CSO of the Week: Pervyi Otdel [‘First Department’]

Week-ending 24 December 2021

On 20 December 2021 [‘Chekists’ Day’ – the professional day of those working in Russia’s security services, commemorating the day of the founding of the Cheka in 1917 [7 December Old Style] human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov, now in exile, announced the launch of a new civil society group – Pervyi otdel [First Department], an ‘open community of lawyers and human rights activists’ specializing in the legal defence of persons accused of treason or espionage in Russia. The name is a reference to the First Department of the Investigative Directorate of the FSB that investigates cases of treason and espionage, to the First Department of the courts that deals with trials of such cases, and to the First Department of companies that handles the classification of documents. Ivan Pavlov formerly headed Team 29, a human rights initiative closed under official pressure in July 2021 that promoted access to information and provided legal support in cases of politically motivated prosecutions for treason or espionage.


Первый отдел website: https://dept.one/

Первый отдел Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dept.one/

Meduza, 20 December 2021: Exiled human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov has launched a new legal group that specializes in defending those accused of treason and espionage in Russia. Pavlov, who fled abroad to escape criminal charges in September, previously led Team 29 — a similar human rights initiative that tackled some of Russia’s most challenging political prosecutions. The group disbanded in July 2021, to protect its members and supporters from persecution. Pavlov’s new project, dubbed “Pervy Otdel” (which translates as “First Department” or “Department One”) also aims to take on cases that are handled “behind closed doors” and will function in cooperation with colleagues working “on the ground” in Russia.

Meduza, 20 December 2021: Activists from Gulagu.net (No to the Gulag) have obtained and released new footage further evidencing the torture and abuse of inmates in Russian prisons.  On Monday, December 20, the human rights group published a new video on YouTube that allegedly shows incidents of torture in a prison colony in Krasnoyarsk. Gulagu.net activists said that this “footage is from a new component of the secret FSB/FSIN video archive.”

RFE/RL, 21 December 2021: The Russian human rights group Gulagu.net has released new videos purportedly showing instances of torture in a prison hospital for tuberculosis patients in Siberia. The group published the latest clips on YouTube on December 20, saying that they had been recorded in the tuberculosis infirmary No. 1 in the city of Krasnoyarsk.

Leave a Reply