//
you're reading...
Наши новости

THE RUSSIA OF TOMORROW: Antiwar Resistance & Human Rights Defense Digest / ISSUE # 10, Oct. 17-23, 2022

Table of contents

I. OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND THE WAR ZONE
II. THE ANTIWAR MOVEMENT IN RUSSIA
A. Nonviolent protesting and reprisals – new cases
B. Nonviolent protesting and reprisals – ongoing cases
C. Actual or alleged antiwar violence
III. MOBILIZATION AND THE COURTS
IV. POLITICAL REPRISALS DIRECTLY UNRELATED TO THE WAR
V. RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION (Jehovah’s Witnesses)
VI. EXODUS FROM RUSSIA AND TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION
VII. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSSIA AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

Dear friends, we are welcoming you to yet another issue of our weekly digest. Among all English-language publications on these topics, it provides the fullest coverage of the relevant events of the previous week ending Sunday; it also comes to you sooner than others, on Monday morning. Most of the items in it are based on the original Russian-language sources and are hyperlinked to them. We seek to revive the tradition of the Soviet-era Chronicle of Current Events that was bringing international attention not just to the most famous and prominent dissidents but to the everyday resistance to oppression at the grassroots level of Soviet society. Our title – with tongue-in-cheek toward ‘Russia Today’, the powerhouse of the Kremlin’s global propaganda – reflects our belief in Vaclav Havel’s “power of the powerless”, including the long-term power of those Russian citizens, of many ethnicities and faiths, who are putting themselves in harm’s way to bring about a peaceful and less oppressive tomorrow for their country, for Ukraine, and for the rest of the world.

We invite you to join us on this journey by donating toward this project to our parent organization, RCC (a 501c tax-exempt NGO incorporated in New York in 2011), via PayPal – https://bit.ly/3DlUxy1, Facebook – www.facebook.com/RCC.org, or by check – Russian-speaking Community Council, Inc., P.O.Box 578, New York NY 10040.

I. OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND THE WAR ZONE

Oct. 17 – Russia’s southern district military court in Rostov-on-Don extended the pre-trial detention of Alim Sufyanov and Seyran Khayretdinov and the house arrest of Aleksandr Sizikov in Simferopol (Crimea, Ukraine) until Jan. 20, 2023, as sought by the prosecution. (Source: Crimean Solidarity) The three Crimean Tatars are charged with alleged involvement with Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international Islamic organization prohibited in Russia, Germany, and a dozen of Muslim-majority countries. As noted by the ‘Crimean Solidarity’ website, in reality, the reprisals are in retaliation for the Crimean Tatars’ public protests over political reprisals, their critique of Russia’s authorities and lack of support for the annexation of Crimea. On the same day in Vlasikha (Moscow region, Russia), a military appeals court upheld the pre-trial detention of Ostam Arifmemetov and Rustem Sheykhaliev, defendants in yet another Hizb ut-Tahrir case, until Dec. 20. Defense attorneys stated that the entire case against them is fabricated and that a house search in the case was conducted without the requisite court order. The prosecution is seeking between 15 and 17 years of imprisonment for the five defendants in this case. (Source: Crimean Solidarity) And 3 days later, on Oct. 20, the supreme court of the occupied Crimea denied the appeal against a district court decision to extend the pre-trial detention of three other Crimean Tatars – Enver Krosh, Edem Bekirov, and Renat Aliyev; also charged with Hizb ut-Tahrir participation; they were detained in August of this year in Crimea’s Dzhankoy area. The decision was made in the absence of the defendants: they are undergoing compulsory evaluation by forensic psychiatrists that was ordered by the FSB. (Source: Crimean Solidarity).

Oct. 19 – The Kremlin media reported that the authorities installed by the Russian occupying force in Mariupil (Ukraine) dismantled the memorial to the victims of the Holodomor (Source: RIA Novosti). Holodomor [death from hunger] is the Ukrainian word for the famine in Ukraine’s countryside that was caused by Stalin’s expropriation of the peasantry in 1932-33 and led to nearly 4 million deaths. The memorial was erected in the central part of the city in 2004; Holodomor is recognized as an act of genocide by the Ukrainian parliament and the U.S. Senate.

