8 May 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.
Hi! One of the so-called “Kansk teenagers” has been released from jail, Julia Tsvetkova declared a hunger strike, and criminal charges have been issued against “Vesna” (Spring) activist.
New case under Dadin’s law. Aleksandr Kashevarov, the eighteen-year-old who coordinates the Cheliabinsk branch of the “Vesna” (Spring) movement, is facing criminal charges for repeated breaches of the law governing public rallies (Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code). He was arrested in Ekaterinburg airport while boarding a flight to Yerevan, where he had been planning to spend the May holidays. He was later given court-issued ban on leaving the city.
- Why do I need to know this? This is not the first time that Kashevarov has faced pressure from the security forces because of his activism – he had been arrested before, for advertising a rally in memory of Boris Nemtsov. Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code is an unconstitutional way of putting pressure on activists who are troublesome to the authorities. This article must be repealed and forgotten about.
Julia Tsvetkova goes on hunger strike. The artist, who has been fighting ongoing charges of distributing pornography for several years, went on hunger strike to demand an end to the protracted case. Tsvetkova also wanted an audience to be admitted to the court hearings, and for a public defender to take part in the trial. The activist ended her hunger strike after a week at the request of doctors and her loved ones.
- Why does this matter? Firstly, Tsvetkova’s prosecution itself is unjust – the case was initiated in response to a complaint from well-known LGBT hater and informant Timur Bulatov about her drawings of genitals, published in an online forum called the Vagina Monologues. Secondly, the state has been tormenting Julia and her mother since 2019, even though this whole story could have been resolved long ago. This is quite simply the state making a mockery of an individual whose actions have caused no harm to anyone.
One of the “Kansk teenagers” released from jail. 15-year-old Nikita Uvarov, who had been charged with manufacturing explosive devices and taking part in terrorism training, has been released from jail, after his detention was deemed unlawful. He spent 11 months behind bars.
- Why do I need to know this? The case of the “Kansk teenagers” is just another example of how the FSB like to create their own work and reap rewards for it. First, charges were issued under the article on forming terrorist organisations – the teenagers allegedly constructed the FSB buildings in a game of Minecraft and were planning on blowing them up. Those charges were later dropped, although other charges against the defendants remain in place. It recently emerged that another person has been charged in the case.
We held a livestream together with Novaya Gazeta and 7×7, which lasted for over 6 hours! The stream was initially blocked, which is why we moved the broadcast from Novaya Gazeta’s channel over to our own. We have already gathered 26,000 signatures on our petition calling for the Palace Case – the name given to the wave of prosecutions following last winter’s pro-Navalny protests – to be dropped. With your signature, we’d have even more. You can watch a recording of the livestream here (and yes, there is some music!)
Tightening of laws governing extremist activity. Meanwhile, the State Duma has passed a bill which would ban people with prior involvement in “extremist activity” to stand for election as members of the Duma. The law is expected to be applied retroactively: even if you donated money to the Anti-Corruption Foundation before it was classed as an extremist organisation, you will still be barred from standing. We’ve gathered opinions from our lawyers about this latest restriction 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