Radio Svoboda has published an interview (Russian) with Tatyana Osipova, a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group who as a political prisoner in the 1980s and served her sentence in the penal colonies of Mordovia along with human rights activists like Irina Ratushinskaya and Tatyana Velikanova. Osipova makes particular mention of Penal Colony No. 14, where Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been sent, saying that it in her time it had the most difficult conditions of all the labour camps in the area, and apparently still does 30 years later – indeed, the conditions may be even worse now.
– По-вашему, тема политзаключенных и в ХХI веке еще не закрыта?
– Мне казалось раньше, что эта тема закрыта, а оказывается, в стране мало что изменилось. Может быть, и был период улучшения, но сейчас, похоже, все вернулось на круги своя.
– In your opinion, is the topic of political prisoners not yet closed in the 21st century?
– I used to think that this topic was closed, but it turns out that not much has changed in the country. Perhaps there was a period of improvement, but now it seems that everything has gone back to how it was before.
There are signs that the propaganda war over use of chemical weapons in Syria may not be confined to Syria alone.
Vladimir Putin, speaking at the CSTO meeting in Sochi, Monday September 23:
“The militant groups (in Syria) did not come out of nowhere, and they will not vanish into thin air,” Putin said.
“The problem of terrorism spilling from one country to another is absolutely real and could directly affect the interests of any one of our countries,” he said, citing the deadly attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi as an example.
“We are now witnessing a terrible tragedy unfold in Kenya. The militants came from another country, as far as we can judge, and are committing horrendous, bloody crimes,” Putin said at a CSTO summit in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
Al-Shabab, on its Twitter account, Wednesday September 25:
Military training “Zapad-2013” continues
The large landing ships of the Northern, Baltic and Black Sea forces involved in the strategic exercises “Zapad-2013” set the course for Kaliningrad where they will disembark the Belarusian landing troops. The troops will participate in the maneuvers in anti-aircraft and anti-diversionary defense of the ship formation. According to the plan of the military training, the Belarusian military men will also participate in the final stage of “Zapad-2013” on the polygons of the Baltic fleet.
The full Russian text of the Pervyi Kanal and AP interview (Kleimyonov and Daniszewski) is here.
The North Ossetian town of Beslan is beginning three days of mourning to mark the ninth anniversary of a school hostage taking that left 334 people — including 186 children — dead.
Most of the hostages that died were killed when Russian security forces stormed the school and ended the siege, which began on the first day of the new school year.