Oct. 21 – In Alushta (Crimea, Ukraine), city court sentenced Aleksandr Tarapon to 2.5 years in maximum-security labor colony for ‘spreading false information’ about the army. The charges against him stem from a flyer with a portrait of his relative fighting on the Russian side in Ukraine, with an inscription stating that he was a “war criminal” “murdering children”; the flyer was posted by Tarapon posted on his relative’s door. The defendant pleaded not guilty stating that has action was part of a domestic dispute. (Source: ‘Setevye svobody’ Telegram channel)

II. THE ANTIWAR MOVEMENT IN RUSSIA

A. Nonviolent protests and reprisals – new cases

Oct. 20 – St. Petersburg State University fired Denis Skopin, associate professor of liberal arts, for his participation in a protest against the mobilization on Sept. 21 (where he was detained, subsequently spending 10 days under arrest). The official document signed by V. Eremeyev, vice dean for human resources, claimed that participation in the rally was “an amoral act incompatible with performing educational functions”. Skopin is planning to appeal this decision via the labor oversight board. (Source: Ivan Kurilla on Facebook)

              – On the same day in Novosibirsk, criminal charges of ‘disparaging the army’ were filed against Alexey Pinigin, for allegedly making an antiwar inscription on a monument. Pinigin’s home was searched, and his electronic equipment seized by the authorities; he has been prohibited from going out of town. Pinigin was among those detained at an antiwar rally in Novosibirsk in the first days of the invasion, on Feb. 27; he was initially fined, but the fine was later rescinded. (Source: OVD-Info)

Oct. 21 – In Sochi, a criminal case on charges of ‘disparaging the army’ was filed against Vladimir Atamanchuk, a 71-year-old local activist; he has been prohibited from going out of town. (Source: Caucasian Knot) The charges are based on the antiwar flyers that Atamanchuk allegedly printed and distributed on Sept. 4; on Sept. 7 or 8, he was jailed for 5 days for allegedly disobeying police. Prior to that, in March, he was sentenced to a 10-day arrest for organizing an unsanctioned protest; in May, he was fined twice for ‘disparaging the army’ – 50,000 and 30,000 RUB. (Source: OVD-Info)

B. Nonviolent protests and reprisals – ongoing cases

Oct. 17 – A district court in Verkhoturye (Sverdlovsk region) found Yevgeny Pinchuk (Nikander), a senior cleric at a local monastery of an autonomous Orthodox Christian denomination (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad of Metropolitan Agaphangel), guilty on criminal charges of ‘disparaging armed forces’ and fined him 100,000 RUB. This sentence follows upon prior ‘administrative’ (misdemeanor-type) verdict against him for the same, issued in March. (Source: TASS) Pinchuk allegedly made online posts characterizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a war of conquest and a ‘violation of the divine commandments by Russia’s leadership’. (Source: SOVA-Center)

Oct. 18 – A court in Elista (Republic of Kalmykia) sentenced activist Altan Ochirov to 3 years in penal colony for ‘spreading false news’ about the army ‘motivated by hatred’. It is worth noting that the sentence, harsh as it is, is the shortest possible term of imprisonment stipulated in Russia’s criminal code for this newly criminalized ‘felony’ and 4 years less than sought by the prosecution. Ochirov was charged for posting the video of a massacre committed by the Russian military in Ukraine and other reports from independent sources. Ochirov pleaded not guilty, saying that none of these posts were made by him. (Source: OVD-Info)

              –   On the same day in Novgorod, Irina Nelson was fined 300,000 RUB on charges of ‘inciting terrorism’, for her posts in ‘VKontakte’ social network against the invasion, against sending Russian troops to Ukraine, and calling for “open-ended mass-rallies with the use of force by the people”. (Source: OVD-Info) Nelson admitted her authorship in court, citing constitution to assert her right to free speech. Nelson is a mother of four children and a former attorney. (Source: 7×7 – Horizontal Russia)

