News of the Day: 24 June 2021

RFE/RL: A founding member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, has been sentenced to 15 days in jail on a charge of “disobeying police” amid a crackdown on the group’s members in recent days. The court sentenced Alyokhina on June 24, two days after she was detained for questioning while traveling to get a vaccination against COVID-19. Police said they took her into custody because they had information “about her plans to perform an unsanctioned protest action on the day of the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union.”

The Moscow Times: Russian human rights activists have criticized the country’s official report to the United Nations regarding its detentions of protesters at this winter’s nationwide pro-Navalny protests, the Kommersant business daily reported Wednesday.  Tens of thousands of Russians protested nationwide in January and February to call for Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s release after he was detained upon his return to Russia from Germany, where he had spent months recovering from a near-fatal poisoning by a miliary-grade nerve agent. Independent monitors said over 11,000 protesters were detained, with widespread reports of police brutality, and over 100 were later convicted on various charges.

HRW: President Putin has told the governor of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, that he should run for another term in the September regional elections. “With your personal participation, immediate and at times direct, Chechnya became one of the safest regions in the Russian Federation,” Putin said, wishing Kadyrov luck with re-election. Not that Kadyrov needs any luck. With the Kremlin’s blessing, Kadyrov’s re-election is largely a foregone conclusion; the climate of fear in Chechnya does not allow for a free or fair election.

RFE/RL: A jailed postgraduate mathematics student at Moscow State University and his former co-defendant, who were found guilty of charges rights groups have called politically motivated, have married in a detention center. The official marriage ceremony for Azat Miftakhov and Yelena Gorban was held in Moscow’s Butyrka detention center on June 23. In January, the 28-year-old mathematician was sentenced to six years in prison after a court in Moscow found him guilty of involvement in an arson attack on the ruling United Russia’s office in Moscow in 2018.

RFE/RL: Russian-imposed authorities in Ukraine’s Crimea have arrested a man on charges of spying for Kyiv, the second person detained for alleged espionage on the peninsula since April. The Kyiv district court in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, said on June 24 that it sent the man, whose identity was not disclosed, to pretrial detention until August 21, after charging him with collecting data on the flights of Russian military planes for Ukrainian intelligence.

Leave a Reply