News of the Day: 9 November 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Tuesday confirmed 39,160 Covid-19 infections and a new pandemic record of 1,211 deaths.

RFE/RL: One of Russia’s top human rights lawyers has been added to a Russian registry of “foreign agents” along with four associates. Ivan Pavlov, who has defended jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, his organizations, and journalist Ivan Safronov, was added to the list by the Justice Ministry on November 8.

Amnesty International: Reacting to the news that LGBT-Network, a prominent Russian group defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, and five human rights lawyers from Komanda 29 have been added by the Ministry of Justice to its list of “foreign agents”, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said: “Beyond shameful, the justice ministry’s decision reveals that committed, principled lawyers defending the rights of people targeted in politically motivated cases and frontline LGBTI rights defenders are unwelcome and “foreign” in Putin’s Russia.

RFE/RL: The creators of a YouTube channel that broadcasts an online series about a fictional chairman of the executive committee of the Russian Far Eastern city of Ussuriisk say a probe has been launched against them. Producer Andrei Klochkov said on November 9 that police searched his home and homes of his team members last week, saying that they are suspected of “major hooliganism.” Members of the team have not been charged with any crimes.

RFE/RL: Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed has begun a hunger strike at the Russian prison where he is serving a nine-year sentence. Attorneys Sergei Nikitenkov and Viktoria Buklova told the Interfax news agency on November 9 that their client had been on hunger strike for four days to protest violations of his rights, including his “illegal” placement in solitary confinement in September.

RFE/RL: Prosecutors are seeking lengthy prison terms for seven people who led protests in Ingushetia against a change to the administrative boundaries between the Russian North Caucasus regions of Chechnya and Ingushetia.

The Moscow Times: Russians are increasingly facing prosecution for posting provocative photos of themselves in front of religious landmarks in what analysts say reflects the Kremlin’s intensifying focus on defending conservative values.

The Moscow Times: Russia’s internet watchdog is considering sweeping bans of “perverted” TV shows and movies on streaming platforms in a proposal criticized by industry players as vague and punitive, the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday. Roskomnadzor, the state media and communications regulator, has reportedly proposed simultaneous changes to three Russian laws regulating media, protection of children from harmful content and banning displays of “gay propaganda” toward minors.

The Moscow Times: An underground crematorium in central Russia was found to have continued burning human remains despite being shut down by authorities two years ago, the news website reported Monday. The outlet said it initiated an inspection in 2019 of an illegal site near two major Kurgan city hospitals 2,000 kilometers east of Moscow. The inspection led to the site’s operators being fined and liquidated at the time.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Exactly five years ago, on 9 November 2016, Russia’s FSB arrested two internationally known Ukrainian academics, Dmytro Shtyblikov and Oleksiy Bessarabov, and Volodymyr Dudka, a retired naval captain. This was Russia’s second attempt in three months to claim that they had foiled a ‘Ukrainian saboteur’ plot, and the first in which the alleged ‘plotters’ actually knew each other.  The fact that the men were friends did not make the FSB’s plot any the more plausible, yet all of the men remain imprisoned to this day. 

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