OVD-Info Weekly Bulletin No. 206: Extremism, looking to the past and the future.

12 June 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: Adelina Kulmakhanova for OVD-Info

Hi! The Anti-Corruption Foundation has been declared an extremist organisation, Putin signed a law banning former and would-be extremists from running for office, and it turns out that the FSB is not only poisoning politicians, but poets as well.

Navalny, his poisoning, and the prosecution of his supporters. Against the backdrop of the long-expected recognition of the Anti-Corruption Foundation as an extremist organisation, The Insider and Bellingcat have released a new investigation. They blame the poisoning of writer Dmitry Bykov on the same intelligence officers who, according to them, poisoned Navalny. Meanwhile, Putin signed a law banning people who had been involved with extremist organizations from running in elections. Finally, Navalny’s supporters claim that they were given a redacted version of Aleksei’s medical records in the Omsk hospital right after he was poisoned.

Why do I need to know that? So that my grandchildren can hear about the intensified repressive measures of the late Putin era. Or maybe not the late Putin, you know, I just want to believe it. The whole story with Navalny’s poisoning is insane and hard to put into words. Nevertheless, the Russian authorities continue to do their best to put a good face on things, which is their natural condition.

A convicted elderly Jehovah’s Witness is taken from region to region. Sixty-four-year-old Aleksandr Ivshin who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prisonimprisonment has been transferred to another penitentiary institution for the eighth time. Now he is in a remand prison in Rostov-on-Don. While he was being moved, Aleksandr was severely ill with Covid. In some detention facilities they put him in basement rooms and gave him bowls and plates that had holes in.

Why is it important? It’s a story that’s at once very ordinary and terrible from beginning to end: a man was imprisoned for his commitment to a religion that does not call for violence, and sentenced to a long term of imprisonment. And now they are humiliating him detention. Such is the Russian justice system in the early 2020s.

Blogger Yury Khovansky arrested in St. Petersburg. The blogger has been charged with publicly justifying terrorism because of a song he sang during an online broadcast about the terrorist attack on Dubrovka. Khovansky partially admitted guilt, but this did not help him remain at liberty – the court ordered him to be remanded in custody for two months.

Why do I need to know this? Khovansky is a blogger known for somewhat extravagant behaviour and jokes in the same style. Most likely his song was just another joke, not an actual justification of the terrorists’ actions. Khovansky has been an assistant to a State Duma member from the LDPR and has some connections to this party. However, this did not help him.


Detention and Beating. Dinislam Salikhov was detained on 2 February 2021, the day of one of the winter protests in support of Navalny. However, he did not know about the protest at the time, he simply happened to be walking in the centre of Moscow on that day. At the Orekhovo-Borisovo North police station he was first not allowed to go to the toilet for some reason, and then he was beaten with a truncheon. OVD-Info publishes the story of the victim.

Anti-extremism for Navalny supporters. The designation of the Anti-Corruption Foundation and ‘Navalny’s Headquarters’ as extremist organisations has led to a situation in which many people may face prosecution. OVD-Info analyst Grigory Durnovo tells us under which articles of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences and the Russian Criminal Code Navalny supporters across the country may face prosecution.

In addition, we have published instructions on how you can all be more careful so as not to face prosecution for extremism, as well as avoid other types of prosecution in this context. What you can still do (for now) and what you had better not do. You can read about it here. 

Thank you!

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.

Always yours,

OVD-Info team

Translated by Simon Cosgrove

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