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THE RUSSIA OF TOMORROW: Antiwar Resistance & Human Rights Defense Digest / Issue # 9, Oct. 9-16, 2022

Table of contents and summary of the week

I. OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND THE WAR ZONE: Asieh Chapukh fined for Facebook posts; pre-trial detention extended for Bohdan Ziza charged with ‘terrorism’ and imam Raif Fevziev charged with participation in Hizb ut-Tahrir; criminal charges filed against an unnamed woman for ‘anti-Russian statements’ and against Olga Sayenko for ‘disparaging the army’


A. Public protests and reprisals – new cases: Moscow city government staffer Oleg Sidorenko emails antiwar letters to over 1,600 city workers from abroad; Azat Agzamov fined for anti-Putin and antiwar protest on Putin’s 70th birthday; Nikolay Titarenko detained for alleged support of an underground sabotage group inside the army; Irina Tsybanyova under house arrest for alleged desecration of the grave of Vladimir Putin’s parents; Alexey Semyonov under house arrest for ‘repeat disparagement’ of the army; Ruslan Zinatullin and Zufar Garipov get their online profiles blocked; a defendant persuades a judge that she did not mean ‘war’ when writing ‘No to the w*r’ on the pavement

B. Public protests and reprisals – ongoing cases: antiwar protester Lev Lerman sentenced to 4 years in penal colony allegedly for storing 10 gun cartridges; prosecution seeks 7 years of imprisonment for Altan Ochirov and 6 years for Vladimir Zavyalov, both for ‘spreading false reports’ about the army; Vladimir Rumyantsev is indicted for ‘knowingly spreading false reports’ about the army; Oleg Belousov slapped with additional charges of ‘inciting extremism’; Anatoly Nogovitsyn charged with criminal ‘disparagement of the army’ is ordered a psychiatric examination with potential compulsory treatment; pre-trial restrictions imposed on Ilya Myaskovsky and Natalia Rezontova; pre-trial detention extended for Vladimir Kara-Murza (on the same day as he gets a Havel Prize from PACE), Vsevolod Korolyov, and Richard Rouz; court returns the case of Olga Smirnova, charged with ‘spreading false news’ about the army, back to the prosecutor due to procedural violations;

C. Burnings of conscription facilities and other government buildings: Igor Paskar indicted for alleged arson in an FSB building; Nikolay Baranov detained for allegedly setting a local court and conscription office on fire; Maksim Asriyan detained for allegedly planning to burn a conscription office

III. MOBILIZATION AND THE COURTS: Maksim Moiseyev is still under criminal charges for not showing up for mobilization even though per Russia’s supreme court it is not punishable

IV. POLITICAL REPRISALS DIRECTLY UNRELATED TO THE WAR: Anastasia Ponkina gets a suspended jail term for actions during protests against Navalny’s arrest; former policeman Magomed Dolgiev sentenced to a suspended jail term for disobeying orders to disperse protesters in 2019, Tatyana Kozlova fined nearly $5,000 for taking part in an anti-Putin protest in downtown Moscow on his 70th birthday; Maria Gordeyko and Renat Yakubov fined and Maria Gordeyko jailed for petitioning for student stipend raise; Vyacheclav Kryukov released after over 4.5 years behind the bars on a fabricated case

V. PERSECUTION OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: Lyudmila Shchekoldina’s sentence of 4 years and 1 month in penal colony upheld; Boris Yagovitov and Ildar Urazbakhtin sentenced to suspended jail terms; Boris Andreev, Natalia Sharapova, and Anatoly Li placed in pre-trial detention; Oleg and Agnessa Postnikov get their suspended terms voided and case remanded

VI. EXODUS FROM RUSSIA AND TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION: activist Mikhail Iosilevich, journalist Badma Byurchiev, and restaurant owner Nikita Botberg announce they have left Russia due to persecution; Lyubov Sobol, Prokhor Protasov, and Albert Mansurov subjected to reprisals in absentia


