News of the Day: 13 April 2021

RFE/RL: The wife of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny says she is growing more concerned over his health as the toll of prison life and a hunger strike mounts. Yulia Navalnaya said in a post on Instagram that she visited the Kremlin critic on April 13 at the prison where he is serving 2 1/2 years for an embezzlement conviction widely considered as politically trumped-up. Navalnaya said the two spoke via telephone and could see each other through a glass barrier in what she called “the best date of my life.”

The Moscow Times: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, said on Tuesday she was increasingly concerned for her hunger-striking husband’s health after visiting him at his penal colony outside Moscow. Navalny, who is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence on old embezzlement charges, was jailed in February after returning to Russia from Germany where he was receiving treatment for a poisoning attack he says was orchestrated by the Kremlin. Russia’s most prominent opposition figure announced a hunger strike two weeks ago to demand adequate medical treatment, and his allies said this week that authorities had threatened to force feed him.

RFE/RL: Anastasia Vasilyeva, the personal doctor of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, has been fined over her attempt to see the ailing Kremlin critic last week at the prison he is being held in outside of Moscow. The Petushki district court in the Vladimir region late on April 12 ordered Vasilyeva, who is the chairwoman of the Alliance of Doctors union, to pay 180,000 rubles ($2,320), for what the court described as the “organization of a mass gathering near a penitentiary that led to obstacles for transport operations.” Vasilyeva’s lawyer, Mikhail Arsenyev, said the court ruling will be appealed.

Human Rights Watch: Magomed Gadaev, 37, an asylum seeker from Chechnya and key witness in a high-profile torture case against Chechnya’s leadership, was abducted by Chechen security officials on April 11, two days after his deportation from France to Russia. France expelled Gadaev on April 9, despite a ruling by the national asylum court recognizing that he could come to harm if deported to Russia and asking the authorities to ensure he not be sent back. Border guards at the Moscow airport held Gadaev for 12 hours before allowing him to board a flight to Novy Urengoi, where his relatives live. Soon after the flight landed, two Chechens apparently linked to Chechnya’s authorities appeared at his relatives’ doorstep demanding to see Gadaev.

The Moscow Times: A Russian academic who worked in aviation has been arrested for allegedly passing secrets to NATO, state media reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed source. A Moscow court placed Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) professor and Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) employee Valery Golubkin until June 12, according to Interfax. 

RFE/RL: Savely Narizhny is a 15-year-old former high school student in the northwestern Russian city of Vologda. On the evening of January 23, he was stopped in the center of the city after attending an unsanctioned mass demonstration in support of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who at the time was jailed and facing serious criminal charges. Narizhny wasn’t detained, but police confiscated his telephone. Three days later, police came for him at home. Narizhny admits that he wrote graffiti calling longtime authoritarian President Vladimir Putin a “thief” on the wall of the regional administration headquarters. A short time later, prosecutors categorized the act as “an action committed by a group of people and motivated by political, ideological, race-based, nationalist, or religious hatred or enmity.” If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.

RFE/RL: The U.S. State Department has called for the release of an RFE/RL freelance correspondent arrested in Ukraine’s Russia-annexed Crimea region and joined human rights groups in expressing concern over his treatment and a televised “confession” he gave. “Troubled by reports that Russian occupation authorities in Crimea tortured @RFERL freelance journalist [Vladyslav] Yesypenko to coerce his confession. We call for his release, and for Russia to cease its reprisals against independent voices in Crimea,” spokesman Ned Price tweeted on April 13.

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