Archive for

THE RUSSIA OF TOMORROW: Human Rights Defense and Resistance Digest / Issue # 2, Aug. 22-28, 2022

Our team is pleased to share the latest issue of our project for our English-language audience. It is intended as a brief summary of key developments in the past week, with links to the original (in most cases, Russian-language) sources for further exploration by the readers. The digest does not aim to be exhaustive, but to provide materials that are sufficiently representative of major issues and trends in these areas. Our digest’s title – with tongue-in-cheek toward ‘Russia Today’, the powerhouse of the Kremlin’s global propaganda – is our tribute to those Russians, of many ethnicities and faiths, who are sacrificing themselves to bring about a peaceful and less oppressive tomorrow for their country and thereby more safety for the rest of the world.


On Aug. 24, on Ukraine’s Independence Day that also marked six months since its latest invasion by the Putin regime, Russians in several cities expressed their support for Ukraine with street actions – in spite of the growing intimidation of antiwar activists, reprisals against them and the Kremlin’s tacit encouragement of its critics’ emigration. Thus:

  • In Moscow, Andrei Sozonyuk was detained and soon released for protesting, next to the Duma, both the war (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12799) and the arrest of Evgeny Roizman, on which you can read more below; Konstantin Zaruba was also detained while holding his poster with the words “For peace, for freedom of speech, for independent media and courts” (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12825); Vsevolod Pavlov, was detained with his poster ‘No to war’ and the colors of the Ukrainian flag (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12826); Anton Rumyantsev was also detained after unfurling a Ukrainian flag and was later sentenced to 10 days in jail (https://bit.ly/3CEYNrV); and Aleksandr Mityurev was detained when he was placing flowers under Soviet-era monuments to Odesa and Kyiv (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12833).
  • In St. Petersburg, Evgenia Alatyreva was detained while holding a banner with the inscription: “It’s been half a year. Tens of thousands of deaths, millions of lives crippled. No to the war!” (https://bit.ly/3cqh8hB); Vitaly Ioffe was detained with his banner ‘Six months. Enough of deaths’ (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12816)
  • In Kirov, Konstantin Mikhailov was detained across from the headquarters of the regional government for displaying a poster ‘Ukraine is a sovereign country. No to the war!’ (https://bit.ly/3Axe9Mf).
  • In Krasnodar, Marat Grigoryan was detained while protesting at the regional government headquarters with a poster saying, ‘No to war’ (https://bit.ly/3wyfrW7)
  • In Ufa, Nafis Khaertdinov was detained for a banner saying “What do you think when reading this on the 24th? #PeacetotheWorld (https://bit.ly/3e61kkN)

On the same day, OVD-Info published a directory of 227 currently known defendants in criminal cases related to their actual or alleged protesting against the war: https://bit.ly/3AWngI5. 61 of them are currently in pre-trial detention; for another 64, no information about their whereabouts was published in the media or otherwise available. The regional breakdown of cases shows that while based on available information much of the protest is centered in the two largest cities (54 known criminal cases in Moscow and 37 in St. Petersburg), it is also widespread across the country: there are known criminal cases in 53 regions, as well as in Crimea and Sebastopol. The directory covers the entire period since the start of the invasion.

Over the past week, reprisals against those who oppose the invasion have continued. At the same time, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of cases whereby decisions made by local judges were strikingly at odds with those sought by the prosecution.

The most high-profile case last week was that of Yevgeny Roizman who was detained on Aug. 24 in Yekaterinburg. Roizman, a man of many talents and a continuous presence in national public life for two decades, is a former member of the Duma and former elected mayor of Yekaterinburg. He is also one of the few politicians in Russia who have opposed the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Since February 2022, he has already been fined three times for ‘disparaging the Russian military’. Roizman has significant following in Yekaterinburg, thanks to the work of his charity foundation and other initiatives. Upon his detention, many people spoke in his support, including, surprisingly, the region’s governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev who is generally loyal to the Kremlin and has clashed with Roizman, yet after his arrest expressed his “hope that Roizman will be treated with fairness and respect”. (https://bit.ly/3pWkZpG). At his court appearance on Aug. 25, he was charged with the ‘spreading false information’ about the army (specifically, for using the term ‘invasion’) and declared himself not guilty. The prosecution sought to impose a house arrest for the pre-trial period, to prohibit Roizman from going to public events and from communicating with anyone except his family and lawyers, as well as an unprecedented requirement not to leave his home for more than one minute per day at 11:59pm. One can only guess whether this proposed measure was intended to be turned down by the court, thereby showing its ‘independence’ from the prosecution. In the end, the restrictions imposed upon Roizman by the judge prohibit him from using any correspondence tools, attending public rallies, and communicating with witnesses in his case. In Roizman’s opinion, the results of the hearing reflected the fact that there is no single decision-making center in the country (https://bit.ly/3Tnv9xi). Alexey Venediktov, the former chief editor of the banned Ekho Moskvy Radio, has commented that Putin’s chief of staff Sergey Kirienko has been trying to avoid triggering massive protests in support of Roizman on the eve of gubernatorial elections in Yekaterinburg, scheduled for Sept. 11 (https://bit.ly/3e7YY4Y). The charges against Roizman carry a penalty of up to 3 years in jail. Meanwhile, several city residents have organized individual street actions in his support; the local youth section of the Yabloko Party applied for a permit to hold such an action; the permit was denied but the protest took place nevertheless (https://bit.ly/3AQB1b9). Actions in support of Roizman have also been held in Moscow (https://bit.ly/3AxXtUS), Novosibirsk, and Krasnoyarsk.

In Moscow, on Aug. 23, city court overturned, on appeal, a lower court verdict in the case against Elena Grigoryak, charged with participating in an antiwar rally. The city court ordered a review of this case due to the absence of the photos of her in the materials of the case even though she was charged on the basis of these photos (https://bit.ly/3PXC6lV).

Also in Moscow, on Aug. 24 city court closed the case against Denis Eliseev, a human rights activist and member of a local election commission, who had been charged with ‘disparaging the army’; the case was reportedly closed due to the statute of limitations, even though the street action for which Eliseev was charged was held on May 8 (https://bit.ly/3PRR0K9).

On the same day, a district court in Moscow extended the pre-trial detention of Aleksandr Strukov until Sept. 26. Strukov has been charged for allegedly ‘inciting hatred against ethnic Russians’ and ‘encouraging terrorist acts against members of the police, FSB, and president Putin’. The basis for the charges is Strukov’s online posts in support of Ukraine and against FSB and Putin. Under these charges, Strukov may be sentenced to as much as 10.5 years in penal colony (https://t.me/deptone/3516).

