Russian official accuses rights activists of sowing destructive ideas

Vladimir Markin file photo

(Interfax – June 10, 2013) Official spokesman for the Russian Investigations Committee Vladimir Markin has said that human rights activists do not always take an objective stance on some criminal cases and sometimes come up with ideas which are destructive for law and order, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 10 June. “Alas, numerous social commentators and human rights activists […]

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Court Extends Detentions as Bolotnoye Trial Begins

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow TImes – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – June 7, 2013) The trial against 12 people charged with violence against police and participation in alleged mass riots in the so-called Bolotnoye case ­ a case observers say is one of the largest politically motivated trials in recent history ­ opened at the Zamoskvoretsky District Court on Thursday. More than 400 […]

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Government Proposes New Grounds for NGO Raids

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 5, 2013) The government’s legislative commission has approved a draft amendment giving the authorities additional grounds on which to carry out unscheduled inspections of nongovernmental groups that violate Russian law, the Justice Ministry said Tuesday. According to the draft amendment, checks can be undertaken if violations are not fixed within time limits set by […]

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Market experts: Guriev situation already priced into ‘Russian risk’

Sergei Guriev file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 28, 2013) Russian financial market experts differed in their assessments of the impact of the situation surrounding Sergei Guriev, the rector of the New Economic School, which came to light on Tuesday evening. They agreed that the episode could negatively affect Russia’s investment appeal, but did not think it signaled a shift in the fundamental investment […]

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Government Advisors Protest ‘Foreign Agent’ Law

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti, MOSCOW, May 30, 2013) ­ A group of leading Russian economists has called on the government to reconsider a controversial new law that obliges some NGOs to register as “foreign agents,” saying it threatens to destroy the cooperation between independent experts and the authorities. The letter written by the economists, many of whom were involved in devising a […]

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Kremlin Human Rights Council justifies Yukos case experts questioned by investigators [re: Guriev]

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

(Interfax – May 30, 2013) Russian economist Sergei Guriyev and other experts invited to prepare a conclusion on the Yukos case for the Presidential Human Rights Council did not do anything illegal, the council’s head Mikhail Fedotov told Interfax. “I do not see anything unlawful in the work done by Guriyev and the other experts invited by us to conduct […]

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Russian government seeks stricter penalties for extremism

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – May 28, 2013) A Russian government commission has approved a draft law increasing criminal punishments for extremism-related crimes and wrongdoing by religious organizations, seeking stiffer penalties for an existing controversial extremism law. “The government legislation commission has approved for consideration a draft law establishing a legal basis for neutralizing the destructive activities of religious organizations […]

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Russian Deputy PM Lends Support To Social Networking Site

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(RIA Novosti – London, May 2, 2013)(Dateline as received) Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov hopes that social network VKontakte will continue despite the problems surrounding its founder, Pavel Durov. Social network VKontakte has recently found itself at the centre of several scandals. Information has appeared in the media about Durov’s involvement in a high-profile road accident in central St […]

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Will NGOs and Kremlin find a compromise amid inspections?

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Pavel Koshkin, RBTH – April 30, 2013) While the Russian authorities sum up the results of their large-scale inspections of NGOs, pundits make their guesses as to whether it is possible to reach a compromise on this issue. The large-scale inspections of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have puzzled both experts and NGO representatives. While […]

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Trying to please: The NGO checks are not just political – they are also busy work in action

Map of Russia

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – April 29, 2013) Anna Arutunyan is an editor and correspondent at themoscownews.com As the head of an organization that helps people suffering from cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disorder that affects the lungs, Olga Alekina, of the Aid to Patients with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, wasn’t exactly daunted when prosecutors demanded an explanation for […]

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Authorities to sum up results of the NGO inspections

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax –  April 30, 2013) The inspections of non-governmental organizations (NGO) are not large-scale and the results will be summarized in late May, Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin wrote in a letter to Chairman of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov. “The inspection does not pursue limiting NGO activities, it is preventive and aimed at forcing organizations […]

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Activists complain NGOs spend more time gathering documents for inspections than helping people

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 24, 2013) Representatives of human rights organizations have said that the number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) inspected by state agencies is excessive. “Hundreds of NGOs were inspected by the tax service, the Ministry of Justice, fire, sanitary agencies and other bodies. Some agencies gave ridiculous demands, for instance, to confirm that all employees of the organization […]