Oct. 10 – In Rostov-on-Don, Southern district military court turned down the request of imam Raif Fevziev from the Simferopol area of Crimea, to release him to a house arrest and instead extended his pre-trial detention until Jan. 23 of next year. Fevziev, a father of 3 minor children, is charged with alleged participation in the international Islamic party Hizb ut-Tahrir which is banned in Russia, Germany, and some other countries for various reasons (in Russia, it was branded as terrorist by the supreme court in 2003). Charges against him are based on a single audio recording dating back to 2015. (Source: Crimean Solidarity)

Oct. 13 – In Yevpatoria (Crimea, Ukraine), 27-year-old artist Bohdan Ziza got his pre-trial detention extended until at least Jan. 16 of next year. He is charged with an ‘act of terrorism’ for allegedly splashing blue and yellow paint onto the Kremlin-controlled local administration headquarters in the night of May 16. Official media published a videorecording of Ziza admitting his guilt and recanting. He has also been included on the Kremlin list of ‘terrorists and extremists. (Source: RFE/RL)

Oct. 14 – In Coreiz (Crimea, Ukraine), police conducted a search in the home of Asan and Asieh Chapukh. Asan Chapukh is currently under house arrest after 15 months in detention on charges of extortion that are widely viewed as politically motivated. After the search, his wife Asieh was taken to Yalta where city court fined her for a total of 61,000 rubles (circa $975) under three administrative charges (an equivalent of a misdemeanor): ‘disparaging Russia’s armed forces’; ‘petty hooliganism on the Internet; and ‘propaganda or display of Nazi symbols’. All charges are based on the Facebook posts that she allegedly made under an alias. (Source: Crimean Solidarity) In one of them, Russia was called a fascist state. During court hearings, she did not deny that she made these posts. (Source: Graty)

– On the same day in Kerch (Crimea, Ukraine), local FSB publicized the detention of an unnamed 30-year-old woman, charging her with online chat comments allegedly inciting violence against ethnic Russians. She apparently posted them in the wake of the Crimean Bridge explosion. Charges against her carry a jail term of up to 5 years. Possible additional charges against her for ‘disparaging the army’ were pending at the time of the publication. (Source: KrymInform) On Oct. 11 charges of ‘disparaging the army’ were filed in Kerch city court against Olga Sayenko, but it is not yet known whether this is the same or a different case. (Source: OVD-Info)


A. Public protesting and reprisals – new cases

Oct. 10 – On or around that date, between 3am and 7am local time, Oleg Sidorenko, a staff photographer of a Moscow city municipal agency (committee on architecture) sent out an antiwar email individually to 1,621 employees of all city agencies. In his mass mailing, he stated that “the war initiated by Russia’s authorities is a crime against humanity and against the world. Don’t be afraid to go out and speak up if you have something to say.” In his own words, he had the time to progress from letter A to letter S of the city directory, after which his access to internal email system was restricted. In his own words, he had been intimidated at work with threats of firing in case he does not attend a pro-war rally or vote. Sidorenko is currently abroad and has no plans to return. (Source: ‘Ostorozhno Moskva’ [Beware, Moscow] and ‘ASTRA’ Telegram channels)

              –  On the same day in Meleuz (Republic of Bashkortostan), a district court fined Azat Agzamov 40,000 RUB (c. $640) for ‘disparaging the army’. These charges resulted from Agzamov’s street action on Oct. 7, Putin’s 70th birthday, when he held a solo street action holding a banner that said: “Putin, this is your last jubilee. Gorge yourself, beast.” According to the court order, while doing it he was also “encouraging others to impede the use of Russia’s Armed Forces” in Ukraine. The ruling posted on the court’s website states that Agzamov “fully admitted his guilt” and “clarified that he was opposed to military actions”. (Source: Meleuz district court website) This was Agzamov’s second sentencing after his action – on the day of it he was sentenced to 5 days of administrative (i.e. non-criminal) arrest, for allegedly disobeying police when they ordered him to remove the banner. His violent detention by police was covered in our previous issue.

