News of the Day: 21 December 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Tuesday confirmed 25,907 Covid-19 infections and 1,027 deaths.

The Moscow Times: Russia has passed legislation granting police the right to break into homes and cars without a search warrant. According to the law President Vladimir Putin signed on Tuesday, officers can now enter homes without a warrant even if persons inside are not officially classified as suspects. The latest law grants police officers the power to search personal belongings “if there are grounds to suspect” that they may be holding drugs, explosives or stolen goods. Police can also open vehicles to save lives, fight crime and terrorism, as well as ensure safety during situations of mass unrest or emergencies. Persons who come into contact with Russian police officers are required to give their full names and provide identity documents when asked, according to the law.

The Moscow Times: Russian authorities have published new regulations on the expedited mass burial of humans and animals who die as a result of military conflicts or noncombatant emergencies, stoking already heightened tensions that the country may be preparing to invade Ukraine.

RFE/RL: The Russian human rights group has released new videos purportedly showing instances of torture in a prison hospital for tuberculosis patients in Siberia. The group published the latest clips on YouTube on December 20, saying that they had been recorded in the tuberculosis infirmary No. 1 in the city of Krasnoyarsk.

The Moscow Times: Russian lawmakers seek to declare the fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.” The proposal submitted Monday by the right-wing nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) to the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, borrows from President Vladimir Putin’s famous 2005 remark about the Soviet collapse. It comes ahead of the 30th anniversary of the U.S.S.R.’s disintegration.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Russia has brought criminal charges against Nabi Rakhimov many months after its enforcement officers killed the Uzbek refugee, who was living peacefully in occupied Crimea with his wife and two underage children.  The FSB are claiming that Rakhimov “used force against representatives of the authorities carrying out their duties’ (Article 318 of Russia’s criminal code) and was killed in the confrontation.  There was, however, no reason for the armed operation against Rakhimov and his family, let alone for him to have shown any resistance against a large contingent of armed officers.

Meduza: A Russian court has rejected a petition from the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) to transfer student journalists Alla Gutnikova and Vladimir Metelkin to a remand prison. The two editors from the student journal Doxa have been under pre-trial restrictions since April, and are only allowed to leave their homes for two hours per day (between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.). 

Meduza: In December 2019, “Moscow Case” defendant Egor Lesnykh proposed to his girlfriend Dasha during his final courtroom remarks. The next day, he was sentenced to three years in prison. Egor was charged with assaulting a police officer at a rally after he tried to protect other protesters from being beaten by members of the National Guard. Today, he’s serving his sentence in an open prison near Volgograd; he’s due to be released in June 2022. Approximately once every two months, Dasha is able to visit Egor in prison. Over the course of several weeks, Meduza photographer Evgeny Feldman snapped photos of Dasha before and after one such visit.

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