Team 29: The Long Road Home

posted 9 Jun 2019, 01:58 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Jun 2019, 10:30 ]

31 May 2019

Hi, this is Kolya Ovchinnikov. 

I’m writing this letter on the road – like a lot of my reports, texts and posts this last month. During this time I’ve been missing home and thinking about it a lot. But when I have time to be sad that I’m away from home, I think of a man who has not been allowed to go home to his family for a year now.

What’s going on?

I’m talking about Viktor Kudryavtsev. The authorities carried out the decision of the European Court of Human Rights and sent him from the isolation prison to the hospital; and then almost immediately returned him to the isolation ward. Ostensibly the doctors decided that there was no reason to release him under house arrest or treat him in the hospital. Let him stay put in prison, they said.

To reiterate: Kudryavtsev is seventy-five years old, the oldest prisoner in the FSB isolation prison Lefortovo. His diagnosis takes up five pages of small print, there are a lot of question marks over the accusations against him – and he has already been in prison for a year. The words ‘cruelty’ and ‘hell’ are no longer appropriate here. I have nothing printable to say about this situation.

But actually, I do have something. Words of gratitude for the people who helped us raise money for a courier: he delivered, and will again deliver food for Kudryatsev in the isolation prison, as for medical reasons he cannot eat what he is given there. Details in our report here (in Russian).

What to read and watch?

Nastya Andreeva and Katya Arenina have recorded another podcast (Soundcloud, iTunes, ВК) about the confrontation between the state and human beings in contemporary Russia. This time the podcast is about the persecution of anarchists in the late 1990s. I don’t listen to podcasts much, but my colleagues tell fascinating stories. And this story has not been investigated before.

The Ministry of Economic Development wants to ban the transfer of extracts from the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography to third parties. And this is very bad, because it means we could be left without investigative journalism.

And some more about taking a really long way home. The anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars has just passed. In brief, hundreds of thousands of people were sent from Crimea to Central Asia for allegedly cooperating with the Germans. A terrible story of how people were deprived of their homeland for half a century.

I really hope that everyone gets home as soon as possible.

Your Kolya and Team 29

Translated by Anna Bowles