Boris Altshuler: This has never happened in Moscow before: the crackdown on citizens protesting against construction work in Troitsk Forest

2 February 2022

by Boris Altshuler, head of Right of the Child, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group

Broken arms and legs, beating of women – dozens of thugs hired by the authorities are brutally cracking down on citizens protesting against the construction work in Troitsk Forest as part of a knowingly illegal project to build the largest school in Moscow, in full view of demonstratively inactive police officers. The project was approved by Sergei Sobyanin, who had been deceived by subordinates who hid information about the danger it would pose to the health of pupils at the future school.

For more information, see the attached letter to the President of Russia […].

I still hope that the Russian Federation has a President who will guarantee the observance of human rights and freedoms.

2 February 2022

Letter to V.V. Putin, President of the Russian Federation 

Copied to A.I. Bastrykin, Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia, and S.S. Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow 

Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,

The events of recent days in the Troitsk city district of Moscow, where authorities have summoned mercenaries to suppress public protests against the felling of the protected Troitsk Forest, bring us back to the dark era of the “wild 90s”: the era of weakness of state institutions, lawlessness, the triumph of crime and, indeed, the nominal authority of the President of the Russian Federation Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin – with all due respect to him personally.

Specifically, a large, organised group of people without any official authority has been beating women and breaking protesters’ arms and legs, many of whom had to be taken away by ambulance. And all of this is happening before the eyes of the demonstratively inactive Moscow police.

We saw the results of the anarchy of the 1990s every day in bloody reports from the Chechen Republic. You have succeeded in putting an end to this slaughter and restoring the work of Russian state institutions in general. However, the latest events in the capital, in addition to some other recent events, pose the threat of a renewed collapse of Russian statehood, and the threat that this country’s law enforcement system will focus not on defending the law, but on serving the illegal financial interests of certain influential groups that have arisen alongside official organs of power. This is exactly what happened today with the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office (led by D.G. Popov) and the Moscow Police Department (directed by O.A. Baranov).

In my recent letter to you (reference no. 45801, dated 24 January 2022), I wrote that S.S. Sobyanin, the Mayor of Moscow, had approved a construction project for the largest school in Moscow in the Troitsk Forest – within the noise impact zone of Vnukovo Airport, which will obviously be damaging to the children’s health – based on the criminally punishable falsification of title deeds for this project by officials subordinate to him. Judging by the documents, it can be assumed that V.E. Dudochkin, Head of the Troitsk City Administration, and V.F. Zhidkin, Head of the Department for the Development of New Territories of the City of Moscow, were among them, as well as the leadership of the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office, whose actions concerning the project documents are clearly covered by the criminal offences of ‘Concealment of information about circumstances that pose a danger to human life or health’ (Article 237, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) and ‘Official forgeries’ (Article 292 of the Russian Criminal Code).

Only an investigation and a court can determine the exact perpetrators of these falsifications and forgeries, as well as those guilty of directing mercenaries to conduct physical violence against citizens, with the tacit approval of the Moscow police.

Vladimir Vladimirovich, I respectfully ask you to instruct the Investigative Committee of Russia to investigate the circumstances of this case, the details of which are set out in the attached letter addressed to the committee chairman, A.I. Bastrykin.

Yours sincerely,

Boris Lvovich Altshuler

Chair of the Board of Right of the Child, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group


Translated by Elizabeth Rushton

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