Team 29: 💫 In the early days of Autumn…

12 September 2020

Hi. It’s Lena Skvortsova, SMM Editor for Team 29

It’s the first time that I’ve written a Team 29 newsletter. Normally, I post material on our social media pages and prepare how-to guides for the website. But today, I’m going to try and tell you about some key developments in the past week.

Monday morning began with good news about Navalny, and the news put me in such a good mood that it lasted for several days (the same for you, I hope). Aleksei coming out of a coma is all well and good, but the raids that are happening in Russia, well, they’re continuing as planned.

Ahead of the elections, which began, incidentally, on 11 September in several regions, security officials followed tradition and came to see opposition activists. This time, they raided the Editorial Office of MBK Media as well as those involved in the United Democrats project, who have fielded over 500 candidates for municipal deputy positions.

The latest elections have already begun, but trials coming out of last year’s elections are still ongoing. Our lawyers Maksim Olenichev and Aleksandr Budberg are challenging the procedure for submitting video surveillance footage recorded during the St Petersburg gubernatorial elections. They have already filed an administrative claim with the city court and await a date for the first hearing.

Ivan Safronov and his lawyer continue to try to get to the bottom of the charges against him. Amazingly, in the two months that the journalist spent in the remand centre, he never learned why he might have been sent to a penal colony for 20 years. Meanwhile, Ivan is having to defend himself against the charge that, “At some point, and in unclear circumstances”, he informed, “a certain person of some state secret”.

A date for the first hearing has been set in the case of Karina Tsurkan. We are crossing our fingers for her and holding out hope for a favourable outcome! I think the fact that Team 29 lawyers Ivan Pavlov and Yevgeny Smirnov have committed nine sets of case files to memory owing to a ban on photocopying documents won’t be for nothing and that everything will turn out alright for Karina.

Next week promises to be a tough one: the elections will be over, and lawyers and other legal professionals will go on to file appeals and write cassation appeals. On Monday, our lawyer Valeria Vetoshkina will be at a hearing in which an appeal in the case of Sergei Tarasov will be reviewed (his story will appear on our website on Monday). At first, he was found to be a victim of political repression and was exonerated, but the General Prosecutor’s Office later reconsidered and reversed the decision. It does happen. Our lawyers are now contesting its actions in court. I’d like to think that next week will also start off with good news, and the court will decide in Sergei’s favour.

Have faith and don’t lose hope!


Translated by Lindsay Munford

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