Rights in Russia week-ending 18 June 2021

Other news of the week:

12 June 2021

RFE/RL: The Russian Ministry of Culture has refused to issue a distribution license for Romanian director Radu Jude’s film Bad Luck Banging Or Loony Porn, which won the prestigious Golden Bear award for best film at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, known as the Berlinale. The ministry said on June 11 that the movie violates Russia’s laws on pornography.

13 June 2021

RFE/RL: Russia reported another sharp rise in fresh COVID-19 cases on June 13, a day after the mayor of Moscow told residents of the Russian capital to say home from work next week to curb the spread of the virus. Russia reported 14,723 new COVID-19 cases, including 7,704 in Moscow, the largest one-day national caseload since February 13. The number of new infections in Moscow was the most reported in one day since December 24. The coronavirus task force said that 357 people had died of coronavirus-related causes nationwide, taking the death toll to 126,430.

14 June 2021

The Guardian: Vladimir Putin has refused to give any guarantee that the opposition leader Alexei Navalny will get out of prison alive, saying his continued detention was not his decision and noting the poor state of medical care in Russian jails. In an extended and testy interview with NBC News before Putin’s Geneva summit with Joe Biden, the Russian president deflected a string of allegations about his government’s role in cyber-attacks on the west. He also fended off questions about his government’s human rights record by making counter-allegations against the US.

RFE/RL: The parents of a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Russia for allegedly assaulting two police officers say they hope to see their son released soon. Joey and Paula Reed, the parents of Trevor Reed, made the comments after Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed readiness to discuss a possible prisoner exchange when he meets on June 16 with U.S. President Joe Biden. The couple told CNN in an interview broadcast on June 14 that they hope the upcoming Biden-Putin summit in Geneva will lead to their son’s release.

15 June 2021

CPJ: The Union of European Football Associations should ensure that all journalists can report from its events freely and without political interference from host countries, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Since late May, UEFA, an umbrella organization comprised of 55 national soccer associations across Europe, has denied or revoked the accreditations of at least six journalists seeking to cover the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, citing their failures to pass background checks by Russian and Azerbaijani authorities, according to news reports and journalists who spoke with CPJ. UEFA later reversed at least two of those decisions, according to those sources.

The Moscow Times: As Moscow grapples with a new spike in Covid-19 cases amid stubbornly low vaccination rates, the city signed has ordered new restrictions and declared a “non-working week” from June 14-20. The latest restrictions mainly apply to recreation and leisure, from eating at the mall’s food court to visiting the Moscow Zoo.

RFE/RL: U.S. President Joe Biden says if jailed Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny were to die, it would be a “tragedy” that would damage Russia’s relationship with the United States and the rest of the world. Biden was asked about the potential death of Navalny on June 14 during a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels that covered several other topics ahead of his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

RFE/RL: Eight years ago in Moscow, 40-year-old Denis adopted Aleksei, who was two years old at the time. The abused baby of a teenage alcoholic, Aleksei had behavioral problems from the beginning of their life together — orphanage staffers told Denis that Aleksei would hide under tables, wouldn’t speak, and would generally act “wildly.” It took months of rehabilitation and massage for him to learn to walk properly.

RFE/RL: Russian police have removed Belarusian opposition politician Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya from their wanted list at the initiative of the Belarusian authorities, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reports. The report on June 15 comes a day before U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are due to meet in Geneva for their first face-to-face talks since Biden was inaugurated in January.

16 June 2021

The Guardian: Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have concluded their talks in Geneva after a highly anticipated summit meant to prevent the two countries’ rivalry from descending into open conflict.

17 June 2021

RFE/RL: Jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s accusations against him following a June 16 summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, has called the Russian leader “a liar who can’t stop lying.” Putin told reporters after the summit in Geneva that Navalny had deliberately ignored requirements to report to the Russian judiciary in August 2020 when he was airlifted to Germany in a coma after he was poisoned with a Soviet-style nerve agent in Siberia. Navalny wrote on Instagram on June 17 that Putin must have “a psychiatric pathology caused by being in power for a long time, having limitless amounts of money.”

18 June 2021

The Moscow Times: Moscow reported its highest-ever number of new coronavirus infections Friday, as the city’s health authorities warned “new, aggressive mutations” of the virus were spreading at an alarming pace. Russia’s national coronavirus task force confirmed 9,056 new Covid-19 cases in Moscow over the last 24 hours — a 46% surge on the previous day.

RFE/RL: A 79-year-old Russian scientist placed under house arrest after being charged with high treason has been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. Valery Mitko was taken to a hospital in St. Petersburg on June 17 after suffering a heart attack in his home, his lawyer Anton Golubev said. Mitko was placed under house arrest in February 2020 on suspicion of transferring classified materials to China during regular visits he made there as a teacher.

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