12 June 2021
Hi! This is Valeriya Vetoshkina, a lawyer with Team 29
Why such a strange heading for this letter? Because I heard this phrase more than twenty-five times during the trial on the designation of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, the Civil Rights Foundation, and ‘Navalny’s Headquarters’ as extremist organisations. The court hearing itself lasted for over twelve hours. We only left Moscow City Court very late on Wednesday night.
This landmark trial, with its predictable result (all three organizations were declared extremist on 9 June, and their activities were banned on the territory of the Russian Federation), will undoubtedly go down in history as an example of ‘how things shouldn’t be done.’ Everything about the court hearing was bad – not a single one of our motions was granted and the prosecution’s presentation of their arguments lasted exactly 47 seconds. But there were some excellent moments, too – for example, the brilliant Evgeny Smirnov told a joke in his address to the court. It is a pity that the trial was closed to the public (allegedly due to the presence of state secrets in the case materials). Nevertheless, we broadcast by text live from the courtroom. Read it, enjoy it, and note the utterly Shakespearian ending: it’s sure to go down in the textbooks about Russian history.
And we – the whole Team – have also made a very detailed memo for you about what awaits all those who have supported the Anti-Corruption Foundation, the Civil Rights Foundation, and ‘Navalny’s Headquarters’. Can people continue to wear T-shirts and watch the Anti-Corruption Foundation’s investigations on YouTube? Will people be punished for making donations last year? Is Navalny’s name itself subject to a ban? I would venture to say that you won’t find anywhere more complete and accurate information on this subject in the media. We have done our very best.
My friends often ask me if I have any good news at all. Dmitry Rogozin has said that Ivan Safronov’s lawyers’ defence lawyers are ‘competent’; if that is good news, there you are.
But the theatre of the absurd in Russia continues. Apparently, the real criminals have all been caught, so the Investigative Committee is now dealing with hamburgers. Yes, yes, you heard right – the question of whether or not police officers have been eating other people’s food is now being handled by the Investigative Committee.
By the way, we continue to look for those ready to vouch in court for our leader Ivan Pavlov (in a new memo we explain what that is). For me personally, it is still one big Schrodinger’s cat, but we continue to work and fight. How exactly, you can read in a big new article published by Medusa about Team 29.
Уже даже боюсь загадывать, что принесет нам новая неделя. Но что делать — будем держаться. Держитесь и вы.
There’s a long weekend ahead of us, during which I’ll be sure to watch our new interview with Sergei Smirnov. I recommend you watch too – nothing Team 29 does is bad!
I’m already afraid to even guess what the new week will bring us. But whatever happens, we’ll hang in there. And you do the same.
And don’t be ashamed of the decisions you take,
Lera and Team 29 🖤
Translated by Simon Cosgrove