Also in Moscow, on Aug. 25 and 27, three neighborhood council members belonging to Yabloko and running for re-election on Sept. 11 – Anna Shatunovskaya-Byurno, Nikolay Kasyan, and Tatiana Kasimova – and Nikita Arkin, a Yabloko candidate in these elections, were found guilty of ‘displaying extremist symbols’, a charge that is expected to disqualify them from serving as elected officials. This would bring the total number of Yabloko candidates struck from the ballots to seven out of 150. Kasimova is the acting chair of neighborhood council of the Khamovniki district. The ‘extremist symbols’ are those of the Navalny movement, even though Yabloko has been sharply at odds with Navalny on several programmatic issues and none of the four candidates was a Navalny supporter. Yabloko considers the evidence in these cases to be forged. (https://bit.ly/3wAST7g). Kasyan and Arkin have been sentenced to five days in jail, Shatunovskaya-Byurno and Kasimova have been fined.

Also in Moscow, neighborhood council member Konstantin Jankauskas has been charged with ‘disparaging the army’ for his online post of March 14 with quotation from Pope Francis’ prayer for the end to the war. Court hearing scheduled for Aug. 26 has been postponed. Jankauskas has not been allowed to run for reelection because of his ‘involvement with an extremist organization’, the charge that stemmed from his participation in the 2021 protests against Navalny’s arrest and jail sentence.

Also in Moscow, on Aug. 25, neighborhood council member Sergei Vlasov was fined for his online post of Apr. 14 about a mother and her child killed by Russia’s missile strike on Odessa; and Galina Borisova, 72-year-old actress of a major theater, was fined for attaching an antiwar message to the Russian flag located in Moscow’s Roman Catholic Church of St. Louis – an act of defiance that was reported to the police by her priest (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12863).

In St. Petersburg, on Aug. 23, city court rescinded a fine that was previously imposed by a district court upon Alexey Kirilovsky for having an inscription ‘No to the war’ on his handbag. The court ordered a review of his case due to ‘procedural errors’ (https://bit.ly/3e6EObz).

Meanwhile, in Volensky village of Voronezh region, Nikita Golovizin, a 21-year-old anti-war protester, is still running for a council seat as a Yabloko candidate, on an environmental platform. An interview with him was published on Aug. 22 by RFE/RL Russian Service. Golovizin had displayed anti-Putin and anti-war posters on his balcony and was arrested twice. In his interview, Golovizin says that in his opinion, all Russians, including those who stayed and those who left the country, bear responsibility for this war (https://bit.ly/3PVtNHg).

In Kovrov (Vladimir region), on Aug. 22, a court fined Aleksandr Kurilkin for his posts in VKontakte in which he was encouraging city residents to sign a petition against the use of Russian army in Ukraine. Kurilkin pleaded not guilty (https://bit.ly/3KvMobQ).

On the same day, in Ivanovo, regional court closed the case against Maksim Reztsov who had been charged for sharing an antiwar post in VKontakte. Reztsov is a juvenile, and his mother had been fined earlier for his actions that ‘disparaged the military’ (https://bit.ly/3R183Ls).

In Kirov, on Aug. 23, regional court rescinded, on appeal, the fine that had been imposed by a district court on Mikhail Semyonov. Semyonov had been charged with repeat violation of the procedure of organizing public action for his call upon city residents to join the antiwar rally on Apr. 2. The district court fined him for 75,000 Rbl (almost $1,250). In his appeal, Semyonov complained that his detention by police exceeded the maximum allowed time (48 hours), which violated his rights, and this argument was taken into account by the regional court in its final ruling (https://t.me/FreedomKirov/2600).

In Kazan, Tatarstan’s supreme court denied Zulfiya Sitdikova’s appeal of the decision by lower-level court to fine her 40,000 Rbl for wearing a jacket with ‘No war’ slogan while attending a musical concert (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12787).

In Syktyvkar (Republic of Komi), on Aug. 24, Vladimir Renzhin also lost his appeal of the fine that had been imposed on him by city court for ‘disparaging the army’ (https://bit.ly/3TnQMgZ).

In Krasnoe village (Nenets autonomous district), Konstantin Ledkov was fined on Aug. 23 for the second time for ‘disparaging the military’ for making a ‘No war’ graffiti (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12753).

In Zheleznovodsk (Stavropol region) Svetlana Zaitseva was fined 30,000 Rbl on Aug. 24 for two online posts critical of the invasion (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12841).  

In Sochi, on Aug. 24, physician Yevgeny Zolotov was sentenced to a record fine of 3 mln. Rbl. (nearly $50,000) for his Facebook post about the number of casualties in Ukraine; he pleaded guilty to “spreading false information about the army” (https://bit.ly/3Ks03As).

In Krasnodar, on Aug. 26, a court fined, for the second time in a row, Vitaly Nemtsev, coordinator of election monitoring group, for ‘disparaging the Russian army’. On his Facebook page, Nemtsev had called upon the parents and relatives of Russian servicemen in Ukraine and of those who had been killed there to speak out against the war. Nemtsev pleaded not guilty and has been raising funds, via his Telegram channel, to pay his 70K Rbl in fines for his political activities (https://bit.ly/3APNKL7).

In Samara, on Aug. 25 a regional court closed the case against Alexey Dydochkin (who had been fined by Togliatti city court for disparaging the army). The court ruled that the police failed to prove the charges against him (https://bit.ly/3QXBjCG).

In Tomsk, on Aug. 24, a court fined Leonid Rybakov for a favorable online comment about Ukrainian military (https://t.me/radiosvoboda/26995); he also remains a defendant in a criminal case where he is charged with ‘extremism’, with a potential jail term of up to 5 years.

In Chita, on Aug. 25, Aleksandr Perevalov was fined for his silent, one-person antiwar street action of Aug. 14 (https://t.me/ovdinfolive/12863).

On Aug. 23, the International Bar Association issued a statement condemning the pre-trial detention of Dmitry Talantov, attorney and president of the Bar of the Republic of Udmurtia, who was detained for his critique of the invasion (https://bit.ly/3AtSYLb).  Talantov has been in detention since June, and it was recently extended to Sept. 23. Over 500 Russian lawyers have already signed a petition for his release (https://bit.ly/3Rm1fI5).

