News of the Day: 23 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Thursday reported 21,438 new coronavirus cases and 820 deaths.

Amnesty International: “Aleksandr Gabyshev has become a symbol of grassroots resistance to the increasingly repressive government of Vladimir Putin, so it is not surprising that the authorities went to such extreme lengths to silence him and smear his name. Once again, the authorities are using ‘psychiatric care’ as a punishment – a method tried and tested during Soviet times.”

RFE/RL: Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), has ratcheted up the charges against jailed Crimean Tatar politician Nariman Dzhelyal over the alleged sabotage of a pipeline last month.

RFE/RL: A Russian court has rejected jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s appeal to annul his designation as a “flight risk,” which subjects him to hourly nighttime checks while he is incarcerated.

The Moscow Times: Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny accused Google and Apple Thursday of acting as the Kremlin’s “accomplices” after the companies removed his voting app during the country’s parliamentary election last week.

The Moscow Times: A group of Russian parliamentary candidates said Thursday they are uniting to abolish electronic voting and called for nationwide rallies to protest the results of last weekend’s elections.

The Moscow Times: Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of southern Russia’s republic of Chechnya, will extend his 14-year rule over the conservative Muslim-majority region after sweeping the ballot with 99.7% of the votes.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Oleh Prykhodko’s family are increasingly concerned that they have heard nothing from the 63-year-old Ukrainian political prisoner since May of this year.  Prykhodko has serious health issues, and there have long been problems with prison staff not passing on the medication which his family sends.  Prykhodko is also imprisoned for his unconcealed opposition to Russia’s occupation of his native Crimea and he is quite likely to face particularly bad treatment in what is already the harshest form of Russian imprisonment.

The Moscow Times: On a hot autumn day, a sun-baked Tbilisi square feels a world away from cold and blustery St. Petersburg, where Ivan Pavlov is used to running between courtrooms defending some of the Kremlin’s harshest critics. “I have had to readjust my life, which has not been easy, I have had to start all over. But Georgia has been good to me,” Pavlov told The Moscow Times as he sat in a cafe serving khachapuri, the country’s famous cheese bread.

The Moscow Times: Moscow election officials on Thursday said they found no evidence of wrongdoing in online voting in parliamentary elections after a technical recount of the votes.

RFE/RL: The United States’ mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has criticized Russia’s recent national elections as taking place under conditions “not conducive to free or fair” voting and called Moscow’s claims of outside interference as “baseless allegations” to distract from a flawed process.

Civil Rights Defenders: The Russian human rights and media project OVD-Info is awarded the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award 2021. OVD-Info is a lifeline for the thousands of people who suffer from political persecution in Russia. For 10 years, they have been publishing data on arrests of peaceful demonstrators and assisting them with legal aid. OVD-Info receives the prize for their courage to speak up against human rights violations in Russia – a country where the space for dissidence is shrinking at a rapid pace.

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