OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 178: Arrests at the Russian March

7 November 2020

OVD-Info is a Moscow-based NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests and prosecutions in Russia. Each week OVD-Info publishes a bulletin with the latest news, which is translated here. To receive the mailing in Russian, visit here.

Photo: Georgy Markov

Hi! During the week, protesters from the Russian March were arrested, and a man resembling Jesus Christ was crucified.

Arrests at the Russian March. This year, the authorities did not authorise any version of the traditional 4th November nationalist marches, due to the quarantine. Right-wing activists attempted to hold several unauthorised marches. As a result, the police arrested over 60 people, two of whom were detained on administrative counts. We ran a live feed covering the events.

  • Why do I need to know this? In recent years, the Russian Marches have attracted significantly less participation than they used to 10 years ago. The nationalist movement has become factionalised and divided, much like any other political force in Russia. The authorities’ citing the epidemic as the reason why the Russian March was banned seems cynical, given that other mass events have been authorised and held at the same time in the city. It would seem that the epidemiological restrictions do not apply to them.

Man dies after travelling to court. In the Penza Region Iury Kim, a 60-year-old Jehovah’s Witness, has passed away following a trip to a courthouse, which he had visited as a result of an earlier search of his home. On 11th October, Kim and several other Jehovah’s Witnesses were searched as part of a criminal case on organised extremism. On 30th October, he went to the Penza courthouse which had authorised the searches. After returning from court, he was suddenly taken ill.

  • Why does this matter? No matter what you think of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, you cannot claim that they advocate for violence or spread extremist ideas. Prosecution of the sect’s followers in Russia must cease. In the case of Iury Kim, the state is responsible for indirectly causing the death of an older man who had never done anyone any actual harm.

Man dressed as Jesus Christ detained on Moscow’s Square. Performance activist Pavel Krisevich was being crucified as part of an art protest in support of political prisoners near to the FSB headquarters on Lubyanka Square. Afterwards, the authorities were of course not afraid of Krisevich’s image and detained him. He was given a 15-day sentence by the court. 

  • Why do I need to know this? Just the famous incident wen Peter Pavlenskii set fire to the FSB’s doors, this protest is a reminder of who is in charge of political repression in the country and who they use as their main tool. And this is important.

Searches at the Anti-Corruption Foundation. The offices of both the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) and Navalny Live have been searched in connection with charges of contempt of court against the ACF’s director Ivan Zhdanov. Yet, according to Zhdanov’s lawyer, the bailiffs had not informed him of potential charges against him.

  • Why does this matter? The events surrounding Navalny and the structures that are associated with him will always be important as a reminder of the lie of the political land in Russia. An attempt was made on Navalny’s life by the special services or someone acting on their orders; multiple FSB officers as well as Navalny’s staff all over the country are growing exhausted of the interrogations, criminal cases, searches and frozen bank accounts. Against this backdrop of widespread repression, it is difficult to see the new case against Zhdanov as anything other than a part of the political pressure on Navalny and his staff.


Every day we take phone calls on our hotline, publish news and features about political repression in Russia, release guidance, reports and podcasts. Our lawyers handle criminal cases and submit complaints to the ECHR, while our IT-team works day in, day out to make our services more user-friendly. All of this can happen thanks to your support. Please sign up to make a monthly donation to OVD-Info. That way we can continue work and to send you your favourite mailing and more.

Translated by Judith Fagelson

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