OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 195: Navalny may lose a leg, but the prison is withholding treatment.

27 March 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 by Olya Terekhova for OVD-Info

Hi! Navalny is suffering with pain in his back and his leg, but the prison system is denying him medical treatment. Meanwhile, Galiamina has been stripped of her status as a member of parliament, and more people are being tortured with electric shocks in Crimea.

Mark Galperin is free! Let’s start with some good news – civic activist Mark Galperin, who has featured in many of OVD-Info’s articles, has been released from a prison camp. Galperin had been given a two-year suspended sentence for inciting extremism, but this was then changed into an actual prison sentence. The charges were raised on the grounds of a speech he gave in Red Square, calling for a peaceful revolution. According to the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoner, his words did not contain any incitement of violence.

Aleksey Navalny’s health has severely deteriorated. The politician’s lawyers, who have managed to see him in the Pokrov prison where he is being held, have reported that he is suffering with severe pain in his back and his right leg, and that his leg is no longer functional and will be amputated below the knee. This has been going on for four weeks, but until now, Navalny had requested that it be kept private. He is being denied access to the treatment he needs, he does not have the medication he was taking before his arrest, and the prison is refusing to let an independent medical specialist in to help him. What’s more, the prison administration reprimanded Navalny for getting up too early and have started waking him up eight times a night as a preventative measure.

Galiamina stripped of her status as a member of parliament. A council of parliamentarians from the Timiryazevsky district of Moscow have stripped Yulia Galiamina of her status as a municipal deputy. The reason for this was her conviction for repeat offences at rallies: in December, she was given a two-year suspended sentence. Galiamina is one of the most politically active municipal deputies in the city, and the criminal case against her was most likely a form of revenge for her activism.

Crimean detainee tortured with electric shocks. According to Ukrainian media outlet Graty, FSB officers spent two days torturing Ukrainian citizen Vladislav Osipenko with electric shocks. Osipenko had been detained on suspicion of manufacturing explosives. While under torture, Osipenko was forced to confess and to give an interview to the state TV channel. He then reported that he had been tortured and retracted his previous statement and made use of Article 51 of the Constitution, which allows citizens not to incriminate themselves.


Picket in the mountains. On 31st January, when protests were held across Russia, Daniil Dvinsky held a lone picket on Mount Elbrus in support of Navalny. Police officers from Kabardino-Balkaria arrested him and his girlfriend and threatened to plant illegal substances on them. OVD-Info has published Daniil’s version of events.

Students threatened with expulsion. Tatiana Perova, chair of Moscow’s Butrysky District Court, has started doing something new: sending universities copies of administrative orders issued to students who were detained at protests. She threatened Maria Nemovaya, one of the lawyers defending these students on behalf of OVD-Info, with this. Maria tells us about what happened.

Questioned by the FSB for a lone picket. Vladimir Kostiukovich, a Navalny supporter from the small town of Dalnegorsk in the Primorsky Region, held a lone picket in solidarity with the politician on 23rd January. He was detained, and questioned at the police station by people who introduced themselves as FSB officers. They tried to find out whether Kostiukovich was being paid by Khodorkovsky or Chichvarkin. OVD-Info has published his story.


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Translated by Judith Fagelson

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