Meanwhile, cultural venues have been canceling events and performances of artists critical of the invasion. Public demands to cancel them have been issued by the newly formed group of hardline pro-war Duma deputies, named ‘working group on investigating anti-Russian activities in culture’ and known under the abbreviation GRAD. On Aug. 25, in response to GRAD’s inquiry, Bolshoi Theater director Vladimir Urin announced the exclusion of Aleksandr Molochnikov, an opera director critical of the invasion, from the staging on two operas in which Molochnikov was previously involved (https://tinyurl.com/2p8eknfj). St. Petersburg-based rock band Splean had three of its performances canceled – in Moscow, Svetlagorsk, and Volgograd; this is widely attributed to its frontman Aleksandr Vasilyev’s remarks at a festival in Voronezh on Aug. 21 where he rather indirectly criticized the war, without mentioning it, and praised some of the bands that had to leave Russia because of their anti-war stances (https://bit.ly/3ATSakd). Splean performance in Voronezh was subsequently removed from the online broadcast of the festival. And in Moscow, Russian Institute of Theater Arts (GITIS) did not extend their contract with Natalia Pivovarova, chair of its theater studies department, after 48 years of her employment there – according to Pivovarova, because of her antiwar position (https://bit.ly/3PVWILd).


On Aug. 24, Igor Kalyapin, the founder and former chairman of Russia’s Committee Against Torture, and a member of the Human Rights and Civil Society Council under Putin, was assaulted and beaten in his home in the Nizhny Novgorod region. His assailant, who turned out to be a police officer, was detained, while Kalyapin had to be hospitalized with broken nose and rib. As of today, it is not yet clear whether the assault was politically motivated. Earlier this year, Kalyapin left his post with the committee due to anonymous threats against him and his mother that, according to him, were a message from the authorities. The Committee itself was put by the Kremlin on the list of ‘foreign agents’ and had to re-organize itself under a different name (‘The Anti-Torture Team’). Kalyapin gained prominence with his investigations of kidnappings and torture in Chechnya after the Second Chechen War and publically branded as ‘terrorist’ by Ramzan Kadyrov.

Last week, it also became known that Salman Tepsurkayev, a young Chechen opponent of Kadyrov’s rule and a Telegram blogger who had previously been treated as a victim of ‘disappearance’ and a prisoner of the Kadyrov regime, was savagely murdered by Kadyrov’s security services in Chechnya in 2020. Tepsurkaev was previous recognized by the Memorial Human Rights Center as a political prisoner. The news of his murder was shared by Olga Sadovskaya, a lawyer of the Anti-Torture Team, and was confirmed (https://bit.ly/3RdlJmJ) by ‘Adat’, a group that describes itself as “a people’s movement against the genocide of the Chechen people, for its reunification, and de-occupation of Chechnya”.

On Aug. 24, Alexey Navalny announced that he had been placed in isolation cell for the second time in a month, this time for not putting his hands behind his back on time (https://t.me/navalny/3276).


On Aug. 25, in Saransk (Republic of Mordovia), a district court sentenced six Jehovah’s Witnesses to various jail terms. 34-year-old Vladimir Atryakhin was sentenced to six years in penal colony on charges of ‘organizing the activities of an extremist organization’’; 58-year-old Georgy Nikulin and his 55-year-old wife Natalia Nikulina got 4-year-2-months terms for alleged ‘recruitment into an extremist organization’; 46-year-old Denis Antonov, 44-year-old Aleksandr Korolev, and 32-year-old Aleksandr Shevchuk – two-year terms for mere ‘participation’. Official media report that during the searches of the defendants’ homes in 2019 police found identification of a ‘counselor of the public committee on prosecuting acts of genocide against the Russian people’ and passports of a clandestine self-governing community, ‘the Rus Republic’ (https://bit.ly/3Rgtsjf). If these reports are true, they provide additional insights into the states of mind and modes of self-organizing of underground, meta-political networks of everyday resistance against the ruling regime.

Thank you for reading. Our team appreciates your attention to our work. We invite you to join us on our journey by donating to our parent organization, Russian-speaking Community Council, Inc. You can do this via PayPal here – https://bit.ly/3CDgI29 – or by mail (P.O. Box 360, New York NY 10033). We are also always interested in your feedback, including your suggestions on the materials to include in our next week’s issue. See you again soon!

Project Director Dmitri Daniel Glinski and the team

Ukrainian and Russian Diasporas Antiwar Roundtable forum:


This event – part of our Roundtable series – will take place via Zoom on Thursday, August 25, from 10am to 12pm Eastern Standard Time. It will be dedicated to the 10th anniversary of ARA – by now the oldest active organization of Russia’s political exiles in the US and their friends and allies from Ukraine and other countries. ARA works to organize our community and raise public awareness on issues of democracy and human rights in the post-Soviet space, with emphasis on Russia. This roundtable will be entirely in English. To register and receive the link to attend, please email to amrusrights@rccmb.org, indicating your name, city, country, and affiliation (if any).

EVENT PROGRAM (in formation):

Welcoming remarks: Tatiana Yankelevich Bonner and Dmitri Glinski

– Pavel Litvinov – Member, Board of Directors, The Andrei Sakharov Foundation; co-organizer of “For Your Freedom and Ours” protest in the Red Square on Aug. 25, 1968 against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia; co-founder of ARA

– Boris Bondarev – former Counsellor to Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva who resigned in protest against the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine

– Liubov Stasiv – Co-Chair of ARA’s Ukrainian and Russian Diasporas Antiwar Roundtable; former Member of Ukraine’s Parliament and of the Presidential Administration of President Viktor Yushchenko

– Dmitri Glinski – co-founder and Managing Director of ARA, former Member of Russia’s Constitutional Consultative Assembly under President Boris Yeltsin (presentation of ARA work)

– Laura Thornton – Director and Senior Fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund; Member of the Summit for Democracy’s Working Group on Countering Authoritarianism

– Antti Pentikäinen – Director, Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation in Arlington, Virginia; Research Professor, George Mason University Carter School; former Special Envoy for Finland’s Prime Minister on the Refugee Crisis and former Advisor to the U.N. Assistant Secretary-General on Prevention of Genocide 

– Robert Van Voren – Executive Director of the Andrei Sakharov Research Center for Democratic Development of Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania) where he is also Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies; Chief Executive of Human Rights in Mental Health, Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry (FGIP)

– Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern – Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of History, Department of History, Northwestern University; Associate of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard

– Ilya Nuzov – Director, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Desk, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

– Tatiana Yankelevich Bonner – Co-Chair of ARA Board of Directors, former Director of the Sakharov Program at Harvard University.

