News of the Day: 21 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Tuesday reported 19,179 new coronavirus cases and 812 deaths.

The Guardian: The European court of human rights has ruled that Russia was responsible for the 2006 murder by radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London .

RFE/RL: Jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has accused the Kremlin of using “intimidation and repression” to steal parliamentary elections that saw the ruling United Russia party retain its constitutional majority amid widespread reports of voting irregularities and ballot tampering.

RFE/RL: Full preliminary results released by the Central Election Commission on September 20 showed that United Russia, the political party tied at the hip to the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin, retained its supermajority in the Duma and was set to hold 324 of the chamber’s 450 seats.

RFE/RL: Half of all the votes cast for the ruling party in Russia’s parliamentary elections were likely fraudulent, according to analysis by independent statisticians.

The Moscow Times: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said Tuesday that a fight for a democratic Russia was a long game after the opposition accused authorities of voter fraud during parliamentary polls.

The Moscow Times: Members of Russia’s Communist Party gathered in the pouring rain in central Moscow on Monday evening after parliamentary election results showed their candidates seeing their initial strong leads reverse.

EU-Russia Civil Society Forum: The Board of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum is dismayed at the continuous degradation of the electoral process in Russia, as well as numerous cases of violations at the elections of various levels held on 17-19 September 2021. We demand from the Russian authorities and the Central Election Commission (CEC) to investigate all cases of the protocolled violations and to come back to the practice of real democratic elections.

Civil Rights Defenders: On 17-19 September, Russians headed to the polls to elect representatives to the Russian Parliament. The election, however, was tainted by the Russian government’s systematic oppression of the country’s civil society, independent media and political opposition. With multiple political opponents detained, prosecuted or forced to leave the country, the pro-Putin party United Russia is on course to retain its two-thirds majority in the parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma.  

Front Line Defenders: On September 17, 2021, the Soviet District Court of the City of Nizhnii Novgorod charged human rights defender Igor Kalyapin with “participation in the activities of an undesirable organization” under Article 20.33 of the Code of Civic Conduct of the Russian Federation and fined the human rights defender 10,000 Russian Roubles. Igor Kalyapin and his lawyers will appeal this decision.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Serhiy Lyulin was seized by FSB officers while in Russia, thrown into the boot of a minivan and driven, in handcuffs and bound with scotch tape, for 16 hours to occupied Simferopol.  He is one of an ever-increasing number of Crimean Jehovah’s Witnesses facing violent FSB ‘operations’ and imprisonment for worshipping together and discussing the Bible.  Lyulin is now remanded in custody, in a ‘special bloc’ cell with world-respected Crimean Tatar leader and political prisoner Nariman Dzhelyal.

RFE/RL: British police have filed charges against a third person in the Novichok assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal, the former Russian double agent who was poisoned in 2018.

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