Welcome to Rights in Russia

“[…] the striving for freedom never died out in Russia, and over the centuries in each generation there have been people who devoted their lives to the struggle for freedom, and sacrificed their lives for freedom’s sake.” – Liudmila Alekseeva (1927-2018)


“[…] We are not civil society. But we prepared the ground to enable civil society to emerge, and it has emerged.” – Arseny Roginsky (1946-2017)


Here is the link to this week’s publications: Weekly Update.

This week our review of the past week’s news highlights Aleksei Navalny‘s announcement of his intention to return to Russia, the sentencing of three Crimean Tatars to long prison terms for membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the call by the Committee to Protect Journalists for Russia to repeal the ‘foreign agent’ law, an open letter to President Putin urging him to resolve the issue of the ‘children of the Gulag,’ to this day unable to return home, the success of the Chistaya Urdoma group of environmental activists in forcing the abandonment of the construction of a landfill site at Shiyes, Arkhangelsk region, and the latest rulings of the European Court of Human Rights that include an admissiblity ruling on the application brought by Ukraine against Russia over Crimea. We also note the 30th anniversary of the attempt by Soviet troops to crush the Lithuanian independence movement on 13 January 1991.

Our podcast this week is with Mikhail Benyash, a human rights lawyer from Sochi in Krasnodar region. Mikhail Benyash talks, among other things, about an assault on him by police officers and his subsequent prosecution for allegedly assaulting them.

Our translations this week include weekly round-ups of events by OVD-Info and Team 29Genri Reznik on the institution of investigative judges;  Dmitry Bykov on the National Guard;  Mikhail Fedotov on the open letter concerning ‘Children of the Gulag’; Lev Ponomarev on evidence of torture in penal colonies and on the case of Azat Miftakhov; Vera Vasilieva on solidarity among political prisoners; statements by Memorial Human Rights Centre on Aleksei Navalny and on the case of Marsel Gimaliev; an interview by Rupression with Ilya Shakursky, convicted in the Network trial, and a statement by Rupression from last November on aspects of the Network case; and an announcement by the 19 January Committee about the holding of a demonstration to mark the 2009 killings of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova.

Also in this week’s edition you can read a review by Lionel Blackman of Citizens and the State in Authoritarian Regimes. Comparing China and Russia, a further extract from Vanessa Kogan‘s interview with Kommersant about her life and work in Russia as a human rights activist, a 1996 obituary of Kronid Liubarsky by Marjorie Farquharson and my own brief look back at some of the events of the past week

We hope you enjoy this week’s issue of our Weekly Update.

Do please consider making a donation to support our work. You can do so here. Thank you.

Simon Cosgrove
Chair, Rights in Russia