Week-ending 18 June 2021
“It’s been a busy few days…months. […] In almost all the big cases you read, our team is somehow involved. […] Cases that we won back in the day seem absolutely impossible now. Sometimes it feels like we live in a different country. […] From the outside, it looks like Russia’s judicial system is one big brutal machine. But it’s so much more complex than that once you dig in. At the top, the most complicated and sensitive issues are those linked to state treason, that is where you have to deal with the Federal Security Service or FSB. But after that, things get a little better. […] That is why I am always checking the news, looking for little signals that can tell me what chances our clients have. Deciding what our strategy will be.”
– Pavel Chikov, head of Agora International Human Rights Group
Pjotr Sauer, ‘”You Have to Read the Signals”: The Human Rights Lawyer Taking On Russia’s Most Sensitive Cases,’ The Moscow Times, 18 June 2021
The Moscow Times: Pavel Chikov has had a hectic year. As the Russian authorities’ crackdown on dissent has widened, so has the workload of one of the country’s leading human rights lawyers. “It’s been a busy few days…months,” Chikov said in an interview in a central Moscow cafe this week. Chikov, 41, is the head of Agora, a countrywide association set up in 2005 by human rights lawyers. As an umbrella organization, Agora oversees a number of smaller legal aid groups specializing in issues from political protests to prison torture. All together, Chikov estimated, he leads a team of over 200 lawyers that take on some of the country’s most challenging human rights cases.