Rights in Russia week-ending 24 September 2021

Our round up of the week’s news

Other news:

18 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Saturday reported 20,329 new coronavirus cases — the highest number of new infections in four weeks — and 799 deaths.

19 September 2021

RFE/RL: Russia has lost a record amount of forest acreage to fire this year since accurate recording began two decades ago, Greenpeace said.

20 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Monday reported 19,744 new coronavirus cases and 778 deaths.

The Guardian: A gunman has opened fire at a university in Russia, leaving eight people dead and 24 hurt.

Human Rights in Ukraine: The political persecution that Russia brought to Crimea in 2014 does not just happen.  It requires serious contingents of enforcement officers; ‘investigators’; prosecutors; ‘judges’ and others willing to play their role in imprisoning innocent men and women. Some of these individuals, like FSB ‘investigator’ Vitaly Vlasov, are implicated in multiple cases of persecution, and it is vital that their actions are known and receive adequate response, including through sanctions, from the Ukrainian authorities and Ukraine’s international partners.

21 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Tuesday reported 19,179 new coronavirus cases and 812 deaths.

Human Rights in UkraineSerhiy Lyulin was seized by FSB officers while in Russia, thrown into the boot of a minivan and driven, in handcuffs and bound with scotch tape, for 16 hours to occupied Simferopol.  He is one of an ever-increasing number of Crimean Jehovah’s Witnesses facing violent FSB ‘operations’ and imprisonment for worshipping together and discussing the Bible.  Lyulin is now remanded in custody, in a ‘special bloc’ cell with world-respected Crimean Tatar leader and political prisoner Nariman Dzhelyal.

RFE/RL: British police have filed charges against a third person in the Novichok assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal, the former Russian double agent who was poisoned in 2018.

22 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Wednesday reported 19,706 new coronavirus cases and 817 deaths.

The Guardian: Russia has endured its worst forest fire season in the country’s modern history, according to recent data from the Russian Forestry Agency analysed by Greenpeace.

The Moscow Times: [President] Biden said “we all must defend the rights of LGBTQI individuals … whether it’s Chechnya or Cameroon or anywhere” during his UN General Assembly address Tuesday.

RFE/RL: An Estonian newspaper is reporting that Russian opposition politician Lyubov Sobol has settled in Estonia with her young daughter after fleeing her homeland this summer following her conviction and sentencing at a Moscow court on charges widely seen as politically motivated.

The Moscow Times: Observers were quick to speculate that the uptick in Covid-19 cases was linked to the authorities’ need to doctor the figures ahead of the vote in order to boost turnout among voters who may have otherwise stayed away from the polls.

23 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Thursday reported 21,438 new coronavirus cases and 820 deaths.

RFE/RL: Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), has ratcheted up the charges against jailed Crimean Tatar politician Nariman Dzhelyal over the alleged sabotage of a pipeline last month.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Oleh Prykhodko’s family are increasingly concerned that they have heard nothing from the 63-year-old Ukrainian political prisoner since May of this year.  Prykhodko has serious health issues, and there have long been problems with prison staff not passing on the medication which his family sends.  Prykhodko is also imprisoned for his unconcealed opposition to Russia’s occupation of his native Crimea and he is quite likely to face particularly bad treatment in what is already the harshest form of Russian imprisonment.

The Moscow Times: On a hot autumn day, a sun-baked Tbilisi square feels a world away from cold and blustery St. Petersburg, where Ivan Pavlov is used to running between courtrooms defending some of the Kremlin’s harshest critics. “I have had to readjust my life, which has not been easy, I have had to start all over. But Georgia has been good to me,” Pavlov told The Moscow Times as he sat in a cafe serving khachapuri, the country’s famous cheese bread.

24 September 2021

The Moscow Times: Russia on Friday reported 21,379 new coronavirus cases and a record of 828 deaths.

The Guardian: Some were flying home. Others starting the holiday of a lifetime. But they never arrived at their destination. On 17 July 2014, a missile shot down Malaysia Airlines MH17 over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board, including 196 Dutch nationals. More than seven years later, a court in the Netherlands has heard some of their stories and how the lives of their grief-stricken families were changed for ever.

RFE/RL: This week, a court in Ussuriisk, north of the regional capital, Vladivostok, sentenced two local actors to short jail stints because of their appearances in an online comedy sketch ribbing local officials and the ruling United Russia party.

Human Rights in Ukraine: Russia’s FSB have substantially increased the charges against Nariman Dzhelyal which they brought shortly after the Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis took part in Ukraine’s Crimea Platform, together with high-ranking representatives of 45 countries. 

The Moscow Times, 24 September 2021: The European Union on Friday condemned alleged Russian cyberattacks that have targeted Germany in the run-up to this weekend’s election for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor. 

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