Oct. 12 – Also in St. Petersburg, a district court placed 60-year-old Irina Tsybanyova under house arrest on suspicion of ‘desecrating a grave out of political or ideological hatred’. According to her son, on Oct. 6 she went to the cemetery where Vladimir Putin’s parents are buried and left a note there; on Oct. 10, she was visited by police. As documented in the case, the note asks for “the parents of this maniac to take him to where they are – he has caused so much pain and calamities, the entire world is praying for his death. … You raised a monster and a murderer.” Tsibanyova did not deny her authorship of the note. Prosecution sought to place her in pre-trial detention, but it is noteworthy that the court did not honor this request and let her go home. (Source: Mediazona)

              – On the same day in Tyumen, a court dismissed the charges of ‘disparaging the army’ that were filed against Alisa (last name unknown). On Sept. 24, she used a piece of chalk to write ‘No to the w*r’ on the street pavement; she was then arrested and immediately slapped with the charges carrying a fine of between 30 and 50 thousand RUB. However, in Russian, war (voina) is a 5-letter word, and the defendant asserted that she really meant another word – roach (vobla). Not only did the local judge close her case, but he also ordered the police to return the box of chalks that they had seized from her. This ruling immediately became the source of many jokes, memes, and cartoons in the Russian media. (Source: ‘Tyumen – bogaty region’ [Tyumen is a rich region] Telegram channel)

Oct. 13 – In Amur region, 25-year-old Nikolay Titarenko was detained and charged with ‘public incitement of activities directed against the security of the state’; this brand-new article of the criminal code carries a penalty of up to 6 years in jail. Titarenko is said to have posted on Telegram a video statement on behalf of the representatives of a self-described “underground movement” within the army consisting of Russians, Ukrainians, and Crimean Tatars; in this video, they declare that they let themselves be mobilized so as “to destroy the army from the inside” by sabotaging the war and passing information to the Ukrainians. This video reportedly originated on the Telegram channel of a Ukrainian public figure and has been circulating online since early October. (Sources: ‘ASTRA’ Telegram channel, OVD-Info)

            – On the same day in Izhma village (Republic of Komi), Alexey Semyonov, a local environmental activist, was subjected to a search and charged with ‘repeat disparagement’ of the army immediately upon his release from a 10-day arrest for allegedly disobeying police (which, in turn, immediately followed a 5-day arrest for nonpayment of a fine). On Oct. 14, district court ordered him under house arrest until Dec. 6. Charges against him stem from his online posts in VKontakte (Source: Izhma district court website); Semyonov was already fined for them in May, for 30,000 RUB. (Source: OVD-Info)

B. Public protesting and reprisals – ongoing cases

Oct. 10 – In Moscow, a district court extended Vladimir Kara-Murza’s pre-trial detention until Dec. 12. The hearing was closed to the public and the media, at the insistence of the investigator from the prosecution’s office. Kara-Murza has been in detention since April, initially for allegedly ‘disobeying the police’; he was later slapped with three criminal charges – first, for ‘spreading false information’ against the military in his remarks to the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona; second, for taking part in the activities of an ‘undesirable organization’ (The Free Russia Foundation); and most recently, for ‘high treason’, based on his remarks in Lisbon, Oslo, and Washington, where he spoke about political persecutions, election fraud, and censorship in Russia. (Source: Mediazona) On the same day in Strasbourg, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe awarded Kara-Murza with its annual Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. The prize honors “outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights in Europe and beyond”. Its prior recipients include this year’s Nobel Prize winner Ales Bialiatski (2013), Ludmilla Alexeeva (2015), Oyub Titiev (2018), and Maria Kalesnikava (2021). (Source: Council of Europe) The prize was accepted on Kara-Murza’s behalf by his wife Yevgeniya; she read out his statement in which he dedicated his win to the thousands of Russians who spoke against the war and stated that “a peaceful, democratic and Putin-free Russia” was going to regain its seat in the Council of Europe. And on Oct. 12 in Moscow, the Yabloko Party held a public screening of Kara-Murza’s documentary about Georgy Edelshteyn, Russian Orthodox priest and a long-time participant of the Soviet-era dissident movement who was also among a handful of the Russian clergy to speak against the war. The screening was briefly interrupted by a group of invaders in masks and hoodies who screamed “Kara-Murza is a traitor” but were escorted out of the building without further incidents. (Source: Yabloko)