Our weekly digest of antiwar resistance and human rights developments in Russia

THE RUSSIA OF TOMORROW: Human Rights Defense and Resistance Digest

A project of the American Russian-speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights (ARA)

ISSUE # 1, AUG. 15-21, 2022

Our team is pleased to share the latest issue of our new project for our English-language audience: a digest of antiwar resistance and defense of human rights in Putin’s Russia. It follows upon the pilot issue that was sent out last week. The digest is intended as a brief summary of key developments in the past week, with links to the original (in most cases, Russian-language) sources for further exploration by the readers. The digest does not aim to be exhaustive, but to provide materials that are sufficiently representative of major issues and trends. The title ‘The Russia of Tomorrow’ – with tongue-in-cheek toward ‘Russia Today’, the powerhouse of the Kremlin’s global propaganda – is really about the people who are sacrificing themselves to bring about a peaceful and less oppressive tomorrow for their country. As with all other projects in our portfolio over the past 10 years, we always appreciate your feedback. In time, we plan to make it more interactive and thereby involve our readers in its production.


Discontent in the military

According to a report on Aug. 15 by Important Stories (iStories), a bilingual website published in Riga, Latvia by a team of Russian émigré journalists led by Roman Anin, Russia’s 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade is one of the hotbeds of discontent with the Russian army conduct in Ukraine and (in fewer instances) with the invasion as such. Daniil Frolkin, a soldier with this brigade, who reportedly admitted to the journalist that he had participated in the killings of civilians, claimed that from the start of the invasion many of his colleagues were looking for the ways to quit service but their requests were denied. According to iStories, circa 700 contract servicemen i.e., about 80% of the brigade are trying to quit, but even some of those whose contacts have already expired are being kept in Ukraine, albeit with increased pay rates. Frolkin is quoted to say, “it would be better if this war had never happened”. (https://bit.ly/3dLPpZa) In its follow up reports on Aug. 18 and 19, iStories published several anonymous interviews with servicemen from the brigade about the obstacles they have faced in trying to quit, including detentions and beatings. Maksim Grebenyuk, an attorney specializing in the defense of Russian soldiers refusing to serve in Ukraine, wrote on Aug. 19 that in the past month he had 19 clients who had experienced violence, illegal detentions, and other forms of retaliation for such a refusal. (https://t.me/military_ombudsmen/349). A group of lawyers defending conscientious objectors has published detailed instructions on how contract soldiers and conscripts can avoid serving in Ukraine without violating the letter of the law (https://t.me/peaceplea/255?single).

In another high-profile case, Pavel Filatyev, a former serviceman of the Crimea-based 56th paratrooper regiment who earlier this month published a scorching 140-page account of his participation in the invasion (https://bit.ly/3R2bjG2) on investigative website Gulagu.net, has reportedly left Russia to avoid prosecution. Gulagu.net is run out of Biarritz, France, by another recent emigre, Vladimir Osechkin. In the past, Osechkin was reportedly an ardent supporter of the occupation of Crimea and pro-Russian secessionists in Donbass. He claims to have organized Filatyev’s escape from Russia (https://bit.ly/3K9huWe). On Aug. 17, The Guardian published a detailed report about him and his escape from Russia, noting that this is the first known case of a soldier fleeing from Russia because of his opposition to the war. While the article notes that not every detail of his story has been verified, the newspaper has been shown evidence of his paratrooper status and of his written complaint about the war directly to the Kremlin (https://bit.ly/3dEVWVn).

Civilian opposition to the war

OVD-Info, Russia’s leading human rights monitoring group, has calculated that currently in Russia there are over 200 defendants in criminal cases arising from their antiwar protests. According to Russian human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov, as of Aug. 16 there were 85 active criminal cases against Russians charged with ‘spreading false information’ about Russia’s military. Under the new article of Russia’s criminal code, this is a felony punishable with up to 15 years in jail. 27 of those charged are currently in pre-trial detention and another 24 have left Russia (https://t.me/pchikov/4994). At least in one instance, in Penza, these charges were brought against an inmate in a local jail, an unnamed 30-year-old man who was allegedly denouncing the war in the jail’s headquarters (https://bit.ly/3pAfux6). In Moscow, on Aug. 15, a district court extended the pre-trial detention of Dmitry Ivanov, the publisher of a Telegram channel about discontent at the Moscow State University, until February 2023 (https://bit.ly/3QScqbi). Ivanov has been in detention since June and is among those charged with ‘spreading fakes’ about the army; his Telegram channel has been inactive since his arrest. Also in Moscow, on Aug. 20, another district court authorized the detention of Dmitry Talantov, a lawyer and president of the Bar of the Republic of Udmurtiya, till Sept. 23 (https://t.me/deptone/3510); he is being charged with spreading fakes via his Facebook post about the war crimes committed by Russian military in Bucha, Irpyn and Mariupol. The same term of pre-trial detention (till Sept. 23) was set for Viktoria Petrova, whose appeal was denied on Aug. 18 by a Moscow district court (https://bit.ly/3wgxAYw). In Nizhny Novgorod, on Aug. 16, police detained Alexey Onoshkin; the charges against him are based on his online post about the Russian army’s destruction of the Mariupol theater and other activities (https://bit.ly/3CnINue). Onoshkin is a longtime opposition activist with a track record of reprisals against him: he was previously detained at an antiwar protest on March 2, was sentenced to a fine of 40,000 Rbl (circa $670) for ‘discrediting the army’ and subjected to a compulsory psychiatric examination. Prior to that, he was detained several times at least since 2012 for participation in anti-Putin protest and in 2018 for his public reading from George Orwell’s 1984. (https://bit.ly/3QHlEaj) The court set his pre-trial detention for a term ending Oct. 10. In Omsk, Yevgeny Kruglov, an archaeologist who has also been charged with ‘spreading false information’ about the military, was placed on Aug. 16 in a psychiatric ward after the court ordered his ‘comprehensive psychiatric evaluation’ (https://bit.ly/3c7SJNV).

Some of the defendants in such criminal cases have already left Russia. This includes the elected city council member in Novosibirsk Helga Pirogova. On Aug. 16, her home and her family members’ homes were searched by police (https://bit.ly/3AfACNO). Pirogova has been placed on a ‘wanted’ list that is supposedly enforceable across the Commonwealth of Independent States; yet she is reportedly in Georgia which is not a CIS member.

Another, less widely used article of the criminal code is used to charge antiwar activists with ‘financing extremist activities’. This is a felony punishable with 3 to 8 years in jail. In Moscow, on Aug. 17, a court extended the pre-trial detention of Mikhail Kavun, a geologist who allegedly donated to the ‘Right-Hand Sector’, a Ukraine-based organization that was labeled extremist in Russia. The charges are based on a testimony by an anonymous witness who claimed that Kavun has shared the ideas of Ukrainian nationalism, has frequently traveled to Ukraine and has been critical of Putin’s policies. Kavun pleaded not guilty. In his own words, he is being imprisoned for his love of Ukraine and his aid to its civilian population, via a Ukrainian fund that provides support to children (https://t.me/deptone/3496).

