This week our guest on the podcast is Aleksandr Peredruk, a lawyer from St Petersburg and a member of the St Petersburg Bar Association. Aleksandr Peredruk is currently working with ‘Apologia Protesta’, a project by Agora to provide legal assistance to people who take part in peaceful protests.
The questions discussed in the podcast include: the recent arrest of the lawyer Ivan Pavlov; how Aleksandr Peredruk became a lawyer and why he chose the field of human rights; the factors most important in determining the successful outcome of a court case; the independence of the courts in Russia; legal reforms of the 1990s; “Apologia Protesta’ – what it is; public support for human rights work; the legal profession and young people; differences among Russian regions; risks of the work of a human rights lawyer; forecast for the future of human rights in Russia.
The podcast is in Russian. You can also listen to the podcast in full here:
The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.
Given the length of the podcast, we have also divided it into three parts that you can listen to separately.
Part One. The arrest of Ivan Pavlov – Becoming a lawyer – Independence of the Russian judiciary and courts:
Part Two. Judicial reforms – ‘Apologia Protesta’ – Russian Courts – European Court of Human Rights – St. Petersburg – Ombudsmen:
Part Three. Risks of working as a human rights lawyer – The authorities – The future:
See also this video on Pavel Chikov’s YouTube channel in which Pavel Chikov and Aleksandr Peredruk discuss right of assembly in the light of recent events: ‘Протесты 2021. Как себя защитить? Советы адвоката‘
Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: “On Friday, our conversation with Aleksandr ended rather abruptly: journalists were calling the St Petersburg lawyer non-stop. On that day, as we recall, another St Petersburg lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, was arrested in Moscow. Aleksandr Peredruk, a St Petersburg lawyer, is known to us for his brilliant work with the organisations Soldiers’ Mothers of St Petersburg and ‘Apologia Protesta’. Recalling the early years after the introduction of the law on ‘foreign agents’, Aleksandr said that when the initial impact of the new law was at its height and much discussed in 2014, Soldiers’ Mothers was put on the foreign agent register and staff of the organisation received threats. Various strange people, obviously with a limited vocabulary, called them using obscene language to announce their dislike of the work of the human rights defenders. Meanwhile, Aleksandr admits quite reasonably that “There are people who do not accept our views, who do not understand our ideas, for whom the concept of human rights is an alien idea. We, unlike them, accept that possibility and leave it up to them not to share our world view. Incidentally, as I remember I have participated in several focus groups where, when asked to name a human rights organisation that the participants in the groups remembered, the answers began with Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg – they are very recognisable and well known. And ‘Apologia Protesta’ may not be as well known yet, but they do a wonderful job upholding the idea that peaceful protest is an integral part of any democratic society. Apologia’s team consists of several dozen lawyers across the country, and their aim is to make the right to freedom of assembly a real right, not an illusory one. And Sasha Peredruk contributes to this very successfully with his excellent work. It’s a pleasure to listen to him.”
Simon Cosgrove adds: If you want to listen to this podcast on the podcasts.com website and it doesn’t seem to play, please download by clicking on the three dots to the right. A summary of some of the week’s events in Russia relevant to human rights can be found on our website here.