             –   On the same day in Moscow, a district court sentenced Yevgenia Feklistova to 1.5 years of suspended imprisonment with two years of probation, for an alleged “violence against a representative of the authorities”. The prosecution claimed that Feklistova hit a policeman with her handbag at the antiwar rally on the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Feb. 24, and wounded his lip. Feklistova pleaded guilty. She is a 40-year-old teacher of Russian at a private school. According to Mediazona, while attending a rally, Feklistova saw a young woman being detained and asked the policeman to detain her too, which led to a physical confrontation between them. (Source: Mediazona)

Oct. 19 – In Vologda, city court released Gregory Markus Severin Vinter (born Grigory Vinter) from pre-trial detention, where he stayed since August, to house arrest. Vinter is being charged with ‘spreading false information’ about the military, via his posts in ‘VKontakte’ about the actions of the Russian army in Bucha and Irpin. Vinter is an environmental activist and human rights defender who was already imprisoned for his past activities. He was the head of the local branch of Lev Ponomarev’s Movement For Human Rights. On Oct. 20, Memorial included Vinter in its list of political prisoners. (Source: Memorial)

Oct. 20 – In Moscow, a district court fined a husband and wife, Igor Yakovlev and Tatiana Talankina, for 15,000 and 20,000 RUB respectively, for alleged participation in an unsanctioned antiwar protest, ‘shouting slogans and disobeying police’ on Feb. 28. On that night, they were both detained on their way home from a theater. The couple provided evidence that at the time of the rally they were at a theater watching a play, but that did not change the verdict. Yakovlev is the press-secretary of the antiwar Yabloko Party and of its founder Grigory Yavlinsky who ran for presidency against Vladimir Putin in 2000, 2012 (when he was disqualified from running by Russia’s board of elections), and 2018. (Source: Yabloko website)

C. Actual or alleged antiwar violence

Oct. 17 – In Moscow, three Russian citizens – Aleksandr Bylin, Oleg Antipov, and Dmitry Tyazhelykh – were placed under arrest by court order until Dec. 8 on charges of “committing a terrorist act”; the prosecution claims that they perpetrated the explosion on the Crimean Bridge on Oct. 8 and that it was organized by Ukraine’s military intelligence. (Source: Interfax) This announcement came four days after two Ukrainian citizens – Roman Solomko and Vladimir Zloba – and three citizens of Armenia – Artur Terchanyan as well as Artyom and Georgy Azatyan – were detained in Crimea; the FSB claimed that the first three had been involved in transporting the explosives via Bulgaria, Georgia, and Armenia. (Source: RFE/RL Russian Service)

              –  On the same day, in the village of Mukhorshibir (Republic of Buryatia), around 4am, a Molotov cocktail hit the roof and the façade of a local conscription station, reportedly causing no damage to the inside of the building. So far, the arsonist has not been found. (Source: Babr Mash) According to RFE/RL, since the announcement of the mobilization, there have been 13 similar arson attempts in Siberia and the Far East only; those convicted for perpetrating such acts are facing up to 15 years of imprisonment. (Source: RFE/RL Russian Service)

Oct. 21 – The FSB announced two new criminal cases against putative arsonists in the Republic of Bashkortostan: one of them, born in 1983 and a resident of the village of Isyangulovo, allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail into a local army conscription office on Sept. 26, damaging the building. Another, born in 2004 and a resident of the village of Arkhangelskoe, set on fire a military office at the village administration headquarters on Oct. 8, causing “significant damage”. The names of the defendants have not been made public. (Source: RIA-Novosti)

III. MOBILIZATION AND THE COURTS

Oct. 21 – According to the Volgograd region court system, in the month since the start of the mobilization, 14 lawsuits against military conscription offices disputing individual call-up decisions have been filed in the region’s local courts. The first of these lawsuits that is going to be heard was filed by 43-year-old Vitaly Kandalov who was mobilized notwithstanding his serious knee traumas. The hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25. (Source: Volgograd Online)