In St. Petersburg, Alexander Shishlov, the head of the 2-member caucus of the antiwar Yabloko Party in city legislature (and formerly Human Rights Commissioner of St. Petersburg City), is being charged with an equivalent of a misdemeanor, under a less severe article that prohibits ‘actions intended to discredit Russia’s armed forces’. Across Russia, there are currently several thousand people charged with this ‘violation’; but Shishlov is the first such defendant who is also a regional-level elected official (St. Petersburg, along with Moscow City, is a constitutional ‘federation unit’, on a par with Russia’s regions and republics). On Aug. 19, the district court disqualified the expert evaluation of Shishlov’s statements that was submitted as evidence by the prosecution. The next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 2.

In the town of Novorzhev (Pskov Region), Sofia Pugacheva, Novorzhev District Head – also elected official from the Yabloko Party – was found guilty of ‘discrediting armed forces’. Namely, she ordered to remove the letters V and Z – the semi-official symbols of Russia’s ‘war party’ – from the local cultural and sports center, replacing them with Russia’s official flag. Pugacheva was sentenced to a maximum fine of 50,000 Rbl (circa $840); she is planning to appeal (https://bit.ly/3QWm1Ob).

On Aug. 15 in Moscow the same charge led to the sentencing of Ilya Azar, a Novaya gazeta reporter and a neighborhood council member, to a 50,000 Rbl fine; this was the second time that he was fined for his online comments since the start of the war (https://t.me/rbc_news/56034). On the same day in Sochi, Daniil Hogman, a sports trainer and Yabloko activist, was fined 30,000 Rbl for an online antiwar comment that was published prior to the start of the invasion. And in Moscow on Aug. 17 another Yabloko activist Maria Volokh was sentenced to a total of 60,000 Rbl fine, including the maximum 50,000 for a poster with asterisks replacing the prohibited wording (‘no to war’) and 10,000 was violating the rules of a street protest (https://bit.ly/3dAZ6te). Volokh was recently disqualified from running for a neighborhood council due to her residence permit in Austria which expired in 2019.

In Chita, on Aug. 18 a court sentenced Vitaly Goryachikh to a 30,000 Rbl (c. $500) fine for ‘discrediting the army’ – which he had achieved by holding a poster with an inscription ‘Fear No Evil’. In Russian, ‘evil’ translates as ‘zlo’; on his poster, Goryachikh changed the Russian version of ‘z’ at the beginning of ‘evil’ to the Latin Z, which is one of the unofficial symbols of the pro-Putin ‘war party’. The judge ruled that under present circumstances capital Latin Z means the Russian army. Goryachikh is planning to appeal (https://bit.ly/3AC9N7Q).

And in Arkhangelsk on Aug. 20, the same charge led to a 30,000 Rbl fine imposed on Dmitry Chistyakov, a veteran of Russia’s emergency management ministry (https://bit.ly/3KcRV6F). Earlier, he was forced to resign from his job with the weather forecasting agency; he also quit his other, teaching job at a local university – in his own words, because of his refusal to ‘lie’ to his students about the war in Ukraine (https://bit.ly/3pxNUAo).

However, the most high-profile sentencing this week took place in Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan. Here, Russia’s most popular rock singer Yury Shevchuk was sentenced, also for ‘discrediting the army’, to the maximum fine – of 50,000 Rbl. He did not attend the hearing; instead, his attorney read out Shevchuk’s written note. In it, Shevchuk stated that he had always been “against any wars in any country ever” and that he was also “opposed to the war in the Donbas … and to the current special operation in Ukraine”. It is widely believed that the real reason for the case against Shevchuk was his recent statement that “our motherland is not the president’s ass that has to be kissed all the time”. The online buzz over this sentencing is converging around the idea that the Ufa court de facto confirmed Russia’s present condition of being indistinguishable fromPutin’s ass (https://bit.ly/3QGjSq6). His lawyer plans to appeal the sentence.

About 30 other musicians popular with Russian youth are currently on the official list of ‘undesirables’ due to their antiwar statements. While some of them have left Russia, others are trying to continue performing around the country, but their performances are being canceled. As a result, on Aug. 17, the Anacondaz band announced the postponement of all its scheduled performances for the rest of 2022; the Agora group of human rights lawyers led by Pavel Chikov will litigate Anacondaz’ lawsuits against the authorities for their actions that led to the cancellation of the band’s performances in Yekaterinburg and in Perm (https://bit.ly/3ClTP37). Contracts with singers now reportedly include the requirement to not speak out on political topics and not to display any symbols (https://t.me/pchikov/4996). Meanwhile, on Aug. 19, at a rock festival in Voronezh, when a band named Times Square started performing a song by Shevchuk’s band DDT that had been kept off this festival due to its antiwar stance, the organizers interrupted the streaming of the festival to VKontakte, the Russian-language social media network (https://bit.ly/3ACZiBf). The next day, at the same festival, the front man of the Spleen band, performed a song that he described as dedicated to all those artists who had been compelled to leave Russia. In response, the organizers also cut his performance out of the festival streaming (https://bit.ly/3cekynF).

Meanwhile, an anonymous website https://stop24.day/ has published a call for a one-day nationwide antiwar ‘disobedience’ on Aug. 24 – the day of Ukraine’s independence which will mark 6 months since the start of the invasion.

Antiwar terrorism

As has been widely reported, on Aug. 20, a car that was being driven by Darya Platonova (Dugina), the daughter of Russia’s extreme rightwing and nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin, exploded and burned in the middle of the road in the countryside a dozen miles west from Moscow. Dugina died on the spot. It has been widely viewed as an assassination attempt targeting Dugin who was supposed to be in the car but was not. While some of the most hawkish pro-Kremlin commentators have blamed Ukraine for this murder, more mainstream as well as antiwar observers speculate that this was an act of terrorism by radicalized antiwar activist or activists. Meanwhile, Ilya Ponomarev, a former member of Russia’s Duma from a pro-Putin Just Russia party who was the only one to vote against the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and is currently a Kyiv-based political exile, announced that the explosion was the job of his “comrades from the National Republican Army” and called upon the Russians to join its ranks (https://t.me/Pul_Nomer_3/50027. The self-proclaimed NRA published its own statement on several Telegram channels in which it justifies terror against “warmongers, plunderers, and oppressors,” and calls Putin a war criminal.


On Aug. 15, Alexey Navalny wrote on social media that he had been placed in solitary confinement for 3 days for failing to completely button his jacket. He was also warned that his stay there could be extended if he does not ‘change his attitude’. (https://bit.ly/3wjB9x4).