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Prosecutors checking Levada Center pollster as part of NGO inspections

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – April 24, 2013) Russian prosecutors, tax officials, and police are checking the offices of Levada Center, an independent polling organization, as part of a routine inspection of NGOs across the country, a source at the organization told The Moscow News on Wednesday. “They are checking the basic documents, the charter, financial documents […]

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Ethnically-Based Force Structures Make Clashes between Republics More Likely

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 22, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/04/window-on-eurasia-ethnically-based.html) The clash between Chechnya and Ingushetia over the border between the two became possible and is more serious because the authorities in each, with Moscow’s approval, have formed units in their force structures that consist largely or entirely of people from the titular nationality. And because that […]

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Police Raid Medvedev’s Innovation Hub Over Fraud Inquiry

Skolkovo File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov & Henry Meyer – April 18, 2013) Russian police raided the Skolkovo innovation hub, a project championed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a day after his speech to parliament was overshadowed by a leaked video. Investigators talked today to the foundation’s head, billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, and other top officials, Skolkovo spokesman Roman Shcherbakov said […]

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Case Against Russia’s ‘Bolotnaya’ Protesters Gathers Steam

Russian Riot Police file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – April 15, 2013) A helmeted policeman drags a woman down a barricaded street, one arm tightly locked around her neck. Dozens of riot police in full gear look on as the young woman, wearing a short black dress, gasps for air. The scene is captured in a dramatic snapshot taken at a sanctioned […]

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Presidential Council Member Urges Clear Rules for NGO Checks

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, April 16, 2013) Pavel Chikov, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, said on Monday that a clear set of rules for inspections of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is required. “There are no rules for prosecutors’ checks. In my opinion, this is the main lesson that we should learn from all these […]

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Russian police says NGOs made no complaints over ‘foreign agent’ checks

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, April 15, 2013) The Interior Ministry has received no complaints against police with regard to checks of non-commercial organizations, Deputy Minister Mikhail Vanichkin has said. “Since the start of the checks, there has not been a single complaint to date from heads of non-commercial organizations against the actions of the police,” Vanichkin told a special meeting of […]

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Documentary Series Shows ‘Hairs and Wrinkles’ of Opposition Leaders

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – April 8, 2013) Anti-Kremlin leader Alexei Navalny walks methodically past a crowd of protesters standing behind metal barricades on Bolotnaya Ploshchad, heading for a stage. Two baby-faced police officers step out of his way, blank expressions on their faces. “We’re with you,” a man in sunglasses says to Navalny. “Thanks,” Navalny answers […]

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NGO Inspections Aim to Control Foreign Funding – Putin

Vladimir Putin file photo

(RIA Novosti, HANOVER, April 8, 2013) The recent wave of inspections of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Russia is not aimed at restricting their activity but rather at controlling their foreign funding, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “All our actions are not designed to shut down or ban [the operation of NGOs in […]

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Raids on opposition spread to regions

Map of Russia

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – April 2, 2013) Russian law enforcement authorities have widened their search for opposition figures involved in the violent May 6 protest rally last year, with a series of raids in at least four regional cities, activists said. The raids were part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the violence that broke out […]

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Traffic Law Enforcement Disparity ‘Destabilizes’ Society

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – April 1, 2013) In a meeting with traffic police on Friday, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said the preferential treatement given to certain “categories of people” for traffic violations significantly destabilized society. He did not specify which categories he was referring to, but in recent years there have been numerous cases in which […]

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Pistols at dawn: Until the police can be trusted, more Russians will want guns

Makarov Handgun file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Konstantin von Eggert – April 2, 2013) “If you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns’ ­ so goes the famous slogan of the National Rifle Association in the US. Until recently, few people thought that this would ever be a contentious issue in Russia. But the case of Alexandra Lotkova, a 21-year-old Moscow student, […]

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Human Rights Council wants to discuss NGO checks with Russian Prosecutor General

Mikhail Fedotov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. March 28, 2013) Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council is expecting Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to explain the purposes of numerous inspections of non-governmental organizations (NGO) at the upcoming session of the council in April. “We have asked the Prosecutor General to participate in the council meeting so that representatives of the Prosecutor’s General Office can report […]

