News of the Day: 9 December 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Thursday confirmed 30,209 Covid-19 infections and 1,181 deaths.

RSF: The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to two journalists in Oslo, Norway on 10 December, the Philippines’ Maria Ressa and Russia’s Dmitri Muratov, who together embody all of the threats to journalism. The worst of which is murder. More than 1,600 journalists have been killed in the past 20 years, 46 of them in 2021 alone, according to data gathered by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Meduza: On Thursday, December 9, a district court in Russia’s Vladimir Region held a preliminary hearing on Alexey Navalny’s latest lawsuit against the administration of the prison where he is serving out his sentence. The Kremlin critic is suing to overturn the prison administration’s decision to place him under preventive supervision as an inmate “prone to commit crimes of an extremist orientation.” Navalny took part in the hearing via video link. The next court date is scheduled for December 28. 

Front Line Defenders: On 1 December 2021, the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court upheld the previous decision by the Nizhny Novgorod Soviet District Court to find human rights defender Igor Kalaypin guilty of “participating in the activities of an undesirable organization” under Article 20.33 of the Code of Civic Conduct of the Russian Federation. The Court fined him 10,000 Russian Roubles. Igor Kalaypin considers this prosecution a consequence of his human rights work. He and his lawyers will appeal this decision.

RFE/RL: A Crimean Tatar rights activist being held in prison in Ukraine’s Russia-annexed Crimea had his detention extended on the day he should have been released. The Crimean Solidarity human rights group said that on December 7 its coordinator, Mustafa Seidaliyev, was found guilty of uploading to the Internet allegedly extremist material and was ordered to remain in detention a further 10 days. That action came the same day Seidaliyev was ending a 14-day jail term.

Human Rights in Ukraine: A Russian-controlled ‘court’ in occupied Crimea has sentenced Crimean Solidarity Coordinator Mustafa Seidaliev to a further ten days’ imprisonment over a video dated 2012 and posted on a VKontakte page which he last looked at back in 2016.  Two ‘rulings’ were passed a day after two absurd administrative protocols were drawn up to avoid releasing Seidaliev from a 14-day term of imprisonment (scroll down for details of the new imprisonment in chronological order).  

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.

Meduza: A St. Petersburg court has jailed prominent investor August Meyer for two months pending trial for fraud. Meyer, a U.S.-born businessman who now holds Russian citizenship, is the owner of the beauty chain Rive Gauche and co-owner of the online retailer Ulmart. He stands accused of two counts of fraud totaling 2.4 billion rubles ($32.6 million). Meyer’s wife, Inna, is also a suspect in the case and was placed under house arrest. Speaking in court, in English (see the video below), Meyer recounted coming under pressure from Russian investigators. Allegedly, he was told that if he plead guilty, the authorities would release his wife. “Is it appropriate to hold a wife hostage?” Meyer asked. “Is this 1931 Soviet Union?”

RFE/RL: Authoritarian leaders are undermining the media and democratic institutions at the peril of peace, Dmitry Muratov, a joint winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, said on December 9 ahead of the award ceremony in Norway’s capital. Muratov, editor in chief of independent Russian newspaper Novaya gazeta, and Maria Ressa of the Filipino news website Rappler won the award “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said when announcing the prize in October. “Lack of belief in democracy means that, with time, people turn their backs on democracy, you will get a dictator, and dictatorship leads to war,” Muratov told a news conference in Oslo.

The Moscow Times: Russia will return to Greece the pre-war archives of Jewish communities that were stolen by Nazi forces, the country’s Jewish council said Thursday. “Our history returns home,” the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KISE) said in a statement.

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