Meanwhile, in Moscow on Aug. 18 a court denied the appeal by Maria Chugunova seeking to overturn her sentence of 8 months in penal colony and compensations to government transportation agencies for a total of 3,348,000 Rbl (over $56,000). Chugunova was found guilty of blocking traffic while protesting the imprisonment of Navalny in February of 2021 (https://bit.ly/3QYhjiL).

On Aug. 16 in Yekaterinburg a regional court upheld the prior decision of city court to deny consent to the organizers of a rally in support of political prisoners. The justification of the denial was that at the previous rally of Feb. 6 several participants brought posters in support of Navalny while another one came with a poster saying, ‘I am for peace’. This was in spite of the fact that as of Feb. 6 neither affiliation with Navalny nor antiwar protest had yet been criminalized. The application for the permit was submitted by local activists Igor Filippov and Andrei Deba; Filippov coordinates the council of left-wing organizations of Yekaterinburg (https://bit.ly/3QLbYvB).

On Aug. 17, Dr. Boris Kagarlitsky, professor, journalist, book author, former political prisoner, and former member of Moscow City Council, was slapped with a 10,000 Rbl fine for failing to mark his online publications as produced by a ‘foreign agent’ (https://t.me/pchikov/4998). Since May of this year, Kagarlitsky has been on the ministry of justice’ ever-expanding list of ‘foreign agent mass media’ (even though he does not own or manage any mass media). On Aug. 19, political scientist Ekaterina Shulman was fined for the same ‘misdeed’; the amount of the fine was also the same (https://t.me/pchikov/4999).

On Sept. 11, Russia will hold regional and municipal ‘elections’ in 6 regions, 11 cities, and Moscow’s neighborhood (‘municipal district’) councils. According to human rights defender Pavel Chikov, during the election campaign at least 85 candidates, including 53 in Moscow, have been charged by the authorities with either a misdemeanor or a felony. 64 candidates, including 35 incumbents in 12 regions, have been found guilty of displaying Navalny-related ‘extremist symbols’; 47 of them were disqualified from running (https://bit.ly/3R0UNWB). Last week, Daniil Nesmelov, a neighborhood council candidate on the Yabloko slate, reported that he had been fired from his teaching job after his interview with RFE/RL Russian Service where he discussed his antiwar views (https://bit.ly/3PKzYxr).


On Aug. 15, Russia’s Main Radio Frequencies Center, an affiliate of its communications and IT oversight agency (RosKomNadzor), announced its decision to award a 57,7 mln. Rbl (c. $970,000) contract to a private company, Execution RDC, for producing an AI system capable of detecting prohibited content online. The system shall be analyzing visual data and texts, including chats and messengers, as well as ‘scenes, combinations of objects, faces, static and dynamic movements’, in real time. The list of ‘prohibited content’ that the future system should be able to analyze includes ‘materials exhibiting features of extremism and terrorism’; ‘explicit disrespect for society, state, and official symbols’; information about the ways to commit suicide and the production of narcotics; the ‘propaganda of non-traditional sex relations’; and ‘demonstration of smoking”. The timeframe of contract execution is set to expire in December 2022; the Kremlin-loyal Kommersant paper considers it to be unrealistic for a task of this magnitude. The awardee has no prior experience of contracting with the government (https://bit.ly/3T766i0).

On the same day in Elista, the Republic of Kalmykia, a local court fined a family of three – Elvira Kulmanova and her children Galina and Sanal Kulmanov – for a total of 40,000 Rbl for their protesting on July 4 on the city’s main square against the absence of the freedom of speech in Russia. The protest was allegedly held without informing the authorities. Court hearing was held in the absence of the defendants. The verdict has been appealed (https://bit.ly/3ABMnPX).

On the same day, Moscow arbitration court launched bankruptcy proceedings against RFE/RL LLC, a company that was set up to represent RFE/RL (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) in Russia. The proceedings are caused by the refusal of RFE/RL to mark its publications as a product of a ‘foreign agent’ and to pay the nearly 1 billion Rbl ($16 million) in fines for the violations of this demand – which, in turn, led to the blocking of its bank accounts in Russia making it unable to pay local taxes. Since March of this year, RFE/RL bureau in Moscow is shut down and its websites are blocked. By its own record, around 27 of its authors have been branded as ‘foreign agents’. On Aug. 17, the homes of RFE/RL authors in Kazan, including sociologist Iskander Yasaveyev and Marina Yudkevich, were searched by police (https://bit.ly/3Ki7gmD). On the same day, in Yekaterinburg, Yelena Shukaeva, an author of RFE/RL and many other publications, was sentenced to 14 days in jail for ‘displaying extremist symbols in public’, namely, for sharing Navalny’s investigative videos from his YouTube channel. After her appeal was denied, Shukaeva went on a hunger strike in protest against this sentence (https://bit.ly/3QFfDuX). Shukaeva is known for her participation in a documentary on Stalin-era persecutions and her online diaries about these persecutions’ role in breaking down human bonds within society.

On Aug. 16, RosKomNadzor blocked access to website https://antijob.net that enables employees to evaluate their employers and publishes an ‘employers’ blacklist’. In response to a complaint by one of the businesses, the court ordered to block access to a relevant entry on the site, but the state agency blocked the site in its entirety due to its use of https protocols. As noted by human rights organizations, the website has taken an antiwar stance and declared its support for those employees who are being nudged to speak in favor of the invasion or have been fired because of their opinions. The site is still accessible in Russia for VPN users (https://bit.ly/3K9GbSu).

On the same day, Telegram and Twitch were fined by a Moscow court for not deleting ‘illegal’ content related to the invasion of Ukraine. Telegram has been fined twice on the same day, for a total of 11 million Rbl (circa $178,000). Twitch was fined for 2 million Rbl, which is roughly equal to $32,400 (https://bit.ly/3T6rMuw).

On Aug. 18, Russian-language social media network VKontakte blocked access to the group named ‘Freedom of speech in Russia’. It was administered by Aleksandr Yesin in Samara who had been detained in the past while demonstrating for the release of Navalny and other political prisoners. The group was blocked by order of the general prosecutor’s office (https://bit.ly/3pyPBgO).

On the same day in Yekaterinburg, a regional court denied the appeal of Vechernie vedomosti, a local publication that had been sentenced to a 200,000 Rbl fine for ‘discrediting the army’ in its Telegram channel postings (https://t.me/smirusnews/14831).



