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Week-ending 11 March 2011

posted 13 Mar 2011, 14:46 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Mar 2011, 14:50 ]
United Russia win predicted; violations feared
Kremlin funds civil society groups
Protest over Khimki Forest
Galina Kozhevnikova dead at 36
Moscow court hearings on banning of nationalist group 
Tightening of anti-extremism laws proposed
Law bans minimal prison sentences for some offences 
Open Letter of 55 on Yukos case
Kadyrov reappointed head of Chechnya
Polls indicate United Russia will lead in the more than 3,000 regional elections to be held on 13/3, but its results may slip below 50% percent for the first time in years raising opposition fears of vote-rigging. (The Moscow Times, 11/3)
On 6/3 during celebrations for Maslenitsa (Shrovetide) in Moscow defenders of Khimki Forest organized a flash mob against the building of the new road through the forest, burning effigies of those they hold responsible. (, 7/3)
On 5/3 Galina Kozhevnikova, rights activist, leading researcher on nationalism and co-founder and deputy director of the Sova think tank, died of cancer at 36. (The Moscow Times, 9/3)
Moscow City Court opened hearings on 10/3 into a prosecutors' request to ban the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, whose activities prosecutors suspended last month, but asked for more proof of its wrongdoing. (The Moscow Times, 11/3)
United Russia proposed to tighten anti-extremism laws, already often lambasted by critics as ultra-tough. Civil rights activists say Article 282 of the Penal Code that prohibits ‘incitement of hate, enmity and breaching human dignity’ is more often used to restrict freedom of expression. (The Moscow Times, 9/3)
Justice system
The Letter of the 55, an open letter ‘in defence of the justice system,’ the latest salvo in the information war over the Yukos affair, provoked reactions critical of the signatories, including from ballerina Anastasia Volochkova, who withdrew her signature from an earlier letter. (, 6/3;, 8/3)
Chechnya’s 41-member parliament unanimously approved (5/3) President Medvedev’s nominee Ramzan Kadyrov as head of the region for a new five-year term. (The Moscow Times, 9/3)
Rights in Russia,
13 Mar 2011, 14:49