– On the same day, in St. Petersburg, the detention of Vsevolod Korolyov, charged with ‘spreading false reports’ about the army via his posts in VKontakte, was extended for a record-breaking term of six months, until April 2, 2023. This decision was made in spite of 220 affidavits submitted in his support. Korolyov is a poet and a documentary filmmaker; before his arrest he was shooting documentaries about other antiwar protesters, Aleksandra Skochilenko and Maria Ponomarenko. (Source: SOTA Project) Korolyov may be facing a 5–10-year jail term.

– Also in St. Petersburg, a second criminal case, for ‘inciting extremism on the internet’, was filed against Oleg Belousov, who is already in detention since June for ‘spreading false reports’ about the Russian army. These initial charges against him were based on his comments in VKontakte; new charges reportedly also stem from his online postings but have not been finalized yet. (Source: OVD-Info)

– Also in St. Petersburg, a district court sided with the defense of Maria Smirnova, charged with ‘spreading false reports’ about the army, and ordered to return the case against her to the prosecution due to “serious procedural violations”. Smirnova has been in detention since May; the charges stem from her seven posts in VKontakte. Smirnova is an activist of a group called ‘Peaceful Resistance – Democratic Petersburg’. In 2021, she was charged with ‘justifying terrorism’ due to her street actions in support of the Crimean Tatars. A year later, prosecution found those charges to have been filed unlawfully and closed her case.

– On the same day in Nizhny Novgorod, Lev Lerman, 66-years-old retired pensioner, was sentenced to four years in a penal settlement – allegedly for possession of ten gun cartridges found in his basement upon a second search; local media reports that in reality, according to his friends and acquaintances, he was punished for speaking out against the invasion from its first days, encouraging people to protest against it. During the first search, police confiscated all his information devices. Lerman has been in detention since March 4. Lerman’s supporters were prevented by the authorities from attending his sentencing. On the same day, also in Nizhny, a district court imposed pre-trial restrictions on Ilya Myaskovsky, teacher, photographer, and blogger who had been covering the developments in Lerman’s case and was criminally charged in early October with ‘repeat disparagement’ of the army (as discussed in our previous issue). Myaskovsky is now prohibited from using the internet and regular mail and attending unsanctioned street actions during his pre-trial period. Natalia Rezontova, another local journalist, was placed under the same restrictions and in addition was banned from using cell phone. (Source: Reporter-NN)

–  On the same day in Yakutsk (Republic of Yakutia-Sakha), an investigator from the interior ministry ordered a forensic psychiatric examination of Anatoly Nogovitsyn, with the stated intent to determine whether Nogovitsyn requires compulsory treatment; a criminal case has been recently filed against him on charges of disparaging the army, based on his online video post that was critical of the invasion and the mobilization. Nogovitsyn is the head of the local branch of Yabloko, Russia’s only legal antiwar party. In April he was fined 30,000 RUB on ‘administrative’ charges of ‘disparaging the army’. (Source: Yabloko) On the same day, in Kazan, Ruslan Zinatullin, the head of Yabloko branch in Tatarstan, got his profile in VKontakte blocked by demand of Russia’s prosecutor general; it is now only accessible in Russia via VPN. (Source: ‘7×7 – Horizontal Russia’ Telegram channel) On the next day, the prosecutor general office also got the VKontakte profile of another Yabloko activist in Tatarstan, Zufar Garipov, blocked. (Source: Yabloko) Four members of Yabloko are defendants in criminal cases on ‘spreading false reports’ or on ‘disparaging the army’; 30 Yabloko activists have been sentenced to fines, for a total of over 2 million RUB.