Oct. 22 – Russia’s investigative committee made clear that failure to obey a call-up notice will not be considered illegal: it disciplined the head of its directorate in Penza region for having “illegally” initiated a criminal case against Maksim Moiseyev for evading mobilization. The case against him was previously nulled by the local prosecution office, based on a 2008 ruling by Russia’s supreme court that only evading the initial regular draft between the age of 18 and 27 is a criminal offense. (Source: Pavel Chikov’s Telegram channel)

IV. POLITICAL REPRISALS DIRECTLY UNRELATED TO THE WAR

Oct. 17 – Russia extradited to Belarus Yury Kastsiuk, a former political prisoner of the Lukashenka regime. According to his attorney, during a previous extradition attempt, Kastsiuk attempted suicide at the airport, was treated and afterwards was beaten up by the marshals. Memorial recognized Kastsiuk as Russia’s political prisoner. (Source: Memorial)

             – In Moscow, a district court sentenced Ivan Volkov, a city resident, to 5 days of arrest and a fine (the amount of which has not been made public), for ‘taking part in an unsanctioned public action’ and ‘disobeying police’. Volkov was detained on Oct. 15 on the Red Square across from the Kremlin where he shouted, “Freedom to Navalny!” and other slogans. (Source: OVD-News)

Oct. 18 – Also in Moscow, an appeals court denied Aleksey Navalny’s appeal against his sentence of 9 years in high-security colony that was issued in March of this year for an alleged financial fraud and contempt of court. Navalny spoke at the hearings via video link. In particular, he noted that charges against him were based on the complaints of 4 out of over 300,000 donors to his Anti-Corruption Foundation; two of them filed their complaints that their funds were ‘stolen’ immediately upon making their donations; another two joined the complaint after they themselves were targeted by criminal charges. Further, witnesses of the plaintiffs against Navalny stated that they had been pressured by the prosecution, and a video recording of this pressure was made public. Navalny linked the intensifying reprisals against him to the invasion, expressing his regret that his team was “not effective enough” and was “unable to avert the catastrophe into which we are descending full-speed, the only question being how hard Russia will be hit and whether it may fall apart”. Navalny ended his remarks with a call to “all of Russia’s citizens … to fight against this war and this disgusting mobilization”. (Source: Meduza) Two days later, on Oct. 20, Russia’s investigative committee announced the launch of yet another criminal case against Navalny, charging him with ‘extremism, calls for terrorism, financing extremist activities, and exoneration of Nazism’. (Source: Interfax) On the same day, Navalny stated on Twitter that he was being charged along with his colleagues Leonid Volkov, Ivan Zhdanov (both have left Russia), and Lilia Chanysheva (currently in pre-trial detention); he noted that one of the charges was based upon Volkov’s statement effectively comparing Putin with Hitler and calling for an assassination attempt against the former. (Source: Navalny’s Twitter account)

              –  On the same day, also in Moscow, a district court sentenced Pavel Krisevich to 5 years of imprisonment, for ‘hooliganism involving the use of a weapon’. In June of last year, Krisevich went to the Red Square and made gunshots with blanks into the air and in his own head, in a performance act followed by a statement denouncing Russia’s “police state”, “a future failed state”. The prosecution charged him with “violating public order”, “causing fear and anxiety among those present”, and “inflicting moral damage” on them. Krisevich apologized in court to those who were allegedly traumatized by his performance and reportedly has already paid them compensation. (Source: OVD-Info) PEN America called upon the international community “to speak out in support of Krisevich’s right to free expression”. (Source: PEN America)

– On the same day, and yes, also in Moscow, the FSB launched a second criminal case against 58-year-old Bakhrom Khamroev, an activist of Memorial and a defender of the human rights of migrants from Central Asia. The charges against him, of “organizing the activities of a terrorist organization” (Source: Timofey Shirokov’s Facebook page) by ‘assisting defendants charged with terrorism’, are based on his representation of individuals in the cases involving alleged membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international Islamist organization that is banned in Russia, Germany, and several other countries. This became known during the hearing on the first case against him, as the prosecution asked to extend his pre-trial detention based on the new case. Khamroev’s detention was extended for another two months. He has been in detention since February, on charges of supporting Hizb ut-Tahrir and ‘justifying terrorism’ based on six posts on Facebook. Russia’s financial oversight agency also placed him on the list of individuals involved with extremism (Source: Mediazona).

