News of the Week

Week-ending 5 April 2024

Russia’s War on Ukraine

On 2 April an intergovernmental conference, Restoring Justice for Ukraine, opened in The Hague to discuss efforts to prosecute alleged Russian war crimes. (RFE/RL, 2/4/24)

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that more than 100,000 people have signed up to fight as contract soldiers in the war against Ukraine this year. (The Moscow Times, 3/4/24)

Kurier.Sreda, an independent newspaper in Novosibirsk region, announced its closure after 20 years due to “unbearable” wartime censorship. (The Mosow Times, 3/4/24)

Aleksei Navalny

Hackers claim to have broken into the Russian prisoner database and displayed pictures of anti-Kremlin activist Aleksei Navalny while also stealing information on hundreds of thousands of Russian prisoners and their relatives. (RFE/RL, 1/4/24)

Justice system

The Nobel-Prize-winning Memorial human rights group expressed concern over the condition of its jailed co-founder Oleg Orlov, recently imprisoned for criticizing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (The Moscow Times, 1/4/24)

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation, said Russian authorities must immediately drop all criminal charges against human rights defender Oleg Orlov and quash the unjust court ruling against him. (OHCHR, 4/4/24)

A court in the Russian city of Perm on April 4 handed a three-year suspended prison term to Aleksandr Chernyshov, the former chief of the Center of Historic Memory, the successor entity of the Nobel Prize-winning Memorial human rights group. (RFE/RL, 3/4/24)

A court in Russia on April 1 extended the pretrial detention of RFE/RL journalist Alsu Kurmasheva until June 5, RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service reports. (RFE/RL, 1/4/24)

Soviet-era dissident Aleksandr Skobov, arrested on April 2 in St. Petersburg, was remanded in custody on a charge of promoting terrorism. (RFE/RL, 3/4/24, 5/4/24)

A Russian defense lawyer says jailed opposition activist Ilya Yashin has again been ordered to a punishment cell for allegedly violating prison rules. (RFE/RL, 5/4/24)

The owner of a popular gay bar in the Russian city of Orenburg has been arrested for “extremism”, rights groups said. (The Moscow Times, 31/3/24)

Investigators opened a probe into the disappearance of Seda Suleimanova, a Chechen woman feared murdered for refusing an arranged marriage. (The Moscow Times, 4/4/24)

President Putin’s former university classmate and deputy chief justice of Russia’s Supreme Court Irina Podnosova has been nominated as the sole candidate to head the Supreme Court after the recent death of its longtime chairman. (The Moscow Times, 1/4/24)

Crocus City Hall attack

Askhab Uspanov, a Chechen man detained after the Crocus City Hall attack, who died in police custody committed suicide custody, Chechya’s rights chief Mansur Soltaev said. Previous reports alleged he was tortured to death. (The Moscow Times, 2/4/24; 4/4/24)

A U.S. intelligence warning to Moscow two weeks ahead of a deadly March 22 terrorist attack included a specific reference to the Crocus City Hall concert venue that was targeted, The Washington Post reported on April 2. (RFE/RL, 3/4/24)

Havana Syndrome

A Russian intelligence unit is likely the origin of mysterious so-called Havana syndrome symptoms – including brain injuries and hearing loss – experienced by US diplomats in recent years. (The Guardian, 1/4/24)