Oct. 11 – In Vologda, Vladimir Rumyantsev, 61-year-old local resident, was issued final indictment on charges of ‘knowingly spreading false reports’ on the Russian military by posting online about civilian casualties in Ukraine. The prosecutors also charged him with allegedly running an underground antiwar radio station from his apartment. Rumyantsev pleaded not guilty. Before being placed in detention in July, he worked as a stoker. (Source: OVD-Info)

Oct. 12 – In Elista (Republic of Kalmykia), local prosecutor sought 7 years of imprisonment for Altan Ochirov, owner of ‘Volny ulus’ Telegram channel, who is charged with ‘knowingly spreading false reports’ about the murders of civilians by the Russian military in Ukraine. Achirov pleaded not guilty, asserting that all his posts were based on reliable sources. (Source: ‘Setevye svobody’ [Net Freedoms] Telegram channel).

– On the same day in Smolensk, prosecution asked the court to sentence Vladimir Zavyalov, a local businessman, to 6 years of imprisonment, for ‘spreading false reports’ about the army while being ‘motivated by political hatred’. Zavyalov allegedly replaced price tags with antiwar stickers at a supermarket (the same charge as against Aleksandra Skochilenko in St. Petersburg), spreading the information about the mobile cremation chambers that were brought by the Russian military to Ukraine and about the number of refugees from Ukraine which he openly blamed on Russia’s aggression. Zavyalov has reportedly pleaded partially guilty, claiming that he was acting upon somebody else’s request. (Source: SOTA Project)

– On the same day in Kirov, district court turned down Richard Rouz’ request to release him from pre-trial detention to a house arrest; instead, his detention was extended to Nov. 29 (prosecution sought to have it extended until Dec. 14). Rouz has been charged with ‘extremism’; after the start of the invasion, he and his wife Maria Rouz made online posts, including photos and videos of the Bucha massacre, that prosecution deemed to be “offensive and slanderous” with regard to the Russian military. (Source: RFE/RL)

Overall, according to a report published by Russia’s supreme court, in the first half of 2022, Russian lower courts dealt with a total of 16,151 charges of ‘violation of the rules of holding public actions’ (which is over 3,500 fewer cases than in the first half of 2021, during the wave of protests following the imprisonment of Alexey Navalny); and in 88% of these cases found the defendants to be guilty. According to previously published reports of Moscow and St. Petersburg courts, Moscow accounted for 53% of the cases involving public protests and another 32% of these cases were tried in St. Petersburg. In 87% of the cases related to public protests, these courts imposed fines, of circa 14,000 RUB. on average (circa $220), for a total of 171 million RUB. (c. $2.7 million), of which sentences for a total of 72 million RUB. have entered into force. Between January and June of 2022, lower-level courts also heard 2,955 cases involving the new crime of ‘disparaging the army’, with guilty verdicts issued in 85% of the cases; only 19% of these cases were in Moscow or St. Petersburg. The total amount of fines in these cases was 85 million RUB. (c. $1.4 million), with an average fine around 34,000 RUB. (c. $550) In most of the cases of either type where a guilty verdict was not reached, courts returned case materials to the police to correct procedural errors. (Source: OVD-Info)

C. Burnings of conscription offices and other government buildings

Oct. 10 – In St. Petersburg, a district court arrested, until Dec. 8, Maksim Asriyan, a 26-year-old nurse who has been charged with ‘attempted act of terrorism’ for planning to set a local army draft station on fire. Asriyan’s defense claimed that he brought the tools of arson to the building but at the last moment decided not to do it because of his rejection of violence. The prosecution declared that during the search of his devices police found “instructions on how to destroy railroad infrastructure” and a filled-out questionnaire of an applicant to the so-called ‘Free Russia Legion’, a putative armed guerrilla organization that was previously advertised online by Ilya Ponomaryov, a Russian politician in exile (according to the defense, Asriyan ended up not applying to join the ‘legion’). After the start of the war, Asriyan moved with his family to Georgia, but recently returned to Russia leaving his wife abroad. Asriyan has reportedly pleaded guilty. (Source: Mediazona)

