Weekly Update week-ending 29 June 2020

Read our selection of the past week’s news: Rights in Russia week-ending 29 May 2020

This week we highlight the case of Ilya Azar jailed for 15 days for holding a single-picket protest; the resumption of the trial in the Network case; the Grey Zone initiative by human rights groups to map the spread of Covid-19 in Russia’s penitentiary system; and new regulations on the running of psychiatric care homes.

Listen to our latest Russian-language podcast. Our guest this week is Valentina Chervatenko,  chair and coordinator of the NGO Women of the Don Union, and chair of the board of the Women of the Don Foundation for the Promotion of Civil Society and Human Rights. Valentina Cherevatenko has led the work of Women of the Don, which is based in Novocherkassk in Rostov region, since the organisation was set up in 1993: Simon & Sergei: Human rights in Russia – with Valentina Cherevatenko– You can find these podcasts on Podcasts.comSoundCloudiTunes and Spotify.

“We are outraged by the 15-day jail sentence handed down under administrative law to journalist and municipal councillor Ilya Azar for holding a single-person picket”  – Moscow PEN Centre and the Free Word association have issued a statement condemning the jailing of Ilya Azar and the detention of other journalists. Translated by Simon Cosgrove

“On 28 May, [Sergei Mokhnatkin] died in hospital.  He was given his first prison term following a Strategy-31 protest at which he intervened on behalf of a woman who was being beaten up by a police officer.”   – Team 29 provide a short obituary of Sergei Mokhnatkin in their latest weekly newsletter. Translated by Lindsay Munford

“The ECtHR has ordered an activist from Nizhny Novgorod to be paid €5,000 in compensation. She was arrested before the Dissenters’ March in 2007 in Nizhny Novgorod.”– In its latest Weekly Bulletin, OVD-Info looks, among other things, at a recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights. Translated by Judith Fagelson

“A dramatic change occurred at the turn of 2012 and 2013. The authorities launched an undeclared war against civil society and human rights organizations”– In an interview to mark the 44th anniversary of the Moscow Helsinki Group Sergei Krivenko talks about the history of human rights in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation.Translated by Graham JonesAlice Lee and Suzanne Eade-Roberts  

Not only are those currently on remand being left behind bars, but they are continuing to remand new people in custody.”– Vera Vasilieva argues the authorities are failing to abide by the Supreme Court’s advice in relation to remanding defendants in custody during the pandemic. Translated by Nina dePalma  

“I believe that the norm [on the prohibition against Nazi propaganda] in the Criminal Code is superfluous. It carries with it a large portion of guesswork, a great risk that anything could fall under it.”– Genri Reznik on the spate of recent prosecutions for posting photos of Nazi leaders on the Immortal Regiment website. Translated by Mark Nuckols

“Posting photographs picturing Nazi criminals as veterans of the war against Nazis on a forum dedicated to the memory of the victors deserves every sort of condemnation. But by no means does everything that deserves condemnation carry with it criminal liability.”– Sergei Davidis argues for the repeal of Article 354.1 of the Criminal Code. Translated by John Tokolish

We dig even deeper: at this level the rather artificial Article 354.1 (added to the Russian Criminal Code in May 2014 on the back of the wave of events in Ukraine), in essence, is talking only about a variety, moreover a specific variety, of the propaganda of nationalism and national exclusivity. Out of this raw material, if I may, comes all our official propaganda, albeit with a minus sign.”– Leonid Nikitinsky considers the prosecutions related to the posting of photos of Nazi leaders in relation to the authorities’ manipulation of nationalist ideology. Translated by Marian Schwartz

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