Week-ending 24 December 2021
The ‘foreign agent’ law remains an instrument widely used by the Russian authorities to repress freedom of expression and freedom of association. The court proceedings to close down the International Memorial Society and the Memorial Human Rights Centre based on alleged violations of the ‘foreign agent’ law continued. Mayak, an organisation providing legal assistance and counselling to LGBT people in Russia’s Far East was registered as a ‘foreign agent’. on 17 December 2021. The Prague-based Medium-Orient news agency was fined 500,000 roubles in Russia for alleged violation of the ‘foreign agent’ law by the online Caucasus Times, which it owns. Dmitry Muratov, editor in chief of Novaya gazeta and co-laureate of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, denounced the ‘foreign agent’ law as ‘a filthy stigma that the authorities try to hang on all of their opponents.’
RFE/RL, 18 December 2021: An organization that provides legal and counseling assistance to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Russia’s Far East has been listed as a “foreign agent.” The nonprofit organization Mayak, which says it has been operating in Russia since 2016, was added to the Justice Ministry’s list of “unregistered public associations performing the functions of a foreign agent” on December 17.
RFE/RL, 20 December 2021: The Prague-based MEDIUM-ORIENT news agency has been fined in Russia for failing to follow the requirements of Russia’s controversial “foreign agent” law. Islam Tekushev, the editor in chief of the online Caucasus Times journal founded by MEDIUM-ORIENT, told RFE/RL that he was informed on December 20 of a ruling a week earlier by the Taganka district court to fine the journal 500,000 rubles ($6,730) for violating the law on “foreign agents.”
RFE/RL, 23 December 2021: The Moscow City Court started hearings on a prosecutor’s request to shut down one of Russia’s oldest rights watchdogs, the Memorial Human Rights Center. Some 25 journalists were allowed to follow the December 23 hearing from a special room outside the courtroom.
FIDH, 20 December 2021: On the eve of the next hearing in the Memorial Human Rights Centre on 16 December 2021, the International Federation for Human Rights has filed an extra-procedural appeal to Moscow City Court in support of the Memorial Human Rights Centre. In its appeal, the Federation asks the Court to dismiss the suit filed by the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office to liquidate the Memorial Human Rights Centre.
FIDH, 20 December 2021: On the eve of the next hearing in the case against International Memorial on 14 December 2021, the International Federation for Human Rights has filed an extra-procedural appeal to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in support of the organization International Memorial. In its appeal, the Federation asks the Court to dismiss the suit filed by the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office to liquidate International Memorial. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation received a total of 26 appeals in support of the organization.
RFE/RL, 22 December 2021: The editor in chief of Russia’s Novaya gazeta, who shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, has denounced the Russian government’s so-called “foreign agents” law as “a filthy stigma that the authorities try to hang on all of their opponents.”
The Moscow Times, 21 December 2021: Russia has passed legislation granting police the right to break into homes and cars without a search warrant. According to the law President Vladimir Putin signed on Tuesday, officers can now enter homes without a warrant even if persons inside are not officially classified as suspects. The latest law grants police officers the power to search personal belongings “if there are grounds to suspect” that they may be holding drugs, explosives or stolen goods. Police can also open vehicles to save lives, fight crime and terrorism, as well as ensure safety during situations of mass unrest or emergencies. Persons who come into contact with Russian police officers are required to give their full names and provide identity documents when asked, according to the law.
The Moscow Times, 21 December 2021: Russian authorities have published new regulations on the expedited mass burial of humans and animals who die as a result of military conflicts or noncombatant emergencies, stoking already heightened tensions that the country may be preparing to invade Ukraine.