Oct. 11 – In Ryazan, Nikolay Baranov was reportedly placed in pre-trial detention until Dec. 8, on charges of having thrown two Molotov cocktails into a district court building in the night of Oct. 9; according to one report, he was planning to burn a conscription office but mixed up the buildings (Source: FSB Ryazan Telegram channel); investigators allege that he was going to set up both buildings on fire (Source: Ryazan’s Soviet district court). Baranov reportedly admitted his guilt and stated that he had done it out of conviction. The criminal case against him charges him not with terrorism but with “intentional attempt to inflict property damage”.

Oct. 12 – In Krasnodar, prosecution finalized the indictment against Igor Paskar, charged with ‘an act of terrorism’. On June 14, Paskar allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail into a local FSB building. He is also charged with ‘vandalism’ for his alleged burning of a banner with letter Z that has become a semi-official war symbol. It was reported that Paskar may be facing up to 15 years in jail. The case will be heard by the Southern military district court and may become the first court case on the burnings of government buildings in Russia since the start of the war. (Source: Zona solidarnosti [The Solidarity Zone] Facebook page)


Oct. 12 – In Kondol (a village in the Penza region), 32-year-old Maksim Moiseyev reportedly remains under criminal charges for refusing to mobilize – even though on Oct. 7 regional prosecutor’s office agreed to his lawyer’s motion to close the case and ruled that it had been filed unlawfully; these decisions were based upon Russia’s supreme court determination made in 2008 that criminal penalties for draft evasion only apply to regular conscription or alternative civilian service between the age of 18 and 27. (For more details on his case and his detention, please see our previous issue.) Yet according to Moiseyev’s wife, instead of being closed his case was transferred to the investigative committee of the city of Moscow (Source: OVD-Info)


Oct. 10 – In Izhevsk (Republic of Udmurtia), Anastasia Ponkina was found guilty of ‘hooliganism’ for her actions during the Jan. 2021 protests against the imprisonment of Alexey Navalny and given a 2-year suspended jail sentence. Prosecutors claimed that she urged protesters to block road traffic or tried to do it. In her final remarks Ponkina is said to have partially admitted her guilt and stated that she was not going to be involved in politics any longer. (Source: SOTA Project) Ponkina was one of more than 180 defendants in the criminal cases filed in the aftermath of the protests. OVD-Info continues to petition online for ending the reprisals against them. You can sign the petition here: https://palace.ovdinfo.org/.

             – On the same day in Moscow, a district court sentenced Tatiana Kozlova to a 300,000-RUB (almost $4,800) fine, for ‘repeat violation of the rules of holding street actions’. On Oct. 7, the day of Putin’s 70th birthday, Kozlova photographed a solo street protest of Grigory Samsonov across from the Kremlin but was charged with participating in his action. Samsonov was put in pre-trial detention for 28 days. (Source: OVD-News)

             – On the same day in Moscow, a district court sentenced Maria Gordeyko and Renat Yakubov for ‘violating the rules for holding public actions’ while petitioning for government stipend increase for college students. Yakubov was fined 18,000 RUB; Gordeyko, charged with ‘repeat violation’, was sentenced to 8 days of arrest. Both are activists of the Left Front organization. (Source: OVD-Info)

Oct. 14 – In Pyatigorsk, city court sentenced 47-year-old Magomed Dolgiev, a former policeman, to one-year suspended jail sentence for disobeying orders during police dispersal of a massive protest rally in Magas, Ingushetia, on March 27, 2019. Dolgiev was one of the 15 policemen who formed a line between the protesters and the troops of the national guard to prevent clashes. All of them were fired, 13 including Dolgiev charged with disobeying orders and all, and all 13 sentenced to suspended jail terms for ‘intentional disobedience … motivated by political hostility’. Dolgiev was the last to be sentenced. (Source: Memorial Human Rights Defense Center)

