OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin 143: Pressure on the Anti-Corruption Foundation, the case against Konstantin Kotov, and more news on the Moscow Case


7 March 2020

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday OVD-Info sends out a mailing with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here.

Aleksei Navalny at a meeting with volunteers in Chelyabinsk. Photo: Evgeny Feldman for the project ‘This is Navalny’

Hi! The authorities are using a range of means to exert pressure on Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), the case against Konstantin Kotov is being heard again, and the Moscow Case is still ongoing.

Changes in the Konstantin Kotov case. The courts have ordered the a review of the case against the activist. The public prosecutor has requested that his sentence be reduced from four years to one. Kotov’s defence consider him to be a political prisoner and are demanding his immediate release.

  • Why does this matter? Civic activist Konstantin Kotov was sentenced under the article on repeated administrative offences at public protests. In practice, he has been convicted for a strictly non-violent protest. The courts sentenced him to four years’ deprivation of liberty, which he is now serving in prison. Afterwards, the Constitutional Court ordered a review of his case.

Continued pressure on the ACF. The Anti-Corruption Foundation, founded by Aleksei Navalny, has been fined 500,000 roubles under the foreign agent law. The courts have also resolved to remove part of the investigation into the head of United Russia’s Moscow branch, Andrei Metelskii. Meanwhile, in the evening of 2nd March, bank accounts belonging to Navalny’s family and to ACF employee Ivan Zhdanov were frozen.

  • Why does this matter? The ACF is well known for its high-profile investigations into corruption among senior Russian government officials and influential oligarchs. The foundation’s director, Aleksei Navalny, is a fierce critic of Putin and his regime. Navalny, like many other ACF employees, is no stranger criminal and administrative charges, arrests and other forms of pressure which might be inspired by the authorities.

The Moscow Case hasn’t gone anywhere. Mikhail Kvasov, from Voronezh, has been fined 270,000 roubles in a criminal case on threatening the judge who sentenced Konstantin Kotov. At the same time, the Tverskoy Court in Moscow has ordered that 100,000 roubles in compensation be paid to a former defendant in the Moscow Case, Daniil Konon, while another former defendant in the same case, Sergey Abanichev, has been denied compensation.

  • Why does this matter? The Moscow Case was the largest prosecution against activists in Moscow since the case of Bolotnaya Square. It led to new protests, as well as to a large-scale public campaign in support of the defendants.

Echoes of the explosion at the Arghangelsk FSB. Individuals who commented on the 2018 explosion in the lobby of the special services in Archangelsk are continuing to face harassment from members of the FSB. In the Archangelsk Region a father of four, Oleg Nemtsev, has been charged with justifying terrorism. Meanwhile, Kaluga-resident Ivan Liubshina has been sentenced to five years and two months in prison on similar charges.

  • Why does this matter? In his suicide note Mikhail Zhlobitskii, who detonated a homemade bomb in the lobby of the Archangelsk FSB, wrote that he did so because of the security forces’ torturing anarchists. The authorities are attempting to shut out any narratives, other than unmitigated condemnation of Zhlobitsky, arising in response to the criminal cases – even simple attempts to understand the problem, which is what Pskov journalist Svetlana Prokoleva did.


How is the European Court of Human Rights ruling in complaints from Russia? Russia is far and away the leader in terms of generating complaints to the European Court of Human Rights. OVD-Info journalist Aleksandra Baeva breaks down the most interesting figures related to freedom of assembly in Russia.

ACF donors interrogated. Law enforcement officers are continuing to look for people who have donated money to the Anti-Corruption Foundation and who would consider themselves victims of the Foundation’s actions. This is in connection with a criminal case on laundering money received by criminal means. OVD-Info spoke to the lawyers who accompanied the defendants to their interrogations. 

Arrested for a lone picket. An environmental activist in Kazan, Marina Shoetova, has been detained for eight days for taking part in a series of lone pickets. The protesters were calling for the resignation of the head of the Ministry for Internal Affairs in Tatarstan, whom they believe disbanded an eco-camp. OVD-Info has published Shoetova’s story about her protest, trial and arrest.


Each day we publish news reports and provide assistance to people who have been arrested. We very much need your assistance. After all, we depend for all our work on your support. Please sign up to make a monthly donation to OVD-Info. That way we can continue to send you your favourite mailing, our Weekly Bulletin. 

Translated by Judith Fagelson

Leave a Reply