21 March: scenes get heated in Volokolamsk, Moscow region. Source: RTVI / YouTube.
A version of this text originally appeared on OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors politically-motivated detentions and freedom of assembly in Russia.
Russian government media watchdog Roskomnadzor has brought a lawsuit against the messaging service Telegram, where our useful OVD-Info bot has its home. There will now follow a court case and an appeal, after which, if the court takes the side of the government agency, the Telegram messenger will be blocked. There is still time to hook up to a VPN, but you had better not wait too long. And, by the way, people are also being prosecuted for reposts on Telegram.
In Moscow region, campaigners against a landfill site are being arrested. Over the past week in Volokolamsk 16 people protesting against the Yadrovo waste dump were arrested. One of those arrested and subsequently jailed for 15 days has gone on hunger strike. At a car rally protest against the Yadrovo landfill, between 12 and 18 people were arrested according to initial information. One of those arrested was jailed for 14 days. Later, the places of work of two of those arrested in Volokolamsk were searched. Two women protesting against a landfill in Volovichi were both fined 5,000 roubles each. An activist protesting against a landfill at Nepeino was also arrested.
Moscow city authorities have refused for a fourth time to permit the holding of a picket against sexual harassment in the State Duma. Three women who took part in single-person pickets against State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky were arrested, one of them twice (together with a cardboard cut out of Slutsky). Earlier, three women journalists had publicly accused Slutsky of sexual harassment.
Judgment has been handed down in the case of Memorial employee and historian Yury Dmitriev. Charges of depravity in relation to a minor and the making of child pornography were dismissed. He was sentenced to 30 months’ probation for illegal possession of a firearm.
A lawyer representing an activist from the “National Revolutionary Vanguard” has reported her client was tortured. “They beat him on the back of the neck and on the head, pointed a pistol at him, tried to find out information from him about other participants in the National Revolutionary Vanguard. In addition, they took a statement from him that subsequently they did not even add to the materials of the case,” the lawyer said.
This week four people have told us about their experience of dealings with public officials:
- The journalist Sofiko Arifdzhanova told us about her questioning by the FSB a year ago. She believes that this interrogation was one of the first investigative measures in the high profile investigation into the alleged terrorist group in Penza and St Petersburg.
- Activist Svyatoslav Rechkalov told us he was tortured by means of an electricshocker in Moscow by officers from the anti-extremism police department. He was forced to confess that he was “the main anarchist”. They tortured him in connection with the investigation into the broken window in a district office of the United Russia party.
- Navalny supporter Sergey Lopatin told us about his observation of elections in Grozny. According to Lopatin, even when Magomed “Lord” Daudov personally threatens you, it does not yet mean that something will actually happen to you.
- A student, Aleksandr, talked to us about threats of expulsion and psychological pressure he experienced after distributing leaflets in support of a boycott of the elections. Police officers broke into his room in a student dormitory at 6:30am, seized his telephone and made copies of his contacts.