             –   In Rostov-on-Don, 23-year-old Vyacheslav Kryukov became the first of the defendants in the notorious case of the putative ‘New Greatness’ underground group to be released from imprisonment. He has spent over 4.5 years in pre-trial detention and penal colony on charges of ‘organizing an extremist community’. A total of 10 people were charged in this case which was widely reported to be fabricated by FSB operatives who played an active role in shaping this group and its activities. Prior to his detention, Kryukov was a third-year student at a law school but was expelled since then. Kryukov initially protested his detention, first by going on hunger strike for a month; in 2019, he and one of his co-defendants, Ruslan Kostylenkov, attempted suicide while in the courtroom. Still later, he reported being tortured by the guards during a break in the court session. (Source: OVD-Info)


Oct. 10 – In Krasnodar, an appeals court upheld the lower-court verdict against 45-year-old Lyudmila Shchekoldina from Pavlovskaya hamlet. She was sentenced in May of this year to 4 years and 1 month in penal colony. Shchekoldina continues to insist on her innocence. In the five years since JWs’ organization was banned as ‘extremist’, no less than 349 believers have reportedly been jailed, even though in February of this year the chairman of Russia’s supreme court stated that participation in religious services in and of itself cannot be considered an extremist act. (Source: JW website)

              –  On the same day in Solnechnoe village (Khabarovsk region), 50-year-old Boris Yagovitov was sentenced by district court to 5 years of suspended jail term with further 3 years of probation and 1 year and 7 months of restriction of movement. This sentence comes after Yagovitov already spent over 9 months in pre-trial detention, and prior to that, several months under house arrest. The charges against him are the same as against most other JWs: ‘taking part in the activities of an extremist organization’ and ‘recruiting others to join’. (Source: JW website)

–   On the same day in Kodinsk (Krasnoyarsk region), 59-year-old Ildar Urazbakhtin was sentenced by district court for 3 years of suspended jail term. The court turned out to be substantially more lenient than the prosecutor who sought a sentence of 7 years in penal colony. In Krasnoyarsk region, 27 JWs have criminal cases filed against them; five have been sentenced, including Andrey Stupnikov, currently serving a 6-year term in penal colony. (Source: JW website)

              – On the same day, in Yaroslavsky village, Primorsky (Maritime) region, police conducted searches in 12 homes, after which 70-year-old Boris Andreyev and 49-year-old Natalia Sharapova were placed in pre-trial detention – the former, for ‘organizing the activities of a prohibited organization’ i.e., JWs; the latter, for allegedly ‘recruiting participants’. On Oct. 12, another village resident, 37-year-old Anatoly Li, was also placed in detention until Oct. 28. This is reportedly the 17th criminal case against JWs in Primorsky region, where 12 believers have already been sentenced. (Source: JW website)

Oct. 11 – In Birobidzhan (Jewish autonomous region), regional court voided the suspended jail terms of Oleg Postnikov (5.5 years) and his wife Agnessa Postnikova (5 years) and remanded their case back to the lower court. They were sentenced in April of this year for ‘participation in an extremist organization’ and ‘recruitment of its members’. According to JWs, 19 criminal cases have been filed against their followers in this region; in 14 of these cases, sentences have already been in effect. (Source: JW website)


Oct. 10 – Mikhail Iosilevich, opposition activist from Nizhny Novgorod and former political prisoner, announced his departure from Russia along with his family. In September, he was released from a penal settlement where he was sent in May, after spending 15 months in between pre-trial detention and prohibition from leaving the town. In 2016, Iosilevich opened the first temple of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in Russia and next year managed to get it registered as a religious group. His troubles begam after he provided his church’s space for trainings of election observers. In 2020, he became a defendant in a criminal case that linked him to Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia, although this connection was reportedly due to a proofreading error in an online article. As Iosilevich wrote in his Telegram post last week, “for me, returning to Russia would be the same as going back to jail. It is evident that today anyone may be jailed for an online post or simply for no reason at all! … Russia, as a state bound by laws, does not exist any longer. … Conscience and sense of honor urge me to go and fight on the side of Ukraine. But I cannot do it. I don’t know how to kill people and would not be able to shoot into those with whom I just recently shared a jail, a town, or simply socialized. I am not a military man. But alas, there is nothing else left for us to do. …” (Source: Mikhail Iosilevich’s Telegram channel)

