Team 29: 🧠 The Conventional Wisdom

24 April 2021

Hi, this is Dmitry Zair-Bek from Team 29!

Before the traditional weekly digest, I want to share with you a personal concern.

I am very familiar with and have worked extensively with the DOXA editors. It pains and saddens me to watch a crazy prosecution that has been created out of thin air. I’m sure it will go down in history and criminal law textbooks of a future free Russia as a perfect example of a politically motivated prosecution – for words said and opinions expressed. And it is especially embarrassing that my home university, the Higher School of Economics, has disowned its students, who are intelligent and free-thinking. Sending rays of support to you, dear colleagues!

And now for our news.

Is that too much to ask?

Team 29 and OVD-Info have appealed to the Supreme Court and the Interior Ministry with the following seemingly straightforward demands:

1️⃣ Provide information about those detained at rallies to relatives, members of the Public Oversight Commissions and lawyers;

2️⃣ Not to obstruct the work of journalists at rallies;

3️⃣ Introduce mandatory broadcasting of open court hearings on court websites.

The demands are legitimate and, most importantly, quite feasible. But the government is in no hurry to respond. This is understandable – it is not in its interests. After all, it is extremely hard for police officers to comply with Russian laws, and lawlessness loves silence.

What we did at the April 21 protests

For the first time we tried a new (relative) role – we opened a hotline for journalists whose rights were violated during the rally. On the line were the brilliant Maksim Olenichev, Valeriya Vetoshkina and Dariya Sukhikh.

The head of Team 29 Ivan Pavlov was engaged in a no less important matter. He was on duty as the authorized representative of the Bar Association to protect the professional rights of lawyers. Together with his colleagues Ivan Pavlov drove around St. Petersburg and recorded numerous cases of lawyers not being allowed into police stations, as the police once again put into effect the plan Fortress Plan, as though it was not lawyers knocking on their doors but terrorists armed to the teeth or zombies with bloody fangs.

Read, listen and watch

The media department did not lag behind the lawyers this past Wednesday. Maksim Zagorov walked around the whole of central Moscow with photographer Evgeny Feldman as the latter captured the glittering beauty around him of helmets and shields. They say people shied away from Maksim – apparently thinking he was a police officer from the anti-extremism department. What else could he be – wearing a mask and filming everyone around him? Together with Evgeny we announced a contest: you can win any of the pictures which appeared in our video, signed by Evgeny. You can find more details on our Instagram.

Russia, as you know, is closing, and the more it closes, the faster it does it. In our new podcast episode we tell the complicated story of Aleksander Marchenko – accused of treason – together with his wife Ekaterina, author of a text about his case we published on the Team 29 website, the journalist Dmitry Durnev (by the way, this article has been nominated for the most important “Editors” prize, we recommend you read it) and our lawyer Evgeny Smirnov.

What else is there to read? Much is known about Navalny’s poisoners: their addresses, names, appearance. But how do they feel about their work? How did they react to the investigation about them? Aleksander Zalessky, a student at the School of Literary Practice, reflected on this. We publish his story as part of our literary project ‘Meetings with the authorities.’

Onwards to new frontiers

We have a new addition to the ranks of foreign agents: this time it was Meduza they picked on. We express our support for our colleagues, we love them and we will continue to work closely with them! The attack on Meduza is an attack on independent journalism – which is almost nonexistent in Russia. The government will continue to press down on society, and we will continue to fight.

This is not goodbye.

Dmitry, Team 29

Translated by Simon Cosgrove

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