News of the Day: 14 December 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Tuesday confirmed 28,343 Covid-19 infections and 1,145 deaths.

RFE/RL: A court in Moscow has fined investigative website The Insider for failing to mark its materials as being produced by a “foreign agent,” a mandatory requirement for those added to the state’s controversial registry. The Taganka district court on December 14 ordered The Insider to pay 1 million rubles ($13,600) for the lack of labels on its materials. The group was added to the “foreign agent” registry in July.

RFE/RL: Russia’s Supreme Court has resumed a hearing into a request by federal prosecutors to shut down one of the post-Soviet world’s oldest and most prestigious human rights organizations, Memorial International. Judge Alla Nazarova started the hearing on December 14 after a 20-minute delay. The initial phase of the hearing saw the court study basic registration documentation from Memorial International, after which the prosecutor-general’s request to shut down the group and other documents in the case will be studied.

OHCHR: A UN expert today warned that the imminent dissolution of two prominent human rights organisations in Russia could signal a move by the authorities to outlaw the work of all human rights defenders. International Memorial and Human Rights Center ‘Memorial’ (known as the Memorials) are among the oldest and most esteemed human rights organisations in Russia, said Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. “This would be a new low for human rights defenders in Russia – and there have already been many lows in recent years,” she said.

Meduza: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russia is to pay compensation to several domestic violence victims over the authorities’ failure to respond to their cases.  One of the applicants, Margarita Gracheva, whose ex-husband was sentenced to fourteen years in prison for cutting off her hands in 2017, was awarded more than $400,000 in compensation. 

RFE/RL: Five years ago this month, historian Yury Dmitriyev, the local head of the human rights group Memorial in the northwestern region of Karelia, was arrested at his apartment in Petrozavodsk. He was accused of taking pornographic images of his foster daughter, a charge he has staunchly denied, saying the photographs were taken at the insistence of social workers in order to monitor the girl’s development. Dmitriyev is best known for his research into the victims of political repressions in Karelia under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. He was instrumental in the investigation and memorialization of the Sandarmokh mass graves, where the bodies of at least 6,000 victims were buried.

Human Rights in Ukraine: The ‘trial’ is underway at the Southern District Military Court in Rostov (Russia) Rostov (Russia) of two civic activists from Bakhchysarai facing 15-year sentences on preposterous ‘terrorism’ charges.  The latter are based on conversations about religion five years ago, and on the clearly suspect ‘testimony’ of two ‘anonymous witnesses’ whose identity and reasons for giving false testimony are well-known. 

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