News of the Day: 8 December 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Wednesday confirmed 30,752 Covid-19 infections and 1,179 deaths.

RFE/RL: A court in Moscow has sentenced a man to 32 months in prison for damaging a vehicle of the Federal Security Service (FSB) during January protest rallies in support of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny. The Tver district court on December 8 found vlogger Konstantin Lakeyev guilty of damaging FSB property and sentenced him the same day.

The Moscow Times: A popular Russian TikTok blogger has been sentenced to nearly three years in a prison colony for damaging a car belonging to the security services during anti-government protests in January.

RFE/RL: Russia’s media regulator has blocked the online anonymity service Tor in what is seen as the latest move by Moscow to bring the Internet in Russia under its control.

RFE/RL: Russia’s Supreme Court has annulled the sentences of two former neo-Nazi activists convicted of involvement in the killing of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in 2009. A lawyer of Baburova’s family, Pyotr Zaikin, told the Novaya gazeta newspaper on December 8 that the Supreme Court sent the case to a cassation entity, meaning a retrial is extremely doubtful. The Supreme Court decision comes after the European Court of Human Rights ruled in February that the 2011 trial of Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgenia Khasis, former members of the neo-Nazi group called Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists (BORN), was not fair and that the case must be revised. Markelov and Baburova, who were known for crusading against ultranationalist violence, were shot dead in broad daylight near the Kremlin in 2009.

Meduza: The Russian Supreme Court has deemed lawful a 1995 presidential decree that classified information about NKVD employees involved in Stalin-era repressions.  As reported by Novaya Gazeta, this decision was made on Wednesday, December 8, during a Supreme Court hearing on a claim filed by historian Sergey Prudovsky. In his lawsuit, the historian argued that decree No. 1203 was drafted in such a way that it allows for classifying NKVD employees as counterintelligence officers, whose personal data is not subject to disclosure. 

Human Rights in Ukraine: Crimean Solidarity Coordinator Mustafa Seidaliev should have been released on 7 December, after being jailed for 14 days.  He was the last of 22 Crimean Tatars to end jail sentences imposed for having come to greet lawyer Edem Semedlyaev on 23 November, after the latter finished a 12-day jail sentence in Russian-occupied Crimea for doing his job.  Instead, the young Crimean Tatar father of three has remained imprisoned with lawyers prevented from being present while two new protocols of administrative prosecution are drawn up. 

Human Rights in Ukraine: 43-year-old Ivan Yatskin has gone on hunger strike in protest at the systematic pressure and ill-treatment he is being subjected to in Russian captivity. Yatskin is currently being taken, in slow and very gruelling stages, to a harsh regime prison colony in the Kemerov region of Russia, and it is the deprivation of vital medication and the treatment he is receiving during these stages where he has limited contact with his lawyer and family that have left him with no other choice but to refuse food.

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