News of the Week

Week-ending 2 February 2024

Russia’s War against Ukraine

Vladimir Kara-Murza, serving 25-years for treason and “fake news” about war in Ukraine, was moved to a new penal colony and placed in solitary confinement. (The Moscow Times, 30/1/24; The Guardian, 29/1/24)

A dissident Russian-Belarusian rock band critical of the war in Ukraine left Thailand for Israel after fears they would be deported to Russia. (The Guardian, 1/2/24; AI, 31/1/24; HRW, 29/1/24; RFE/RL, 30/1/24)

The State Duma approved the third and final reading of a bill allowing confiscation of property and assets of individuals convicted on charges related to laws Russia adopted after February 2022. (RFE/RL, 31/1/24)

The ICJ mostly rejected Ukraine’s claims Russia was financing ‘terrorism’ in east Ukraine, saying only Moscow failed to investigate alleged breaches. The case predates Russia’s 2022 invasion. (The Moscow Times, 31/1/24)

LGBT rights

The SK SOS rights group that assists the LGBT community in Russia said Salman Mukayev from Russia’s Chechnya region, tortured by Chechen police in 2020, was granted asylum in Armenia. (RFE/RL, 30/1/24)

A court in Volgograd region convicted and fined a man for ‘displaying the symbols of an extremist organisation’ after he posted online a photo of an LGBT flag. (The Guardian, 1/2/24; The Moscow Times, 30/1/24)

A court in Nizhny Novgorod jailed Anastasia Yershova for wearing rainbow earrings. (The Moscow Times, 1/2/24)

Media rights

A court in Kazan extended the detention of Alsu Kurmasheva, a journalist of RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service in custody since October 18, until April 5, a move condemned by the CPJ. (RFE/RL, 1/2/24; CPJ, 1/2/24) )

Aleksandr Skvortsov, a reporter for Izhevsky Venik, was kidnapped and threatened over his reporting on combat drone production in the central city of Izhevsk. (The Moscow Times, 2/2/24)

For about hours on the evening of 30 January, Russia experienced an outage that activists and experts said was among the most widespread and far-reaching disruptions the country’s once-freewheeling Internet has ever experienced. (RFE/RL, 31/1/24)

‘Elections’

Russia’s Prosecutor General has declared Russian Election Monitor (REM), a Berlin-based NGO, an “undesirable” organization. (RFE/RL, 1/2/24)

Aleksei Navalny called for a protest against incumbent Vladimir Putin during a presidential election next month by having voters turn out en masse at noon on the voting days. (RFE/RL, 1/2/24)

A pro-war symbol – the Latin letter “V” – and one of President Vladimir Putin’s favorite quotes have been chosen as the official logo and slogan of the 2024 presidential election. (The Moscow Times, 31/1/24)

Russian authorities are taking steps to hinder voting by its citizens living abroad in the upcoming presidential election. (The Moscow Times, 31/1/24)

Deaths in custody

At least 50 people died in Russian pretrial detention centers, special detention centers, courts, police stations, and police cars last year, according a report by Next. (RFE/RL, 31/1/24)

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