OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 203: New sentences, old health problems.

22 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.

Illustration by Lena Nabokova for OVD-Info

Hi! A sentence for the new socialist leader, political firings, and difficulties with healthcare access in prison.

Leader of the New Socialism movement given suspended sentence. Nikolai Platoshkin has been found guilty of inciting public unrest and spreading disinformation. He was given a five-year suspended sentence and a 700,000-rouble fine. The investigation claims that the political commentator posted a video on his own channels in which he encouraged people to deliberately breach Covid laws shared disinformation about the coronavirus. Platoshkin had been under house arrest until the trial.

  • Why do I need to know this? Platoshkin has 600,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel and countless supporters all over the country. A video in which Platoshkin calls for people to join his movement was used as evidence against him in the case. Platoshkin’s prosecution looks like an attempt to curb the political freedoms of this popular blogger and his supporters in the run-up to the elections.

Defendant in the Palace Case given prison sentence. The Tverskoy District Court has sentenced Evgeny Esenov to four years behind bars. Esenov was arrested after a pro-Navalny protest on 23rd January, and accused of striking a police officer several times over the head during the rally.

  • Why does this matter? The Palace Case is one of the largest-scale political prosecutions targeting protesters. Esenov’s sentence is the most severe in this current wave of repression. As ever, not one instance of brutality or illegal activity on the part of the authorities was investigated. At the same time, the actions of protesters are studied with a microscopic lens, and the tiniest opportunity for a criminal case is jumped upon, of course.

Health of prisoner convicted in Artpodgotovka case sharply deteriorates. Oleg Dmitriev, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for terrorism convictions in relation to a plan to douse the Kremlin in petrol and set it alight, is suffering from an untreated leg fracture. For several years now, he has been refused the help he needs, and the consequences of his injury are now so severe that he can barely move around the Sverdlovsk Oblast prison where he is being held. Dmitriev is constantly being put into solitary confinement for skipping meals at the canteen, as his injury prevents him from climbing the stairs.

  • Why do I need to know this? Many have already forgotten about the Artpodgotovka cases, linked with Maltsev’s Revolution of 2017, but they were no more just than the current political events. The security forces in several regions arrested people and charged them with planning various criminal acts, supposedly to orchestrate a revolution in Russia. In practice, this meant that people were being accused of inciting civil unrest or planning acts of terror for simply expressing their desire to join demonstrations and protests. Dmitriev’s case also clearly demonstrates the situation with medical care in prisons.


Prisoners in the Palace Case. The pro-Navalny protests of 23rd and 31st January sparked an enormous wave of prosecutions targeting oppositionist activists and protesters, leading to criminal charges against 126 people. We invite you to sign our petition, calling for an end to this repression. You can also see our graphic guide to all the people involved, statutes invoked and measures taken here – we have compiled all the information that we could fine.

Lawyer receives caution. Anastasia Samorukova, one of OVD-Info’s lawyers, has received an official caution from Moscow’s Meshchansky Courtfor trying to attend a hearing as an audience member, which constituted a breach of “Covid regulations”. Now, Samorukova is pressing criminal charges of her own against the court officials for abuse of office and falsification of evidence. We’ve published her story.

Fired for Navalny. Any state employees who took part in pro-Navalny protests risk losing their jobs – either you’re with the government, or you’re against it. We have seen quite a few stories of firings lately. Aleksandr Litoi tries to unpick what you can do if you lose your job because of your political convictions. In addition to this, we have published detailed instructions with legal guidance for exactly this situation.


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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