Russia: six more years of repression

Vladimir Putin may have been elected, but threats to freedom of assembly and asssociation aren't going anywhere. 

23 March 2018

(c) Nicholas Muller/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved.

A version of this text originally appeared on OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors politically-motivated detentions and freedom of assembly in Russia.

On 18 March, Russian citizens “elected” to have six more years of no freedom of assembly, impunity for torture, pressure on the internet and unfair trials. The list could go on fo ever. And this means we have to do a great deal of work to make the situation better. You can help us in this by making a monthly donation to OVD-Info.

Before the election

  • From Monday until Saturday, police conducted searches of Alexey Navalny’s campaign headquarters in 12 cities

  • Two days before the election, 23 people were arrested in 15 cities

  • On 14 March, Moscow police arrested at least nine activists as part of an investigation into alleged vandalism. The investigation was related to a protest outside United Russia offices during which a window was broken and a smoke bomb thrown inside. Almost all those detained were released the same day. The anarchist Svyatoslav Rechkalov, who later reported that he had been tortured, was held in custody. On 16 March, he was released. This week we published an article by Rechkalov’s girlfriend about his detention and torture.

The election

  • We reported on the election live online. We witnessed people being removed from polling stations, people being forced to vote, and arrests and assaults on activists and election observers. At least 30 people were arrested.

  • Although some people apparently enjoyed themselves.

After the election

  • The FSB admitted that an electroshock device had been used against the anti-fascist activist Viktor Filinkov. However, the FSB said that this was not torture but a “requirement in the course of duty.” Allegedly, Filinkov resisted those detaining him and decided to escape. More than 30 marks caused by an electroshock device remained on Filinkov’s body even nine days after the event. Filinkov himself reported earlier that FSB officers had tortured him over the course of five hours with electric shocks as they sought to make him testify to alleged offences. A court has extended Filinkov’s pre-trial detention until 22 June.

  • Two correspondents from Mediazona, David Frenkel and Sasha Bogino, were forcibly removed from the court hearing in the case of anti-fascist activist Igor Shishkin, who is also under investigation as part of the “Network” case. Bogino has been charged with an administrative offence under Article 17.3 (Section 2) of the Administrative Law Code (failing to carry out the lawful instruction of a court bailiff). The court remanded Shishkin in custody until 22 June.

  • The prosecutor in the city of Petrozavodsk has asked for a sentence of nine years in a strict regime prison colony for Yury Dmitriyev, head of the Karelian branch of the Memorial Society. Dmitriev is on trial for allegedly making pornographic photographs involving his adoptive daughter. The results of a medical evaluation confirmed that Dmitriyev is healthy and is not a paedophile.

  • An activist arrested during a protest, “Our Candidate is the Russian Revolt,” has reported he was beaten by officers from the anti-extremism police department. He has been jailed for 10 days.

Thank you

As you probably know, we continue to have more and more work to do. You can donate to support our work. You can also join us as a volunteer.


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