News of the Day: 27 July 2021

RFE/RL: The former leader of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s team in St. Petersburg, Irina Fatyanova, says she has been barred from taking part in upcoming elections because of her ties to the Kremlin critic. The head of Fatyanova’s campaign, Ilya Lyubimov, said that the election commission of Russia’s second-largest city made the decision on July 27 after receiving a request from the Justice Ministry to disqualify Fatyanova.

The Moscow Times: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny Tuesday called on supporters to mobilize ahead of key parliamentary polls after authorities blocked dozens of websites linked to his opposition movement. On Monday, Russia’s media regulator barred 49 websites linked to Navalny including his main website as pressure mounts on opponents of President Vladimir Putin ahead of September parliamentary elections. Navalny associates expect the authorities to soon also target a website dedicated to “Smart Voting” — a proposed strategy to back candidates best placed to defeat Kremlin-linked politicians in elections.

RFE/RL: A Russian court in the southwestern city of Rostov-on-Don has handed lengthy prison terms to the first group of individuals from the North Caucasus region of North Ossetia who took part in a massive rally in April 2020 protesting coronavirus measures. The Lenin district court on July 27 found Artur Bugulov, Magomed Kadyrov, David Okruashvili, Aslan Gasiyev, and Zaza Tsaritov guilty of taking part in mass disorder and sentenced them to prison terms of between 5 years and 5 1/2 years.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Libraries and book shops in Russia and, presumably in occupied Crimea, have been feverishly purging their shelves since a new law came into force making it a criminal offence to equate the actions of the USSR and Nazi Germany during the Second World War.   Since the two regimes collaborated until 22 June 1941, with both invading Poland in September 1939, the censoring of history will not be easy. Novaya Gazeta writes that the panic began on 12 July, after the relevant bill, which was signed by President Vladimir Putin on 1 July, came into force. As reported, the bill first tabled in the State Duma on 5 May on Amendments to the Law ‘On immortalizing the Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945’, bans any public statements likening the roles played by the USSR and Nazi Germany in World War II.  On 12 July, amendments were also made to the Federal Law ‘On countering extremist activities’ which prohibit not only the use of symbols linked with Nazi criminals, but also their pictures.

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