News of the Day: 21 June 2021

The Guardian: The UN rights chief has called for concerted action to recover from the worst global deterioration of rights she had seen, highlighting the situation in China, Russia and Ethiopia among others. “To recover from the most wide-reaching and severe cascade of human rights setbacks in our lifetimes, we need a life-changing vision, and concerted action,” Michelle Bachelet told the opening of the UN Human Rights Council’s 47th session. […] Bachelet also criticised recent measures by the Kremlin shrinking the space for opposing political views and access to participation in September elections. She highlighted the recent moves to dismantle the movement of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Barring his organisations from working in the country, a Moscow court earlier this month branded them as “extremist” in a ruling Bachelet said was “based on vaguely defined allegations of attempting to change the foundations of constitutional order”. Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has signed legislation outlawing staff, members and sponsors of “extremist” groups from running in parliamentary elections. “I call on Russia to uphold civil and political rights,” Bachelet said.

RFE/RL: Police have demanded that a court force the former coordinator for jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s team in the Russian city of Yaroslavl to cover the amount of money spent to disperse a rally to support the Kremlin critic in January. Yelena Lekiashvili said on June 20 that the Yaroslavl city police department want her to pay 510,000 rubles ($7,000), which, according to the police department, would reimburse the labor costs for 204 police officers who had to work at the demonstration on January 23.

Human Rights in Ukraine: At least seven men who defended Ukraine against Russia and its proxies in Donbas have been placed under Ukrainian ‘sanctions’. The six Chechens and one Dagestani now face deportation, although they are all citizens of the Russian Federation and would certainly face persecution and torture in Russia for their support of Ukraine. 

RFE/RL: The director of Chechnya’s state television has issued death threats against the “enemies” of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov. Chingiz Akhmadov, head of the Grozny State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, said in an Instagram video on June 21 that he stands “with Ramzan Kadyrov.” “If someone needs to be killed, someone who deserves death, then we will kill. If it is necessary to say a word, then we will say the word,” he said. Akhmadov said any “enemy of Ramzan Kadyrov is the enemy of the Chechen people,” and personally his enemy.

RFE/RL: A Russian national detained in April in Ukraine’s Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula on espionage charges has been transferred to Moscow. The Moscow Lefortovo district court on June 21 said that Yevgeny Petrushin’s pretrial detention had been extended until September 20 after he was transferred from Crimea to the Russian capital last week. According to the court, Petrushin was arrested on April 21 in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

The Moscow Times: Two weeks after 82-year-old Kirill Kruchkov died of Covid-19  in the Tula region, 200 kilometers south of Moscow, his family received a phone call from Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s state consumer protection watchdog. “They told us lab tests showed that grandpa died of the Indian strain. I was very confused. He hasn’t been to India,” said his grandson Mikhail, who shared documents showing the results with The Moscow Times. Like most Russians, the Kruchkov family had heard little of the Delta variant, a highly infectious strain of the coronavirus, first registered in India.

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