Oct. 19 – Ilya Yashin, Russia’s prominent opposition politician currently in pre-trial detention, announced that, according to the investigator in his case, the investigation was complete, and all his bank accounts had been frozen. (Source: Yashin’s Telegram channel)

           – On the same day in Chelyabinsk, a district court sentenced Vladimir Kazantsev, a local attorney who has represented environmental activists detained for protesting, to 4 years in penal colony and 500,000 RUB in damage compensation for an alleged bribery attempt. OVD-Info cites local activists who consider the case against Kazantsev to be politically motivated. (Source: OVD-Info)

Oct. 21 – The ‘regional security and anti-corruption department’ of the city of Moscow denied the request of Aleksandra Polivanova of Memorial for a permit to hold ‘The return of the names’, a traditional gathering on Oct. 29, the eve of Russia’s Day of Political Prisoners (recognized in 1991 by Russia’s legislature as the Day of Remembrance of Victims of Political Reprisals). The permit was officially denied due to COVID restrictions. Memorial has invited its supporters anywhere in the world to send videos with their readings of the names of the victims of Soviet-era political persecutions to october29@memo.ru. (Source: Memorial Society Telegram channel)

Oct. 23 – In Rostov-on-Don, prosecutors sought a two-year restriction of liberty and psychiatric treatment for Mikhail Selitsky; he is charged with ‘vandalism motivated by political hatred’, for taking part in the drawing of graffiti on the walls of several buildings that read “Putin is a thief”. The graffiti appeared in March of last year, and the local FSB reported the detention of participants of an ‘extremist group’ later in the same month. (Source: OVD-Info)

             –   On the same day in Moscow, Margarita Vaseva was detained during her solo protest action with a poster in support of Alexey Navalny (Source: OVD-Info)

V.       RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION (Jehovah’s Witnesses)

Oct. 20 – In Lesozavodsk (Primorye [Maritime] region), a district court sentenced 66-year-old Galina Kobeleva to 6 years of suspended imprisonment, as sought by the prosecution, for ‘organizing the activities of an extremist organization’, a staple charge against JW’s followers in Russia. Kobeleva pleaded not guilty, stating that she was merely observing her religion and not pursuing any organizational activities. The case against her goes back to May 2020; the charges are reportedly based on the testimony of an FSB agent who communicated with her posing as someone interested in the Bible and in JW’s services; according to JWs’ website, 20 witnesses denied charges against her. Russia’s financial monitoring agency added Kobeleva to its list of ‘terrorists and extremists’. Overall, 41 JWs in the region have already become defendants in criminal cases against them; 13 of them have been sentenced to suspended imprisonment.(Source: JW website)

              – On the same day in Maikop (Republic of Adygea), police searched 3 JWs’ homes, seized equipment, arrested 67-year-old Nikolay Voishchev, and filed a criminal case against him. He is reportedly the third JW follower in the republic to be persecuted for his belief; the other two, Nikolai Saparov and Inver Siyukhov, are in pre-trial detention.

              –  On the same day in Krasnodar, the regional court denied the appeal of Aleksandr Nikolayev against his sentence of 2.5 years in penal colony for his involvement with JWs. This means that he will stay in the colony until September 2023. Nikolayev is a 49-year-old resident of Kholmskaya hamlet and a father of five. Since April of last year, he was prohibited from leaving town; in September, he was placed in pre-trial detention; in December, he was convicted by a district court. Charges against him were reportedly based on the secret recordings of JWs’ services made by FSB operatives. According to Nikolayev’s attorney, some of the documentation in the case was apparently doctored. Overall, 6 residents of Kholmskaya have been sentenced for actual or alleged involvement with JWs; this includes Nikolayev’s father-in-law, Aleksandr Ivshin, sentenced to 7.5 years in penal colony. (Source: JW’s website)

