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Russian authorities take aim at supporters of opposition politician Alexei Navalny

Interference with the Russian opposition's nationwide campaign is reaching new heights.

Activists ran into problems setting up their stage in Gatchina, near St Petersburg. Image: OVD-Info.

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. 

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Last weekend, all over Russia, supporters of politician Alexei Navalny held a campaigning day event. On the Saturday and Sunday police detained at least 165 activists. Information about those detained by police in Moscow on Saturday and Sunday can be read here and here. Some activists also fell victim to physical assaults. For example, in Gatchina unidentified individuals attacked Navalny supporters with spades. In addition, police searched Navalny’s campaign headquarters in several cities. You can read more about how the campaign day passed off throughout Russia here.

Alexander Turovsky at the Sklifosovksky Institute. Image: Sergei Vasilchenko.On the night of 5-6 July police occupied Navalny’s Moscow headquarters, detaining the volunteer who was on call, Alexander Turovsky.

Turovsky was beaten by police apparently for refusing to show his passport. The police wrote out a charge sheet under Article 19.3 of the Administrative Law Code for failing to obey police instructions. Later, Turovsky was taken from the courthouse to the Sklifovsky Institute where he was hospitalised. There he underwent a cerebral centesis [removal of fluid] and was diagnosed with concussion. Despite this, it was only with great difficulty that Turovsky was able to insist on his right to stay overnight in the hospital, where he was kept under police guard. We cite the words of Sergei Vasilchenko, a lawyer with the Party of Progress, who accompanied Alexander Turovsky to the hospital. The next day the police moved Turovsky from the hospital to a police station, and thence to court where he was fined the sum of 500 roubles.

New information has appeared about the case of politician Vyacheslav Maltsev, who left Russia last week. His supporters say that criminal charges have been brought against him for inciting separatism. It had been reported earlier that Maltsev was under investigation for creating an extremist organisation. On 11 July a “community hall” belonging to Vyacheslav Maltsev in the village of Lokhino outside Moscow was searched by police. 

A court refused to allow Valery Parfenov, a defendant in the People’s Will Army case, to have a medical exam. Currently held on remand, Parfenov is losing his eyesight. Of the four defendants in the case, Parfenov, RBK journalist Alexander Sokolov, and military officer Lieutenant-Colonel Kirill Barabash have been remanded in custody. Only one defendant, writer and journalist Yury Mukhin, is under house arrest. According to the prosecution, Sokolov, Mukhin, Parfenov and Barabash were continuing the activities of the banned organization People’s Will Army (ruled by a court to be extremist in the autumn of 2010) under cover of a campaign to hold a referendum “for accountable government”. The People’s Will Army had been banned on the basis of a leaflet, entitled “You elected them, you should judge them!” which called for the holding of a referendum to add to the Constitution an article providing for the public accountability of government officials. 

Igor Stenin, leader of Russians in Astrakhan.On 2 June Igor Stenin, leader of the nationalist Russians of Astrakhan movement, was released from a prison colony in Tambov region. On 16 May 2016 he had been sentenced to two years in a low-security prison colony for a publication on the VKontakte social networking site. According to the prosecution, Stenin reposted an article containing extremism, and added his own comment, “Death to the Kremlin occupiers, hands off Ukraine!” Activist Igor Stenin speaks here to OVD-Info about his prosecution, his time in prison, and his release.

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About the author

OVD-Info was launched by volunteers in 2011 as a means of quickly monitoring arrests during mass protests. It has evolved into a full-scale analytical project dealing with law enforcement issues in Russia. Find out how you can help here.

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