Team 29: If we want there to be a place to go back to…

posted 8 Jul 2019, 11:41 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Jul 2019, 11:42 ]

5 July 2019

Hi, Tanya Torocheshnikova here.  

I’m back home now after a month away and, I have to say, it’s quite odd. Because I’m not used to it, it feels like the flat has got smaller and things aren’t as they should be.  On the threshold, I’m met by this strange, skinny, disgruntled cat.  He has 101 grievances about being abandoned for a whole month, but then, at least he has a place to live.  And I’ve a place to go back to. There’s a lot to be said for that, considering the times we’re living in.

Viktor Kudryavtsev, for example, has been away from home for a year now.  Every circular of mine starts with Kudryavtsev, but it’s just impossible to stop thinking about him. This week, a chink of light appeared: thanks to all of you, in two days, we raised 100,000 roubles to pay for an independent medical examination, which we’ll be handing over to the European Court.  Please spread the word about Kudryavtsev’s case to everyone you know, as the more publicity it gets, the greater the chance that he’ll finally make it home.

Prisoners let out from labour camps aren’t able to return home – there’s simply nowhere for them to go.  After serving their term, former prisoners are handed their documents, what (little) cash they earned whilst in the camp, and an 850-rouble allowance.  The prisoner emerges into a completely unfamiliar world where you need a card for the metro and people pay with their phone in shops.  He doesn’t have anywhere to go, he can’t get a job, and there isn’t anything the state can do to help him.  We described what prisoners experience on their release and why it’s simpler to go back to prison than adapt to life on the outside.

But, that being said, there’s an upside, too. Team 29 lawyers are returning home today from court victorious.  They managed to get Georgiy Shakhet access to the criminal case files relating to his grandfather, Pavel Zabotin.  Zabotin was shot in the 1930s and still has yet to be rehabilitated.  Today, the Supreme Court upheld Shekhet’s complaint.  This ruling could impact on other cases involving people gaining access to documents about their yet to be rehabilitated relatives.

So if, after a run-in with a police officer, you’d like to return home without facing a criminal case for drugs that have been planted on you, then here’s the head of T29, Ivan Pavlov, explaining what to do when the police officer asks you to turn out your pockets.

So then, take care, stay out of trouble, and make it home!

Love from Tanya & T29

Translated by Lindsay Munford