News of the Day: 6 January 2021

RFE/RL: At the beginning of 2010, there were 545 police-run drunk tanks, or sobering-up stations, across Russia. In 2009, the facilities were used more than 2.5 million times. Yet by the autumn of 2011, all of them had been liquidated as part of a broad police reform process undertaken by then-President Dmitry Medvedev. A new law that came into force at the end of December, however, will bring back a version of the drunk tank. But it remains to be seen exactly how the measure will be implemented. “By no means can policing functions and health-care functions be intermixed,” said Oleg Zykov, director of the Institute of National Narcological Health. “As soon as they get mixed up, a sort of gray zone appears in which a person — especially if he is not able to protect himself — can become a victim of violence,” Zykov said. “In essence, the entire history of Soviet and Russian drunk tanks is only about this — about beatings, about murder, about rape. I have worked in this field a long time and those are the facts.”

Human Rights in Ukraine: In less than three months, Ukrainians who have not taken Russian citizenship face being stripped of their homes or land in occupied Crimea.  This follows the brazenly illegal decree passed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 20 March 2020, prohibiting those falsely dubbed ‘foreigners’ from owning land in around 80% of the peninsula, except for three regions without access to the Black Sea. The move is yet another method by which the occupying state is forcing those Ukrainians who in 2014 refused to take the aggressor state’s citizenship, to either lose their homes or be forced to become Russian citizens.  There are likely to be other motives, including straight plunder since the price is likely to be significantly lower than the land’s real value.

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