News of the Day: 4 October 2021

The Guardian: Russia has reported a record number of Covid deaths for four of the past six days, as the country experiences a devastating fourth wave caused by the Delta variant and a low vaccination rate of under 30% of the adult population. On Monday, 883 deaths and 25,781 new coronavirus cases were reported, taking the official death toll to 210,000. 

RFE/RL: Russian authorities have finally revealed to which clinic Yakut shaman Aleksandr Gabyshev was transferred after a court ordered him to be confined to forced psychiatric treatment in July, his lawyer says.

RFE/RL: A well-known opposition activist in the Siberian city of Barnaul says he has left Russia after the authorities launched criminal investigations into allegations that he repeatedly violated the law on mass gatherings. Viktor Rau wrote on social network VKontakte on October 3 that he and his grandson are currently in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

CPJ: Russian authorities should immediately release journalist Igor Kuznetsov and drop all charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Amnesty International: Migrant rights defender Valentina Chupik was released from detention at the Sheremetevo airport in Moscow and was allowed to board a flight to Armenia on 2 October. She had been held in the transit lounge of the airport since 25 September, stripped of her refugee status in Russia and threatened with imminent forcible return to Uzbekistan, where she would have been at risk of human rights violations.

RFE/RL: A Russian court has extended by three months the pretrial detention of Ivan Safronov, a prominent former journalist accused of high treason in a case widely considered to be politically motivated.

RFE/RL: Authorities in Kazan have allowed activists to gather in the capital of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan next week for a public event commemorating the 1552 siege of Kazan by Russian troops — but only if they remain inside a park.

The Moscow Times: The ICIJ also said that Russian nationals are “disproportionately represented” in the Pandora Papers, with 14% of the more than 27,000 scrutinized companies having Russian beneficiaries and 46 Russian oligarchs found to use offshore companies. Among them are the family of Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Russia’s defense conglomerate Rostec and one of Putin’s oldest friends; German Gref, the CEO of Russia’s state-controlled lender Sberbank; and Konstantin Ernst, the CEO of one of Russia’s most-watched state-run broadcasters Channel One. 

Civil Rights Defenders: After ten days of events and festivities, QueerFest has come to a close in St. Petersburg. For its 13th consecutive year, the festival continues to be a unique gathering for LGBTI+ individuals both in Russia and abroad, bringing together people across genders, ages and ethnic groups to raise awareness of the LGBTI+ community. Civil Rights Defenders spoke to the organisers of QueerFest about drawing strength from within the community – and from yourself.

RFE/RL: Activists in the capital of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan are awaiting a decision by the local authorities on whether to allow them to commemorate next week Tatars fallen during the 1552 siege of Kazan by Russian troops. The then-capital of the Kazan Khanate fell 469 years ago on October 15 — an event marked in the city since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Moscow Times: Belarusian security officers detained a pro-government reporter who covered a deadly shooting incident involving Belarus’ KGB security agency and an IT worker in Moscow before transporting him to Minsk, activists said Saturday.

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