Weekly Update week-ending 13 March 2020

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Read our selection of the past week’s news: Rights in Russia week-ending 13 March 2020

Listen to our latest podcast [in Russian]; our guest this week is Natalia Taubina, director of the Public Verdict Foundation, one of Russia’s leading human rights groups: Simon & Sergei: Human rights in Russia – with Natalia Taubina
– You can also find these podcasts on iTunes and Spotify

‘I’m not bitter about the fact I spent time in prison. Firstly, in a certain way it is an edifying experience…If you want to be sure that you have what it takes, that your self-respect is intact, then do a stint in prison, just like many decent people are made to do.’
– Sergei Kovalev, quoted in an article by Natella Boltyanskaya published to mark the human rights defender’s 90th birthday on 2 March 2020. Translated by Nathalie Wilson.  

‘The normal position of civil society is this: if we achieve a result, that’s good, but if not, well, fine, we still won’t change our opinion. This is our country, we are its citizens and we are free to stick to our positions and not consider the authorities.’– Sergei Kovalev, in an interview with Kommersant, looks back at his life and times. Translated by Anna Bowles, Nicky Brown, James Lofthouse, Mark Nuckols and Joanne Reynolds.

‘We consider the proposal of these amendments by the president and a State Duma deputy to be the equivalent of a constitutional coup, one introduced illegally,’
– Valery Borshchev on the proposed constitutional amendments. Translated by Mary McAuley. 

‘On 12 March, single person pickets were held in several Russian cities to protest the introduction of changes to the Constitution. In some places they led to arrests; OVD-Info has put together a timeline of events.’– OVD-Info in its Weekly Bulletin reports, among other things, on protests against the proposed constitutional amendments. Translated by Judith Fagelson.   

‘True, in a certain sense because of the Coronavirus we are all a little in detention these days, but I am glad that at least Anton is on the safe side of the border. Our lawyers have taken on this case and are defending Anton, so he is in good hands.’   
– Tanya Torochesnikova of Team 29 reports on the case of Anton Kolomitsyn, a collector of maps charged with violations of state secrets for possession of a military map dating from the 1970s. Translated by Simon Cosgrove

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