ]
7 September 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 news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here

Greetings to our readers!

If you plan to take a walk on Sunday, it might be useful for you to have a look at these guidelines.

Protests against the pension reforms are planned for 9 September 2018. Aleksei Navalny has called on people to join the protests. As traditional, the law enforcement agencies are working hard in the run up to the protests:

  • In Chelyabinsk a criminal case has been opened concerning incitement to riot on the basis of posts on VKontakte about the protests, while in Kemerovo a staff member of Navalny’s office is being prosecuted under administrative law for publishing a swastika.

  • Coordinators of Navalny’s office have been jailed in Tomsk, Krasnodar, Nizhny Novgorod and Krasnoyarsk. Navalny supporters have been detained in Omsk, Belgorod, Tomsk, and Armavir. The police in Krasnodar region have been especially busy putting pressure not only on activists, but also on journalists.

  • In Ekaterinburg the person who submitted a notification to the authorities about the intention to hold a rally on 9 September was forced to officially withdraw the notification. In Novosibirsk police conducted a search of Navalny’s local headquarters, while in Surgut police called on the home of a 15-year-old high school student because of a comment he posted on the “Navalny-Surgut” group in VKontakte.

  • In Yakutsk, meanwhile, a judge unexpectedly dismissed the charges against the organizer of a rally.

Arman Sagynbaev, a defendant in the Network case, has claimed he has been  tortured. ”I was struck on the head and given electric shocks until I began to answer questions in the way they wanted me to,” Sagynbaev said in a statement to his lawyer.

  • Eleven young people in Penza and St. Petersburg have been charged with taking part in the organisation of a terrorist group named “Network.” Allegedly, they were preparing for disturbances in the country and “were engaged in illegal acquisition of forest survival skills and provision of emergency medical aid.” Several defendants have stated that they were tortured with electric shocks by FSB officers.

In Omsk a criminal case has been brought against a radical feminist for incitement of hatred towards men. The case is based on 12 posts made by the activist on VKontakte. One of the posts concerns a debate within the feminist movement, the others are about men. The Sova Centre research group earlier pointed out that, despite their radical statements, there is no tradition in the feminist movement of using actual violence.

In Krasnoyarsk a teacher of physical education has been charged with attacking a police officer during a protest against Putin's inauguration. Earlier, Nataliya Podolyak said she had touched one of the police officers with her leg as he pulled a detainee to the police bus. She stated that the person being detained had become unwell and lost consciousness. In order to direct the attention of the police to what was happening, Podolyak touched the police officer with her leg, but only making contact with his trousers. The woman asserts that she was at the scene of the protest by accident. She had gone there to collect St. George ribbons that the United Russia party were to distribute at the same place.

Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike has now entered its 116th day. You can write him a letter here.


In court a police officer stated that he felt “pain and that his 22nd tooth was missing.” We have gathered everything known about the case of St Petersburg resident Mikhail Tsakunov. He was detained during a protest on 5 May prior to Putin's inauguration. Mikhail had with him a rubber duck that he had taken from some workers. From the video of his arrest it can be seen that the police officer threw the young person to the ground. The law enforcement officer asserts that during his detention Mikhail turned round and struck him with his fist in the face, and the police officer “by inertia fell on him.” If convicted, Mikhail faces a sentence of up to ten years in a prison colony.

“We can't allow that a market seller, a housewife or other people of the kind who don’t have any relation to foreign intelligence agencies should be convicted of treason.” What should you know about prosecutions for treason? Ivan Pavlov, a lawyer and director of Team-29, explains.

“As one of my colleagues said: ‘Soon a conviction under Article 20.2 will be treated as evidence and an attribute of dignity and patriotism. Generation 20.2’.” A volunteer who works at Navalny’s head office, Sergei Komandirov, a student, has been expelled from a branch of the Presidential Academy of the National Economy and State Service where he was in the final year of his studies. The formal reason given was that he had not paid for his studies in time, but Sergei believes that the real reason for his expulsion was his political activism. We have published a statement by him.

Thank you

Each day we publish news and assist people who have been arrested.

We are in great need of your help now, because everything we do is done with your support.

You can sign up to make a monthly donation to OVD-Info. This will make it possible for us to continue to produce this weekly mailing.