On Aug. 15, RIA-Novosti, Russia’s official news channel, reported about the searches held over the weekend in the homes of alleged members of New Generation, a Pentecostalist church based mainly in Latvia and Ukraine. In 2021, Russia’s general prosecutor office labeled New Generation an ‘undesirable entity’. RIA-Novosti claims that the New Generation has provided support for Ukraine’s Azov Regiment. Among those subjected to searches were pastors Aleksandr Grishin and Olga Matyusheva in Kemerovo, as well as New Generation followers in Moscow, Krasnodar, Sochi, Chelyabinsk, and Novosibirsk (https://bit.ly/3Ad1wGb).

Jehovah’ Witnesses

On Aug. 16, alternative media reported the searches and arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 10 locations in Novocherkassk. Three of JW’s followers – 66-year-old Lyubov Galitsyna, 55-year-old Garegin Khachaturyan and 35-year-old Gevorg Yeritsyan – were placed in pre-trial detention for two months (https://bit.ly/3cf23zh). On Aug. 18, Russia’s investigation committee announced the completion of investigation in the case of an unnamed JW follower in Apatity, a town in the Murmansk region (https://bit.ly/3QYdnhX). And on Aug. 19, Chelyabinsk regional court upheld the verdict against another unnamed JW follower who had been sentenced to a suspended 6-year jail term. Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned in Russia in 2017 as ‘extremist’; in June 2022, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the ban on JWs and their persecution in Russia contravened the European Convention on Human Rights, but by that time Russia had ceased to be a party to the Convention.


In Usinsk, a town in the Republic of Komi and a center of the oil business, two activists from a nearby village, Nadezhda Panchenko and Galina Chupurova, were detained after protesting the environmental damage caused by oil extraction. The police released them after confiscating their posters. The protest was in response to the opening of a high-level governmental and corporate forum in Usinsk on the exploration of Arctic which was convened without the participation of local residents (https://bit.ly/3dKZR30).


On Aug. 19 in Moscow, a local court postponed by one month the hearing on the liquidation of the Russian office of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI or, in Hebrew, Sokhnut). JAFI’s mission includes assistance with the repatriation of Jews to Israel, the safety of Jews in other countries, strengthening Jewish identity and connecting Jews to Israel and one another. Russia’s ministry of justice has pursued the liquidation of JAFI’s office. The ministry’s complaints against it have not been fully clarified to the public; according to Kommersant and other Russian media, they stem from JAFI’s collection of personal data on Russian Jews. The postponement was at JAFI’s request for more time to respond to the charges against it. JAFI’s other request – for a reconciliation procedure to settle the charges was rejected by the justice ministry. According to JAFI’s own data, since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, over 20,000 of Russia’s about 165,000 Jews have left the country; this is more than the number of Jewish emigres for the entirety of last year (https://bit.ly/3dLIoaS).

On the same day, Meduza, the Latvia-based portal, published an interview with Diana Isakova, the 25-year-old daughter of Eduard Isakov, member of the upper house of Russia’s legislature from the oil-rich Khanty-Mansi – Yugra autonomous district. Isakova, who had been involved in antiwar protests since April, told the interviewer that her father kicked her out of home because of her views and that she left Russia (https://bit.ly/3wlvgzn). Her father responded with a Telegram post in which he labeled her a ‘traitor’ who ‘sold out to foreign agent media’.

This is all for the past week. Thank you for reading and see you again soon.

Project Director – Dr. Dmitri Daniel Glinski

THE RUSSIA OF TOMORROW: Human Rights Defense and Resistance Digest

A project of the American Russian-speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights (ARA)

Dear friends,

Our ARA team is welcoming you to our new project for our English-language audience: a digest of antiwar resistance and defense of human rights in Putin’s Russia. Unlike most other publications on these topics, it will aim to provide you with a short summary of basic facts supplemented with links to the original (in most cases, Russian-language) sources. It will also aim to include as many relevant events for a given period as possible – regardless of the extent of their coverage in Western media. We do not pretend to provide exhaustive information and will exercise our editorial judgment as to what we are able to include. We call this digest ‘The Russia of Tomorrow’ because it is all about the people who are sacrificing themselves to bring about a peaceful, non-imperial and less oppressive tomorrow for their country and thereby for Ukraine and the rest of the world. This project is still in experimental stage, and we will much appreciate your feedback and support for its development. We are producing it on a pro bono basis, in our spare time from paid work – for those who, like ourselves, have not much time to read lengthy analytical papers. On this note, let us start our pilot issue #0!



  • Ilya Yashin, democratic politician and an elected councilman of the Krasnoselsky District of Moscow, will remain in pre-trial detention until at least Sept. 12: on August 8, a Moscow City court rejected his appeal of the decision to put him in detention. Yashin has been charged with distributing ‘false information’ about the military. Reporters were not allowed into the courtroom: the prosecutor warned that their presence “would be used by Yashin to popularize his antiwar ideas”. During the hearing, Yashin, participating by video, was showing a ‘No to war’ poster from his cage; in the image later published by the court, this poster was whitened out. Also this week, Yashin published a video arguing that an anti-Putin coup is becoming increasingly likely. After the court ruling, Interviews with Yashin were published by French Le Monde and German Deutsche Welle. For more detail, including how to correspond with him directly via Russia’s FSIN – Federal Penitentiary system, visit his Facebook) and Twitter accounts.
  • On Aug. 9,Vladimir Kara-Murza’s pre-trial detention was extended until Oct. 12. The hearing in a Moscow district court was also closed to the public under the pretext that case materials contained “state secret” and “family secret”. Kara-Murza has been charged on two counts – first, with spreading ‘false information’ about the military (in connection with his remarks to the Arizona House of Representatives in March of this year), with a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail; and, second, with having a relationship with an ‘undesirable’ foreign organization (specifically, with the US-based Free Russia Foundation), punishable with a jail term of up to 4 years. On Aug. 12, the court also rejected his appeal of his official designation as a ‘foreign agent’ acting on behalf of Ukraine. A group of U.S. Senators led by Majority Whip Dick Durbin has asked State Secretary Blinken to impose Magnitsky Law sanctions on the officials responsible for Kara-Murza’s persecution. Leon Aron’s profile of Kara-Murza, titled ‘One man’s struggle to save Russia’s honor,’ was published this week by The Hill. On his Twitter account, you can find out how to send a letter to Kara-Murza via FSIN.
  • On Aug. 11,Marina Ovsyannikova, former government TV station producer turned antiwar rebel, was placed under house arrest by Moscow district court pending criminal investigation. She is also prohibited from using her phone and Internet. Ovsyannikova was charged with spreading ‘false information’ about Russian armed forces, a ‘crime’ under Russia’s new wartime law which carries up to 10 years in jail. Forensic evidence is her solo protest in front of the Kremlin last month, where she carried a poster saying  ‘Putin is a killer, his soldiers are fascists,’ along with the photos of children killed in Ukraine. This and last week, Ovsyannikova was also fined by courts for her political statements, for a total of almost $1,500. Find out more on her Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram channels.
  • On Aug. 12, Sergey Tsukasov, elected municipal councillor of Ostankino district, was placed under house arrest for 15 days for allegedly displaying symbols of the ‘Smart Voting’ campaign associated with Alexey Navalny. Association with Navalny has been criminalized in Russia as ‘involvement with an extremist organization’. Last month, Tsukasov was probited from running in the upcoming municipal elections on the same grounds. This week, the authorities also removed three other incumbents and candidates – Pavel Yarilin, Elena Rusakova, and Denis Shenderovich – from the ballot for their actual or alleged association with ‘Smart Voting’. And a Sberbank affiliate ordered its employee Yuliya Katsenko to resign after she refused to abandon her campaign for a district council seat.
  • Also on Aug. 12, Russia’s communication agency blocked the account of OVD-Info, the leading police watchdog and human rights monitoring group, in Russia’s major social network VK (VKontakte). On the same day, a district court in the Moscow region rejected OVD-Info’s appeal of the court ruling that blocked its website in December 2021. OVD-Info’s new website (set up after its initial website was blocked) and other social media accounts remain accessible. According to Russia’s attorney general Igor Krasnov, since February 24, 2022, about 138,000 online resources have been blocked by the authorities.

