Pynya, go away!

This week in Russia there’s been something of everything — arrests, assaults and bannings. But at least three people have been released from prison.

27 October 2017

"Pynya, go away!" reads this placard on Ustinsky Bridge. Source: GradusTV.

We continue our partnership with OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday, we bring you the latest information on freedom of assembly. 

Fifteen days in jail for “Pynya” (a nickname for Putin). Traffic police stopped a car in which Olga Romanova and Andrei Titkov, Moscow activists of the New Opposition political movement, were travelling. They were detained for a protest with a mannequin hung on the Ustinsky Bridge along with a placard that read “Go away, Pynya”. The next day Titkov was jailed for 15 days on the grounds that this protest had created a traffic disturbance. Romanova had been released before the court hearing. At the hearing in the case of Titkov, no one, not even his lawyer who was in the building, was allowed into the courtroom.

The Artpodgotovka group, headed by Vyacheslav Maltsev who recently left Russia, has been ruled “extremist” and banned. Moreover, FSB officers conducted a search of the home of a Moscow activist from the group, Andrei Tolkachev.

Vladimir Shipitsin, an activist from the St. Petersburg Solidarity movement, was assaulted in the entrance hall of his apartment block. The attacker used a knuckleduster, and during the assault said: “Don’t write any more bullshit about good people, next time it will be worse.”

Regional election campaign offices of Alexey Navalny were also attacked. In Khabarovsk, a United Russia Young Guard activist poured paint on the building, while in Kirov someone threw a brick through the offices’ window.

The leaders of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov, were pardoned and flown to Turkey. Chiygoz had been charged with organising mass disturbances that took place in Simferopol in February 2014 and sentenced to eight years in a prison colony. Umerov was charged with inciting separatism for stating that Crimea should be returned to Ukraine, and sentenced to two years in a low security prison colony.

One other person convicted of inciting separatism (and also extremism), Darya Polyudova, a leftwing activist from the Kuban, was released. Meanwhile, Crimea resident Suleiman Kadyrov is still awaiting trial on charges of inciting separatism.

In Moscow, the trial began of a teenager accused of using force against a National Guard officer at a demonstration on 12 June. Read the report by our correspondent.

Record-breaking zeal has been shown by the Sochi police. Police in this Russian resort town have opened administrative cases against two Navalny supporters a number of times. Olesya Khristosenko, for a photograph taken on the porch of the campaign offices in the city; and Konstantin Gudimov for riding a bicycle on 7 October. Equally, the court has, a number of times, rejected the case and sent it back to the police. Nonetheless, the police succeeded in getting their way: Gudimov was jailed for 12 days, Khristosenko for eight days. Read lawyer Aleksandr Popkov’s comment here.

Trials related to the protests of 7 October have continued in other cities. Some protesters were sentenced to community work, others were fined.

In Nizhny Novgorod, a local resident and participant in the “meeting with Navalny without Navalny” that took place on 29 September was fined 250,000 roubles.

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22 October: Members of Krasnodar's public administration stage a counter-protest to block a rally against tree-felling operations in the city. We're not sure why they're wearing bathrobes either. Source: Golos Kubani. How they treat people in disguise in the Kuban. On the one hand, celebrating Halloween in bars and restaurants is banned in the region. On the other hand, officials from various government departments in Krasnodar, in order to prevent protests against the felling of trees, dressed in bathrobes and, disguised as housewives, went out to welcome the cutting down of trees.

In Murom a concert by the punk rock group Pornofilmy was banned. Vladimir region FSB stated that “the event is intended to potentially initiate a protest by young people” and the lyrics of the group’s songs “propagandize an asocial way of life and inculcate a lack of trust and hatred towards the government authorities and law enforcement agencies.”

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For more information on OVD-Info, read this article from the organisation's founder on how OVD is breaking the civil society mould here.

P.S. Here are the details of two upcoming trials, if you are able to attend:

1 November at 16:00, at Tver district court in Moscow, hearings begin on the merits of the case in the trial of Dmitry Borisov, detained during the dispersal of the rally of 26 March. He has been charged with using force against a police officer.

3 November at 09:30, in Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow, a hearing in the case of Dmitry Buchenkov will be held. He is charged with causing mass unrest and using force against a police officer on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May 2012, although he was not at the scene.


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