23 January 2021
Hi everyone! It’s Maksim Zagovor, Head of Media at Team 29
We all know what news defined this week. On Monday, Alexei Navalny was taken into custody for 30 days. But it was the way in which it was done that proved even more shocking than the decision of the judge who came especially to the police station he was in. On Monday, our lawyers’ phones were ringing off the hook with requests to explain what just happened.
Tomorrow, 23 January, ‘walks’ are planned in support of Alexei Navalny in 50 towns across Russia. Clearly, there are going to be arrests. We’re hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to conduct yourself around security officials, how to prepare for a rally, and what to do in a police station. Be careful!
The rest of the week’s news was somewhat overshadowed by events surrounding Navalny, making it all the more important to bring it up here. Russia is a big place.
Team 29 continues to handle the case of Vasily Ostrikov, a victim of repression who was never rehabilitated. His great-grandson Dmitry Ostryakov is trying to obtain information about his relative but keeps being turned down. You can read all about it. It’s an important matter, as the outcome will set a precedent.
Another bit of current news involves a really old case. It’s another shocker. This past week, we were denied access to video recordings of polling stations where members of the Election Commission are running off with paperwork. Coming up, we have the Third Cassation Court of General Jurisdiction – the fight goes on.
You know, if you take a quick look through our news, you might sink into a permanent depression, with all the rejections, fobbing off, and “the court agrees with the investigation”, etc. But that’s just how it works. The system tries to wear us down and make us give up for good, but T29’s lawyers continue their relentless work. And it’s professional work, supported by arguments, documentary evidence, and legitimate demands, that the system dislikes most of all. Here’s another example. A client of the lawyer Leonid Krikun had a quiet approach from some FSB bods. No information about these little ‘visits’ gets passed to the defence lawyer, and no details of the conversation are disclosed. The court thinks that everything’s above board, but this is simply not the case. We filed an appeal on 20 January. It seems we still have a very long way to go.
The last thing I wanted to mention was T29’s new project, the Precedent of Russia podcast. I wrote above about the importance of painstaking legal work. But what do you do if you aren’t a lawyer and don’t fully appreciate how a particular law operates, what a particular verdict might entail, or how to defend your rights when they are violated? That’s just what Precedent of Russia is all about. In the new podcast, we’ll unpack new laws, initiatives and judicial decisions, and explain how they’ll work and how our lives will change as a result. The first episode is all about the newly passed law ‘On slander’. Have a listen!
That’s it. Thanks for staying with us. Keep an eye on what we’re doing, on any online platform you can access – we’re everywhere and, unlike government officials, we’re only too happy to have the attention.
Translated by Lindsay Munford