Domodedovo, Moscow Region

  • On Aug. 11, local city court increased the jail term of Alexander Shestun, former head of the Serpukhov District of the Moscow Region, from 15 to 15.5 years. Shestun was initially sentenced on charges of fraudulent operations with municipal land; however, human rights NGOs widely view his prosecution as motivated by his critique of the authorities. New charges against Shestun alleged that he had threatened and insulted a judge that was presiding at his trial in another case. Earlier this year, the Moscow Helsinki Group awarded Shestun with a prize ‘For courage in the defense of human rights’.

St. Petersburg

  • On Aug. 8, Dmitry Kurmoyarov (known by his priestly name Ioann Kurmoyarov), a St.Petersburg-based former priest of a dissident branch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, was delivered the final version of his indictment for spreading ‘false information’ about the Russian military. The charges are apparently based on his sermons that he posted online. Yet their exact nature has been classified, and his attorney was required to sign a compulsory non-disclosure form.  Kurmoyarov has been in detention since June 8, and it has recently been extended to Sept. 8.
  • ‘Vesna’, a semi-underground antiwar network active in several Russian cities, has launched a petition for the release of Vsevolod Korolyov, a teacher, journalist, poet and documentary filmmaker. He has been in pre-trial detention since July 12. The charges against him stem from his social media posts about the war crimes committed by Russia’s military in Bucha and Borodyanka. This ‘crime’ carries a penalty of up to 10 years in jail. The information on how to contact Korolyov in his detention, electronically and by snail mail, is available here. Meanwhile, on Aug. 10 Russia’s communication agency blocked Vesna’s website – reportedly, two hours after serving a written warning that the organization had 24 hours to remove an unspecified ‘unlawful’ information from the site.



Abakan (Republic of Khakassia)

  • Mikhail Afanasyev, chief editor of Novy Fokus, an online publication in Khakassia, got his pre-trial detention extended on Aug. 8 for another two months by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Khakassia. Afanasyev has been locked up since April 13 on charges of ‘false reporting’ based on his publication about 11 Russian servicemen’ collective refusal to be dispatched to Ukraine. The court also rejected his appeal of the seizure of his equipment and files which, as stated in the appeal, was a violation of the law providing for the confidentiality of a reporter’s sources of information. You can find out how to contact Afanasyev via FSIN here.


  • On Aug. 9, the mayor’s office denied the application of three local activists – Valery Teterin, a human rights advocate; Grigory Gribenko of the liberal Yabloko Party; and Pavel Kharitonenko of the ‘New Russia – A Free Country’ group – to hold a rally calling upon the authorities to decriminalize criticism of the military. As stated in their application, the organizers wanted to draw attention to the fact that the recently passed laws criminalizing ‘false information’ and critique of the Army contradicted constitutional guarantees of the freedom of speech. The denial of permit was officially based on COVID-related restrictions, even though large-scale public events have been taking place in Irkutsk all the time. The three activists have appealed this denial.


  • Vadim Khairullin, an activist in Kaliningrad and a native of Uzbekistan, was sentenced on Aug. 8 by a local judge to one year in penal colony for ‘repeat violation of the rules for conducting public actions,’ under the so-called ‘Ildar Dadin’ article of Russia’s criminal code (first used against Ildar Dadin in 2015). The charges stem from Khairullin’s alleged participation in two protests against the imprisonment of Alexey Navalny and one in support of protesters in Belarus. The sentence was harsher than requested by prosecution (which was two years of a suspended jail term). Khairullin’s attorney is planning to appeal.


  • On Aug. 10, Armen Aramyan, co-founder and editor of student magazine DOXA, announced on his Telegram channel that he and the entire editorial board of DOXA left Russia. In April, after about a year on trial, four DOXA editors were found guilty by Russian court on a bogus charge of involving minors into political protesting against the imprisonment of Alexey Navalny. As the authorities seized the defendants’ passports for foreign travel, they had to go to great lengths to be able to leave to the West via Armenia using their domestic Russian passports.


  • On Aug. 12, Meduza, a bilingual Russian-English news site based in Riga, Latvia, published its analysis of video footage made inside Russia’s polling stations in the course of the Duma elections of 2021 that it recently obtained. The records include over 1 million hours of coverage from more than 9,000 precincts in 19 regions. Out of this material, Meduza’s independent monitors were able to analyze footage from over 3,000 polling stations, using artificial intelligence. After these elections, official reports by the Central Election Commission claimed that a total of 3.2 million people cast their votes in person at these stations; however, according to Meduza’s analysis of videorecordings, the number of actual visitors to these polling stations was 1.2 million less than officially claimed. By extrapolating these numbers, Meduza claims that the discrepancy between the official and the actual number of votes cast in person across the country in 2022 may exceed 17 million. For comparison, the total number of votes received by Putin’s United Russia party, according to the official data, was 28 million.   

Thank you for reading. You are most welcome to support our work by donating to our parent organization, Russian-speaking Community Council, Inc. – a tax-exempt nonprofit organization incorporated in New York. We will be happy to hear from you and wish you a peaceful week ahead.

The ARA team

%d bloggers like this: