News of the Day: 21 July 2021

RFE/RL: Police in Moscow have detained two former members of jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s team and extended the house arrest of his spokeswoman as a state pressure campaign against civil society groups continues. With opinion polls indicating waning support for the Kremlin-backed ruling United Russia party, the authorities have ramped up pressure on dissent ahead of the September elections.

The Moscow Times: A Moscow court on Wednesday extended by six months the house arrest of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s spokeswoman, a top ally said. Russia will hold parliamentary elections in September, and ahead of the polls authorities declared Navalny’s organizations extremist and barred his allies from running.

RFE/RL: A Russian court has extended the pretrial detention of the former executive director of the pro-democracy Open Russia movement, Andrei Pivovarov. The court in the southern city of Krasnodar on July 21 ordered Pivovarov be remanded in custody until October 29. Noted Russian rights defenders and opposition politicians Lev Ponomaryov, Yulia Galyamina, Aleksei Minyailo, Marina Litvinovich had traveled from Moscow to Krasnodar to support Pivovarov, but the court session was held behind closed doors.

RFE/RL: A former Russian policeman who criticized security officials for their treatment of protesters supporting Aleksei Navalny says he has been charged for insulting a government official. Sergei Rimsky said on July 20 that the Investigative Committee had informed him of the charge, which stems from an incident in April when he demanded officers respect the rights of those they were detaining, including him, at a rally for the country’s leading opposition figure.

RFE/RL: Events moved quickly at the offices of the municipal newspaper in this Sakhalin Island port town of some 10,000 people on July 14. About 10 a.m., two deputy directors of the Eastern Mining Company (VGK), Aleksandr Bosoi and Andrei Motovilov, showed up at the office of newspaper Editor in Chief Zinaida Makarova to discuss “the direction” of the paper’s coverage of the company.

RFE/RL: Moscow says Russian passport holders in parts of eastern Ukraine that are controlled by Russia-backed separatists will be able to vote online in upcoming Russian parliamentary elections. According to a resolution adopted by Russia’s Central Election Commission on July 20, Russian passport-holding residents in separatist-controlled areas of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions will have to register and cast their vote online if they want to take part in the September 19 elections.

Front Line Defenders: On 19 July 2021, the Moscow City Court rejected Ivan Pavlov’s lawyer’s appeal and left the restriction measures against the human rights lawyer unchanged. Ivan Pavlov has been under criminal investigation since April 2021, when he was accused of “disclosure of the data of a preliminary investigation” relating to one of his clients, former journalist Ivan Safronov. On 16 July 2021 Roskomnadzor blocked the website of the human rights lawyer’s organisation, Team 29, based on a request from the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation. According to the notification of the Prosecutor General’s Office, they identified Team 29 with an NGO called Společnost Svobody Informace registered in the Czech Republic, which is included in the list of undesirable organizations. Based on this, the Team 29 members were forced to suspend the work of the organisation in order to protect its team who may be targeted because of the connection with the  “undesirable” organization.

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