Our weekly round-up of the news
12 September 2021
RFE/RL: Ukraine has confirmed it requested that Czech authorities detain Aleksandr Franchetti, a Russian citizen wanted by Kyiv on an international arrest warrant, and is seeking his extradition to Kyiv.
13 September 2021
The Moscow Times: Russia on Monday reported 18,178 new coronavirus cases and 719 deaths.
The Moscow Times: Two new monuments to the first Soviet secret police chief credited with architecting Stalin’s repressions have appeared in southern Russia and annexed Crimea, sparking mixed reactions. The busts of Felix Dzerzhinsky in the Russian city of Krasnodar and the Crimean city of Simferopol were unveiled on Sept. 11, his 144th birthday.
RFE/RL: A Russian opposition activist has sought refuge in the United States out of fear for his family’s safety after he took part in unsanctioned rallies in January to support jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. Anton Deinega, who is from Russia’s Black Sea port city of Novorossiisk, told RFE/RL on September 13 that he and his family arrived in the United States in early September. He said he has asked for political asylum and the U.S. authorities are checking if he faced threats or persecution in Russia.
RFE/RL: Inmates at a penitentiary in Siberia have started a mass hunger strike to protest the deaths of two prisoners and what they say are widespread rights abuses, including torture, at the facility.
Front Line Defenders: On 31 August 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on the case Estemirova v. Russia concerning the murder of prominent woman human rights defender Natalia Estemirova on 15 July 2009. The Court ruled that Russia failed to investigate the murder of Natalia Estemirova properly, yet did not find that the Russian authorities are directly responsible for her kidnapping and killing. Front Line Defenders expresses concern regarding this decision having the potential to get widely cited by authoritarian governments in cases litigated on violations of human rights defenders’ rights, allowing the state to evade responsibility for their failure to protect HRDs in the region.
14 September 2021
The Moscow Times: Russia fined Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday for not deleting banned content, adding to a slew of penalties the government has imposed on foreign tech giants.
15 September 2021
The Moscow Times: Russia on Wednesday reported 18,842 new coronavirus cases and 792 deaths.
The Moscow Times: The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which has authored several high-profile investigative reports into fraud in Russia and the post-Soviet world, has announced its closure in Russia on Wednesday.
16 September 2021
The Moscow Times: Russia on Thursday reported 19,594 new coronavirus cases and 794 deaths.
RFE/RL: The condition of a Russian woman who launched a dry hunger strike to protest against the “anti-sanitary conditions” of her prison cell is deteriorating rapidly. Antonina Zimina’s father, Konstantin Zimin, told RFE/RL on September 15 that his daughter, who was handed a 13-year prison sentence on high treason charges she denies, is refusing both food and water.
The Moscow Times: Alyona Popova fears that if she is not elected to Russia’s lower house of parliament on Sunday, the passing of a law to protect women from domestic violence will be put on the back burner for another five years.
RFE/RL: A court in Moscow has suspended an Interior Ministry decision to ban a stand-up comic of Azerbaijani origin from entering and residing in the country for life over his on-stage joke about Russians. Sergei Badamshin, a lawyer for comedian Idrak Mirzalizade, said on Telegram that the Zamoskvorechye district court had suspended the decision on September 16 until a full court decision on the issue is made. The Interior Ministry said on August 30 that the presence in the Russian Federation of Mirzalizade, a Belarusian citizen who holds permanent residence in Russia, is “undesirable” because of his statements that “incited hatred and enmity towards ethnic Russians.”
RFE/RL: One evening in late August, as most residents of Rostov-on-Don were preparing for bed, a house on a sleepy, unpaved street on the outskirts of the southern Russian city erupted in flames. The house belonged to Sergei Shalygin, a local opposition activist and blogger who had spent four years building and expanding the 100-square-meter property with his son. For Shalygin, the incident — less than three weeks before Russia was due to hold nationwide legislative elections — had clear motives.
RFE/RL: As the old joke goes, the Soviet Union was heralded for producing the world’s largest microchips and the fastest watches. But Russia alone can lay claim to having a “single voting day” over a span of three days.
17 September 2021
The Moscow Times: Russia on Friday reported 19,905 new coronavirus cases and 791 deaths.
The Moscow Times: Russia’s Foreign Ministry claimed Friday that the Soviet invasion of Poland during World War II was an act of liberation, reanimating a years-old debate over a secret Hitler-Stalin pact to carve up Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.