OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 190: Navalny, his supporters and the criminal law

20 February 2021

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.

Illustration: Marina Margarina for OVD-Info

Hi! One remand centre has deemed Navalny a flight risk, while another is pressuring a detained Anti-Corruption Foundation cameraman.

We want to break down the so-called “Fortress” – our petition against police brutality has gathered 110,000 signatures. If you haven’t got round to signing it yet, make sure you do – we will present our demands to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and to the human rights ombudsman.

There’s a brief pause at the moment from mass protests and mass arrests, but our work is continuing full steam ahead. Here’s the week’s news. 

Following the protests in January and early February, the state has been pressing criminal charges against protesters left, right and centre. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has reported 90 cases with varying criminal charges, including charges for assault against police officers. At the same time, the state is turning a blind eye to assaults against members of the public on the part of the security forces, even though we know of at least 140 such cases. Click here to read our guide to the people who are facing criminal charges.

Navalny deemed flight risk in jail. The management of the remand centre where Aleksey Navalny is being held have registered him as a potential flight risk. This means that he will be subjected to additional measures while in detention. Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights has called for Navalny’s immediate release.

ACF cameraman under pressure in jail. Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACD) director Ivan Zhdanov has said that his employee, Pavel Zelensky, has been facing pressure while on remand in the Kapotnya jail. Zelensky has been detained on charges of inciting extremism because of his Tweets about Irina Slavina, the journalist who set herself alight. Pavel declined legal support from Agora international human rights group and pled guilty to all the charges. 

Jehovan’s Witnesses searched, again. All over the country, members of the Jehovah’s Witness community are continuing to face persecution. This is one of the largest-scale campaigns of political persecution in Russia’s recent history. This time, Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Vladimir Region had their homes searched, and 14 people were arrested by the security forces.

Finally, our analysts have released a new report summarising the events of the last few weeks. It looks at the various offences committed by state bodies during the protests, with all the stats as well as some concrete examples. Have a read here.


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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