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A metal pipe for your trouble

The Russian authorities’ campaign against Alexey Navalny is getting violent. 

OVD-Info
22 September 2017
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The pipe used to attack Nikolay Lyaskin. Source: Twitter. The Russian authorities continue to refuse permission to Alexey Navalny’s election campaign to hold public rallies, and campaign activists are, on occasion, being detained. But sometimes the anti-Navalny campaign gets even more serious: Nikolay Lyaskin, the coordinator of Navalny’s Moscow headquarters, was attacked this week with a metal pipe. Police are investigating, but rather strangely.

As a result of a blow to the head, Lyaskin is suffering from concussion. The police quite quickly opened a criminal investigation into what they classified as “hooliganism”, and several days later announced they had found a suspect. True, he was not shown to Lyaskin immediately. However, a video appeared in which the suspect alleges Lyaskin himself had promised the man money if he attacked him. Lyaskin claims this is a set-up. The day of the face-to-face confrontation with the suspect Lyaskin was kept waiting the whole day in the police station, and before he left they tried to take away his telephone.

On a positive note, in Kostroma a criminal investigation has been opened into an assault by a police officer on a volunteer from Navalny’s election campaign, while in Makhachkala an investigation into an attack on a journalist, who works for the news website Caucasian Knot, during a protest on 12 June, has begun.

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Alexander Zykov, a volunteer for Alexey Navalny's campaign in Kostroma, was attacked on 17 August. Image: 7x7. All rights reserved to the author.The European Court of Human Rights has accepted an application by five prominent Moscow activists, four of whom (including Ildar Dadin) were earlier prosecuted for alleged violations at street protests. The grounds for the applications to the ECHR are the detentions and administrative prosecutions of the activists which formed the basis for their criminal prosecutions in Russia. We set out in detail why the individuals were detained at these protests, and what happened to them after they had been detained. The Russian courts have not treated Ildar Dadin so well: his suit on the conditions of his transfer to the prison colony in Karelia and his detention there was dismissed.

An activist of the Artpodgotovka group, Alexey Politikov, has pleaded guilty to charges of using force against a police officer during the dispersal of the Moscow demonstration on 26 March. Politikov has agreed to a plea bargain, which means the court will not examine the evidence against him, but will likely offer a reduced sentence. Earlier, three others charged in the same case (Yury Kuly, Aleksandr Shpakov and Andrey Kosykh) also agreed to plea bargains, but this did not help them avoid terms in prison. Meanwhile, this coming Monday, an appeal by Stanislav Zimovets, the first to be prosecuted in the 26 March protest case, is to be heard against his sentence. Zimovets, who maintained his innocence of the charges, was sentenced to 18 months in a prison colony.

In a number of regions the authorities have taken tough measures against local protests. In Chelyabinsk region they are cracking down on members of the environmental movement Stop GOK, which campaigns against construction of the Tomino copper processing plant. One of the members of Stop GOK, Gamil Asatullin, is facing criminal charges for attempted arson. Others have been detained and questioned as witnesses. In addition, the authorities banned a rally in Chelyabinsk against construction of the plant, and one of the rally organisers, Boris Zolotarevsky, was detained and fined 25,000 roubles.

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''I want to breathe": almost half of Chelyabinsk region’s residents are against a new copper mining project, and the regional authorities are now trying to discredit the movement with a criminal investigation. Source: VK. In Rostov region, meanwhile, participants in a movement supporting miners from the town of Gukovo, who have not received their pay for many months, are being prosecuted.

After a rally, police detained two protesters, who had taken part in single-person pickets, and the coordinator of the protest, Tatyana Avacheva. All three were fined. Subsequently, the activist Vasily Dyakonov, who had not even been at the protest, was detained and charged with organising the single-person pickets and fined. Dyakonov is currently under investigation for allegedly threatening to kill someone, and a court has banned him from taking part in public events and placed restrictions on his movements.

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