VI.     EXODUS FROM RUSSIA AND TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION

Oct. 17 – Artur Smolyaninov, a film and theater actor, was charged, in absentia, with ‘disparaging the army’, in an administrative case (equivalent to a misdemeanor); the likely sentence is a fine between 30,000 and 50,000 RUB. (Source: RFE/RL Russian Service) Smolyaninov declared his antiwar stance in April, after which he was removed from several government-sponsored projects; he is currently in the United States. (Source: Meduza)

           – On the same day, Nikita Yuferev, one of the neighborhood council members in St. Petersburg who on Sept. 8 launched a collective appeal to the State Duma urging it to charge Putin with high treason, announced that he, his wife, and children had moved to Belgrade a few days earlier. Yuferev declared that he “was going to return to Russia by all means” and that now he had “the privilege of calling a war a war” (Source: Yuferev’s Twitter account). On Oct. 21, another member of the same council and signatory of the appeal, Dmitry Baltrukov, declared that he was also stayed abroad – initially going on a work-related trip to Tashkent in late September and then staying there after finding out that he received a call-up notice on Oct. 2 and hints of a potential criminal case against him. (Source: Bumaga) On the same day, a third colleague of Yuferev and Baltrukov, Dmitry Palyuga, also stated that he had moved to Tbilisi a day before, adding that “we did the maximum of what we could by charging Putin with treason” and that “any further activities inside Russia will lead either to jail or to punitive mobilization”. According to him, only about a half of the council members were still in Russia (Source: Bumaga)  All three stated they were planning to continue, remotely, their work as local deputies. Their appeal to the Duma was signed by over 60 local council deputies across Russia; many of them were later charged with ‘spreading false reports’ about the army.

Oct. 20 – In Moscow, the notorious (but increasingly indistinguishable from others) Basmanny district court ordered to arrest, in absentia, Marina Ovsyannikova, the former editor of the 1st TV channel and an antiwar protester, on charges of ‘spreading false reports’ about the army. The court also restricted her parental rights with regard to her daughter, ordering the daughter to be placed with her father, Ovsyannikova’s ex-husband. On Oct. 1, Ovsyannikova escaped with her daughter from house arrest. According to her attorney, she has left Russia and is currently “under the protection of a European state”. (Source: OVD-Info)

              –  On the same day, it became known that Yaroslav Revenko, a Yabloko Party activist in Taganrog (Rostov region) left Russia and was now in Georgia. He was previous charged in a non-criminal case for taking part in an antiwar rally in March; he later reported anonymous threats against him on his Instagram account. (Source: RFE/RL Caucasus.Realities)

Oct. 21 – Vladimir Zavyalov, a businessman from Smolensk who is expected to be sentenced on Oct. 24 for ‘knowingly spreading false reports about the Russian army for political reasons’, had moved to another European country along with his family. (Source: ‘Setevye svobody’ {Net Freedoms] Telegram channel) Zavyalov was charged with allegedly placing stickers with information about the Russian army’s action in Ukraine instead of price tags in a supermarket. The stickers mentioned the number of refugees from Ukraine “as a result of Russia’s aggression” and the use of mobile body incinerators by the Russian army. Zavyalov pleaded not guilty; he was under house arrest since April; the prosecution sought a 6-year term for him in penal colony. (Source: OVD-Info)

Oct. 22 – Viktor Kamenshchikov, a member of the Vladivostok city legislature elected as a communist party candidate who spoke against the invasion from its first days and resigned from the party on Feb. 27 over its support of the war, announced online that he had been granted asylum in the United States and was currently in Miami (Source: Kamenshchikov’s Telegram channel). In March, Kamenshchikov stated in his interview for an RFE/RL publication that “if one does not speak out against the war today, it is the same as supporting it”. On May 19, it was reported that he was detained on the U.S.-Mexican border. A regional communist party boss denounced Kamenshchikov as a “traitor” who had “discredited the party” and “sullied its honor”. (Source: RFE/RL Russian Service)