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Human Rights Council members doubt checks of non-profit entities relate to fight against extremism

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) – Prosecutors inspecting non-profit organizations are performing unusual duties, which are virtually repressive, a member of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council and board member of Memorial international society, Sergei Krivenko, said. “We tried to draw an analogy with the current unprecedented inspections in Memorial – nothing like that has happened in the past 25 years. The […]

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Prosecutor Says Extremism Law Is Behind NGO Checks

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, March 28 (RIA Novosti) ­ A recent series of spot checks on non-governmental organizations in Russia that caused outcry among rights advocates is aimed at establishing their compliance with laws against extremism and the legalization of criminal income, the Prosecutor General’s Office said Thursday. Nationwide NGO inspections have been taking place since last month, and most observers had linked […]

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Unannounced Checks of NGOs Persist

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – March 28, 2013) Prosecutors on Wednesday continued performing unannounced inspections of nongovernmental organizations, checking the Moscow offices of three prominent groups and summoning two human rights leaders for questioning. Officials have inspected about 2,000 NGOs nationwide in the past month, Pavel Chikov, head of the Agora human rights group, said by telephone. […]

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Authorities search NGOs for ‘foreign agents’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Stanislav Kuvaldin, special to RBTH – March 27, 2013) Law enforcement organs are conducting mass checks of Russian NGOs. According to information from human rights activists, more than 40 organizations in 16 regions of Russia have already been inspected. The Justice Ministry and the Public Prosecutor’s Office have announced their intention to check […]

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More Inspections Hit Rights NGOs in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian state officials continued a wave of raids on prominent rights organizations on Wednesday that activists describe as a renewed pressure campaign against non-governmental organizations in the country. On Wednesday, officials from the Prosecutor General’s Office and tax control service targeted several more NGOs, including the Moscow offices of Human Rights Watch, Transparency International […]

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Amnesty Intl’s Russian office chief says may be summoned to prosecutor’s office

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. March 25 (Interfax) – The head of Amnesty International’s Russian office Sergei Nikitin announced after police visited the office that he could be summoned to the prosecutor’s office soon. Prosecutors, Justice Ministry and tax officials started an audit on several nongovernmental organizations on Monday, among them Amnesty International, Public Verdict and the Movement for Human Rights. “They spent five […]

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Checks at Russian NGOs seek to identify ‘foreign agents’ – Justice Ministry

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – Moscow, March 25, 2013) The Justice Ministry has explained that mass checks at NGOs are being carried out to uncover the organizations that fall under the definition of “foreign agents”. “If breaches of the laws of the Russian Federation are uncovered, including the provisions of the Federal Law “On the introduction of changes to legislative acts as regards […]

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Former ‘Provocateur’ Blames Police for Bolotnaya Clashes

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – March 22, 2013) A man professing to be a former government operative has said that police officials, including the former interior minister, were involved in organizing clashes at an opposition rally last year, allegations that members of the Kremlin human rights council say could be trustworthy. The online television channel Politvestnik posted […]

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Arrest and custody, Russian-style

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(www.opendemocracy.net – Grigory Okhotin – February 22, 2031) Grigory Okhotin is a journalist and co-founder of the grassroots police monitoring organisation OVD-Info [‘police-info’]. [Charts here: http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/grigory-okhotin/arrest-and-custody-russian-style] Police custody, violence, trials and imprisonment have been all to common features on the Russian protest landscape since December 2011. A grassroots monitoring project called OVD-info has kept realtime data on the arrests; co-founder […]

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Police interference often disastrous for businesses – Russian Prosecutor General

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Feb 21 (Interfax) – Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said he was concerned with groundless interference of police in commercial disputes. “The practice of opening groundless criminal cases, arresting enterprises’ accounts and assets hasn’t been eradicated,” Chaika said during his speech at the all-Russian prosecutors’ conference on protecting rights of businessmen. Chaika said that “the number of operational procedures […]

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The interior ministry attempts to professionalize and reform the Russian police; Inadequate Professionalism in the Police Forces Remains a Problem for the Russian State