              –  On the same day in Naberezhnye Chelny (Republic of Tatarstan), the local office of Russia’s investigative committee charged 39-year-old Albert Mansurov with ‘disparaging the use of Russia’s Armed Forces’, a felony that carries up to 3 years of imprisonment. This is reportedly the first such criminal case in Tatarstan. In May, Mansurov was already charged with disparaging the army, but in an administrative case (an equivalent of a misdemeanor). Around the same time, he left Russia for the United Arab Emirates; in September, he was placed on a ‘wanted’ list. Both cases against him have been based on his publications in VKontakte. (Source: BIZNES Online)

Oct. 12 – A district court in Moscow fined Lyubov Sobol 10,000 RUB for alleged violation of the ‘foreign agents’ law. She is a lawyer, long-time supporter of Navalny, and a former candidate in the Moscow city and Russian state Dumas elections. Sobol has not been in Russia since August of last year. While abroad, she was placed on a ‘wanted’ list (in October); sentenced to 1.5 years of restriction of liberty and mandatory public works (in December); placed on the list of ‘terrorists and extremists’ (in January); officially branded a ‘foreign agent’ and ordered to be arrested for ‘taking part in an extremist community’ (in May); and charged with ‘spreading false information about the Army’ and ‘justifying terrorism’ (in August). (Sources: SOTAVision, OVD-Info)

Oct. 13 – Prokhor Protasov, a composer and former orchestra director from Kirov currently doing graduate studies in Canada, announced that Russian authorities had filed a criminal case against him. He is being charged with ‘spreading false reports’ about the Russian army, due to ‘political hatred’. Charges are based on his VKontakte posts about the Bucha massacre and Russia’s missile strike on the Kremenchug shopping mall. In August, police searched his home; relatives in Kirov have been summoned to interrogation as witnesses. His VKontakte page has been blocked at the request of Russia’s prosecutor-general; Protasov himself is on the ‘wanted’ list. He is said to believe that these reprisals are in connection with his study trips to the US and their funding with grants from the U.S. State Department. (Source: OVD-Info)

– On the same day, RFE/RL reported that Badma Byurchiev, its correspondent in Elista (Republic of Kalmykia), had left Russia and requested political asylum in Norway. In the past, Byurchiev was repeatedly charged with violations for his participation in street protests, including an action against the appointment of a former head of a secessionist government in Donetsk as mayor of Elista and an action in support of Alexey Navalny. In September of this year, Byurchiev was beaten up by unknown assailants; on Oct. 11, he was fined 30,000 RUB for ‘disparaging the army’. (Source: RFE/RL)

Oct. 14 – Nikita Botberg, a restaurant owner in Perm who was protesting against the war, temporarily left Russia after repeated pressure on him by law enforcement, his company’s sudden eviction from rented spaces, and violent attack by an unknown assailant who broke his nose. The attack followed his latest protest action of Oct. 1. Botberg is currently in Armenia for treatment and recovery but plans to go back in two weeks to his wife in Perm. (Source: Caucasian Knot)

Thank you for reading. We will always appreciate your feedback (via email to rcc-ara@rcc-amrusrights.org or via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/AmRusRights), as well as your moral and, not least, material support. Speaking of which, you are welcome to donate toward this project to our parent 501c3 tax-exempt organization, Russian-speaking Community Council, Inc. – either by check (to P.O.Box 578, New York NY 10040), or via PayPal, or via our Facebook donation button. See you again soon.

Project Director Dr. Dmitri Daniel Glinski and our project team


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