This week our guests on the podcast are Viсtoria Ivleva, photographer, journalist and writer, and Yury Samodurov, civic activist, social and political commentator and co-founder of Memorial. Both Viсtoria and Yury were detained on 20 November on Pushkin Square in Moscow for participating in single-person protests against the closure of Memorial. Both were held in a police station for two days and then fined by a court.
This week’s podcast concerns the future of Memorial (the law suits brought against International Memorial Society and Memorial Human Rights Centre), the law on foreign agents, the freedoms of association, assembly and expression, the procedures for detaining protesters, the behaviour of police, the conditions in detention and the practices of courts in such cases.
The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.
This podcast is in Russian. You can listen to it in full here:
Given the length of the podcast, for your convenience we have also divided it into seven parts that you can listen to separately.
Part One: The protest – in the form of single-person pickets – on Pushkin Square:
Part Two: The courts:
Part Three: The conditions of detention:
Part Five: On Memorial:
Part Six: More impressions about public reaction, the behaviour of police and the workings of the Russian justice system:
Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: “One of the best things we managed to achieve during perestroika that has survived to this day is Memorial.” These words by Yury Samodurov were supported by Victoria Ivleva and marked the start of our latest podcast with two guests who had very recently left their place of detention. The Moscow police had charged the two human rights activists with organizing “a public mass event with more than 10 participants” and locked them in cells for two days as dangerous criminals. Their “crime” consisted of participating in single-person protest pickets in defence of Memorial. The fines the two were given differed in size: Victoria Ivleva (150,000 roubles) was fined an order of magnitude higher than Yury Samodurov (20,000 roubles). The conditions of detention at the police station were humiliating: no toilets in the cell, a ban on toothbrushes, disgusting food, and the rudeness of some uniformed officers who demanded that glasses, watches and boots (or at least the laces) all be removed, A sum covering both fines was collected very quickly after Ivleva and Samodurov were released. Public support, support from civil society, is as important in individual cases as in the defence of civil society organizations. Including Memorial.