File Photo of Russian Policeman with Face Turned Towards Van

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 32 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Richard Arnold – February 20, 2013) New recruits to the Russian police will soon undergo mandatory polygraph tests in order to gain admission to the force. The requirement, introduced in June 2012 as part of a comprehensive reform of the police, will now be introduced in practice […]

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Navalny Ally’s Apartment Raided

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – February  8, 2013) Investigators on Thursday raided the apartment of Vladimir Ashurkov, director of the Foundation for Fighting Corruption and an anti-Kremlin activist, in connection with a criminal case against opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Navalny, who started the foundation, is accused of stealing 100 million rubles ($3.3 million) from the now-defunct Union […]

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Police Held Over 5,000 At Russian Political Rallies – Report

Moscow Protest file photo

MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) – The police detained at least 5,156 people at political rallies in Moscow and its suburbs in the past 13 months, during modern Russia’s most restive period since the end of the USSR, a new report said. The detentions, often accompanied by violence, were made at some 228 rallies in the period between December 4, […]

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Police Began Violence At Protest, Panel Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – February 4, 2013) Members of the Kremlin’s human rights council believe that police, not activists, instigated violence at a May opposition protest, a council member said Friday. “The qualification of the Bolotnaya Ploshchad protest as a mass riot was artificially thought up by the Investigative Committee. It does not reflect the reality […]

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NEWSLINK: Riot Police Stand By and Watch Attack on Homosexual Activists

Russian Duma Building

[“Riot Police Stand By and Watch Attack on LGBT Activists” – Vedomosti – January 31, 2013] Vedomosti reports on a demonstration in front of the Duma featuring homosexual behavior in the form of same-sex kissing, broken up by “Orthodox fundamentalists,” with police reportedly then arresting only the homosexual demonstrators: … Russian authorities seem to have given up their monopoly on […]

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Police corruption: all you need is trust

Hands Opening Envelope Containing Cash

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – January 28, 2013) On Saturday, an inebriated policeman was involved in a deadly car accident on Leninsky Prospekt in Moscow. The policeman, whose official salary is 50,000 rubles a month, was behind the wheel of a Range Rover (the cost of which is about 3.5 million rubles). One person was killed after […]

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Moscow Students Invoke Putin for Protection in Rare Strike

MOSCOW, December 26 (Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti) ­ Moscow students on strike to protest the merger of their college plastered the premises with portraits of President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to repel possible police attacks, a strike organizer said on Wednesday. “Riot police are known to crack down on protesters who do not represent a threat, we hope this […]

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Moscow Cossack Patrol Unsanctioned -­ Officials

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, November 27 (RIA Novosti) ­ Self-proclaimed Cossacks who began patrolling central Moscow on Tuesday were not authorized to do so, despite claiming otherwise, the district administration said. A group of people styling themselves Cossacks patrolled a downtown square by the capital’s Belorussky train station on Tuesday, reports said. Eight men in furry hats and striped trousers, outnumbered five to […]

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Police violate citizens’ rights all across Russia – Prosecutor General’s Office

Moscow Traffic file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) – The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office referred a letter to the Interior Ministry after investigating police abuses jointly with regional prosecutors, claiming that police violate the law on administrative offences all across Russia. “Police violate citizens’ rights and the Code of Administrative Offences all across Russia. Police have even started criminal cases against deceased citizens in […]

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Pozner Show Will Continue Airing on Channel 1 – TV Personality

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Famous TV anchor Vladimir Pozner has said that his show will continue airing on Channel 1 and that he has not had to apologize to anyone for his comments about the Russian law enforcement system. “Let me get things clear. I did not apologize, I was not fired, reports of my departure are absolute nonsense, […]

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Russians’ Confidence in Police Grows a Little – Poll

Russian Police Officer file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Nothing changed with renaming of Russian militia into police, said 64% of 1,600 respondents polled by the Superjob.ru portal in late October. The opinion was expressed by 71% in a similar poll in 2011. Ten percent believe there is a certain deterioration (8% last year), and 5% claim changes for the better (3% in 2011). […]

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Putin: Police Reform Cannot Be Considered Finished

Russian Police Officer file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) – The reform of the Russian police system cannot be considered finished, and further efforts are needed to improve it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev on Saturday. “The reform of which it has been said so much and which is being carried out perhaps cannot be considered finished. […]

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