Month: July 2013

Pogrom in St Petersburg

A camera follows a group of Russian nationalists as they make the rounds of St Petersburg fruit stalls run by migrants from Central Asia and the south of Russia, overturning and stealing the fruit and threatening the migrants – mostly women and elderly men –  with baseball bats. The police back up the nationalists, first standing idly and approvingly by while the intimidation takes place, and then detaining many of the migrants on suspicion of illegal status.

Hat tip: Marina Litvinovich on Twitter

Cyberwarfare and Propaganda

At Wired State, Catherine Fitzpatrick has compiled a detailed timeline that highlights the deep interrelation of events surrounding the WikiLeaks state security-breaking campaign, the Snowden affair and the involvement of the Russian government and intelligence services in both. As she points out, there is a clear mutual, though not necessarily causal connection between

Kremlin TV’s propagandistic celebration of US hackers in Anonymous; WikiLeaks and Occupy; Russia’s own crackdown on Internet freedom and “foreign agents” at home (mirroring its one-time championing of Western peace movements by the Soviet government even as it jailed pacifists at home).

Fitzpatrick also notes that

America has enemies from both domestic and foreign non-state and foreign state actors, some of whom show signs of collusion with each other; they are succeeding to alarming degrees; the pushback against them causes new backlashes and enables enemies to portray the US as “oppressive” and distract from the greater oppression of Russia, China, Iran and other authoritarian states…

Alyokhina Denied Parole

Maria Alyokhina has refused further participation in the parole hearing at the Perm Regional Court, which she has been attending via videoconference from the remand center where she is being held, claiming that the proceedings are a travesty of justice and her rights are being fundamentally violated. As a sign of her non-participation, she turned her back to the camera.  Her request for parole has now been denied by the court.

Navalny Interview

Alexey Navalny has given his first full-length interview since being freed from captivity. TV Rain’s Ilya Vasyunin is the interviewer. Excerpt:

Васюнин: Многие, в том числе оппозиционные, политики, сегодня говорят о том, что Навальный стал некой разменной фигурой в политической игре, за него вступается одна группа против другой группы в Кремле. Как ты к этим разговорам относишься?

Навальный: Это что за оппозиционные политики такие? Это какие-то клоуны, а не оппозиционные политики. У меня нет ни желания, ни возможности, ни необходимости доказывать кому-то, что я не являюсь пешкой в игре. Есть люди, которые меня окружают. Эти люди мне верят. Мне этого достаточно. Какие-то там непонятные «оппозиционные» политики меня совершенно не интересуют.

Vasyunin: Many people, including members of the opposition, politicians, are saying today that Navalny has become a kind of interchangeable figure in the political game, that one group in the Kremlin stands up for him against another. How do you feel about this talk?

Navalny: What sort of opposition politicians are they? They are some sort of clowns, not opposition politicians. I have neither the desire nor the possibility nor the need to prove to anyone that I am not a pawn in a game. There are people who surround me. Those people trust me. For me that’s enough. Some strange “opposition” politicians don’t interest me at all.

Navalny and Ofitserov Released Pending Appeal

In a sign that the Kremlin may be having some second thoughts, Alexey Navalny and Pyotr Ofitserov have been released from custody pending their appeal, with travel restrictions.

In Eurasia Outlook, Petr Topychkanov writes of two points that may underlie the effects of this decision:

the unexpected consequences of a political act, undertaken without the proper understanding of the rapid political, social, and economic changes that are taking place. The second one is that trying to secure their political position by means of primarily pressure or violence, political actors can weaken their position.

Alyokhina ‘Beaten by Guards’

Khodorkovsky Center reports that Maria Alyokhina has been beaten by guards in the remand center in Solikamsk where she is currently being held, for refusing to be transferred to another prison without access to documents. More details from RAPSI.

Update 1: In a statement to Novaya Gazeta, Alyokhina’s lawyer Oksana Darova has denied that she saw her client being beaten.

Update 2: Alyokhina has written a letter to Novoye Vremya from the remand center in  Solikamsk.

Navalny Declared Guilty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been found guilty of embezzlement, in a political trial aimed at silencing him.

See  also these links:

Sentence is 5 years.