OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 75: How to survive house arrest, Oleg Sentsov ends his hunger strike, and proposed decriminalisation of Article 282

posted 7 Oct 2018, 05:33 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 7 Oct 2018, 05:49 ]
5 October 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!

We hope that your past week has been a good one, and if not, then we wish you a good rest over the weekend. Let’s begin with some good news!

The Investigative Committee has dropped charges against the organiser of rallies against the waste dump in Volokolamsk. Аrtem Liubimov had been charged with failing to inform the state about his dual nationality. The activist himself denies he has dual nationality.

  • Since the spring of this year, residents of Volokolamsk have been campaigning against the Yadrovo waste dump. Over seven days in March, more than 500 residents of the town, including 418 children, had told doctors they felt unwell because of the gas released from the waste dump.

In Ingushetia, at a rally against changing the borders with Chechnya, law enforcement officers fired into the air. Two participants in the protest were jailed for 12 days, the homes of local activists were searched, and civil servants were threatened with dismissal for taking part in the protests.

  • The protests in Magas and Sunzha began on 25 September after it became known that Isa Khashagulgov, head of Sunzha district, had resigned. Activists took Khashagulgov’s resignation as a protest against the transfer to Chechnya of part of the territory of Ingushetia. On 26 September it became know the heads of Chechnya and Ingushetia had signed an agreement about the exchange of territory between the two republics.

The lawyer acting for Vyacheslav Kriukov, charged in the New Greatness case, has said his client’s health is in a critical state. Kriukov has been on hunger strike for nearly one month. Since the start of his hunger strike, Kriukov has lost 13 kilograms. We have published the diary Kriukov has kept since he went on hunger strike.

“145 days of struggle, 20kgs weight lost, health undermined, but the purpose not achieved.” Oleg Sentsov has decided to end his hunger strike. According to Sentsov, prison officers intended him to force feed him.

A complaint to the police about the almanac “moloko plus” was written by an activist of the pro-Kremlin National Liberation Movement. He had not read a single issue of the journal. It was after this complaint that police broke up the presentation of the almanac in Nizhny Novgorod and submitted the confiscated issues for a formal evaluation. In July the police broke up the presentation of the almanac in Krasnodar. Participants in "moloko plus" have told OVD-Info how these events took place.

In Karelia the historian Sergei Koltyrin has been remanded in custody in connection with an investigation into an alleged case of paedophilia. Кoltyrin and his acquaintance Evgeny Nosov have been charged with sexual abuse of a 12-year-old. Sergei Koltyrin oversaw the excavations at Sandarmokh conducted by the Russian Military and Historical Society. Koltyrin criticized the view of Karelian historians that Sandarmokh could contain the remains of the victims of the Finnish occupation of 1941–1944, insisting that the grounds only contained the remains of executed political prisoners. One of the discoverers of Sandarmokh, the head of the local branch of Memorial, Yury Dmitriev has also been charged with sexual abuse of a minor.

Our publications

Howo survive house arrest: the stories of political prisoners. The mothers of Anna Pavlikova and Mariya Dubovik, as well as former political prisoners Dmitry Bogatov, Ruslan Sokolovsky and Dmitry Buchenkov, tell us  why those under house arrest are more likely to become bored than keep themselves busy when they are not allowed to leave home.

“They rubbed my face with their boots.” On 5 November 2017 Rostov-on-Don residents Yan Sidorov and Vyacheslav Mordasov held a protest beside the monument to the First Cavalry Army (locally known as the “Horse with Balls”) on Ploshchad Sovetov. Mordasov stood with a placard that read, “Government Must Resign”, while Sidorov held a placard reading, “Rostov residents whose homes were burnt down must get their land back.” The two were detained and charged with attempting to take part in, and organise, a riot. The basis of the charges were inflammatory remarks on the Telegram social media network that the defendants did not write. We explain what is problematic about this case.

A picture with a raised middle finger, a pro-Ukrainian stance, and the statue to the Motherland with green paint on its face. Vladimir Putin has proposed amendments to Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code that has been used, among other things, to prosecute people for internet posts. If the proposal is adopted, criminal liability will only arise after a repeat violation. But prosecutions for posts can be conducted using other articles of the Criminal Code. We explain which articles of the Criminal Code can be used in this way and relate the stories of seven people so prosecuted


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