5 December 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.
Hi! Sometimes it happens that OVD-Info has good news to write about, too: journalist Anastasia Lotareva has had a large fine cancelled. At the same time, the performance activist who crucified himself has been kicked out of university, and a convict in the New Greatness case has been sent to prison before his appeal.
Public prosecution visits Memorial. Employees from the public prosecutor’s office decided to check whether Memorial is following the law on NGOs. The checks procedure will last almost a month, and yet the public prosecutor came after Memorial literally an hour before the start of a conference on new prohibitive measures from the State Duma, which would tighten the laws on NGOs.
- Why do I need to know this? Unfortunately, the activities of NGOs in Russia is linked with various different difficulties, such as propaganda stigmatising “foreign agents”, or constant fines and other obstacles from the law enforcement agencies. The state views NGOs – especially human rights NGOs – as its enemies. This situation does not seem likely to change much in the near future.
Pussy Riot activists in Moscow detained for 20 days. Rita Flores, who took part in a performance protest entitled “Caution, fragile” highlighting police violence, is to spend almost three weeks in a special detention centre. Maria Alekhina and Farhad Israfilli-Gelman, who also took part in the performance, were issued with administrative charges that did not warrant detention.
- Why does this matter? The eternal question is: who cares is if one person, dressed as a police officer, sellotapes another – with mutual consent – to a pillar? What harm could these innocent acts bring to anyone? The law on public events in Russia is deeply repressive, and gives the authorities multiple grounds for stamping out practically any activity they dislike.
Court cancelled fine against Takiye Dela editor-in-chief. The Moscow city court has cancelled a 200,000 rouble fine issued to Anastasia Lotareva for picketing in support of journalist and member of parliament Ilia Azar. Lotareva had previously been convicted of breaching the law governing public events. The police report stated that Lotareva had taken part in a so-called “cover type of collective public event”.
- Why does this matter? Sometimes we have good news, too! At least, temporarily – the case has been returned to the court of first instance where the fine may be reinstated. Although much of the work that OVD-Info’s lawyers and advocates undertakes may seem fruitless in the grand scheme of the domestic justice system, it fulfils an important role in pushing for incremental change. If the government is ever to understand that its practices around protests are flawed, then we must continue explaining this through real cases and trials.
In “Christ’s” image. Performance activist Pavel Krisevich mounted a protest against political repression in the Lubyanka Prison, which involved dressing as Jesus Christ and being crucified. He was then expelled from his university. In addition to that, he was attacked by unknown assailants and the FSB are looking to speak to him. Correspondent from the St Petersburg branch of the Echo of Moscow radio station, Sergei Kagermazov, recorded Krisevich delivering a monologue about how his life has changed since his crucifixion.
A lawyer’s take on unlawful transfer. Pavel Rebrovskii, who was convicted as part of the New Greatness case, has been transferred from remand to the prison where he will serve his sentence, even though his sentence has not yet entered into legal force, since there has been no appeal hearing. Lawyer Maria Eismont explained to OVD-Info why her client’s transfer is unlawful.
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