               –  The New York Review of Books published a conversation with Daria Serenko, a poet and co-founder of the Feminist Anti-War Resistance launched in Russia in the wake of the invasion in February of this year. According to NYRB, Serenko was forced to leave Russia in March and is currently living in Georgia. She states that “in the near future, the antiwar activists who remained will face an escalating nightmare—violence, torture, long prison sentences. Also, any kind of legal protections may completely cease to work with respect to antiwar activists. Russia, which has isolated itself from international law, can afford to torture and kill. At the same time, the antiwar movement will continue to grow, and part of it will become radicalized, turning into an underground guerrilla movement. This will be the direct result of actions by the authorities. Antiwar protest will stand on three pillars—women’s resistance, the resistance of non-Russian ethnic groups, and radical guerrilla resistance.” (Source: New York Review of Books) Serenko’s poem, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky, is appearing in the NYRB Nov. 3 issue.

VII.    INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSSIA AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

Oct. 17 – Tatiana Glushkova, a lawyer of the Memorial Human Rights Defense Center, spoke about the situation in Russia at a briefing of the UN Human Rights Committee. She noted that, as of that date, the number of Russians recognized as political prisoners by Memorial was 496, which was 18 more than at the time of Memorial’s previous report to the committee on Sept. 12. Of these, 121 were imprisoned for political reasons and 375 were jailed for exercising their freedom of religion. 32 people are imprisoned for protesting the war. The number of different articles of Russia’s criminal code used for political or religious persecution is over 50. “The primary goal of political reprisals in Russia is not the imprisonment of every single dissenter but rather control over society. For this reason, reprisals are used selectively, relevant legislation is ambiguous, and victims are often picked randomly. This strategy is effective at spreading fear in society.” Memorial expects a large number of criminal cases against prisoners of war and civilians captured in Ukraine, as well as the rise in the number of fabricated charges of sabotage, spying, and high treason. (Source: Memorial) In another statement in connection with the beginning of the mandate of Volker Türk as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Glushkova urged him to “urgently improve and resource the OHCHR Petitions and Urgent Action Section, namely: increase the Section’s staff and introduce innovative approaches of examining the complaints including those already developed by the ECHR” (Source: International Service for Human Rights)

Oct. 18 – In her interview to Free Space, an offshoot of Novaya gazeta, prominent Russian human rights attorney Karinna Moskalenko notes that, with Russia cutting off its ties with the European Court of Human Rights and no longer being a part to the European Human Rights Convention, Russians have lost the opportunity they had to get compensated for damages from unfair trial, arbitrary and unlawful arrest, inhumane treatment in detention etc. The only international recourse that remains for them is the UN Human Rights Committee. Its authority has been recognized by Russia as a successor to the Soviet Union, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that the USSR joined effective in 1976. Further, Russia’s constitutional court ruled that an HRC decision recognizing that a court procedure was unfair establishes new conditions for case review by the court. However, Russia’s authorities claim that HRC decisions on individual complaints are merely recommendations and not mandatory. Moskalenko states that HRC needs to be restructured to enable it to handle the increasing number of complaints, and that its decisions may need to be made more specific, including on the amounts of compensation for damages (Source: Svobodnoe prostranstvo [Free Space])

              – The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine established by the UN Human Rights Council delivered a report on its investigations and findings. According to its summary, “the Commission has found that war crimes, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have been committed in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. Russian armed forces are responsible for the vast majority of the violations identified. Ukrainian forces have also committed international humanitarian law violations in some cases, including two incidents that qualify as war crimes.” (Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights)

Oct. 19 – Human Rights Watch published a detailed report on the torture of detainees in Izyum (Kharkiv region) during the 6 months of its occupation by Russia. The report is based on more than 100 survivors’ interviews detailing beatings, electric shocks, waterboarding, and widespread property theft by Russian soldiers. (Source: HRW website)   

Thank you for reading. We will always appreciate your feedback (via email to rcc-ara@rcc-amrusrights.org), as well as your support in every shape and form. See you again soon.

Project Director Dr. Dmitri Daniel Glinski and our project team

(This bulletin is a successor to ‘In Their Own Voices: Eurasian Human Rights Digest’ that was produced in 2005-06 at Columbia University)

Discussion

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: