Human Rights

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

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.

May 6 show trial begins

In the New Republic, Joshua Yaffa discusses the Moscow trial of the twelve May 6 defendants, which began today, and sets it in the historical and political context of Russia’s show trials of the Stalin era.

The May 6 defendants will be cast as the foot soldiers of a would-be putsch, with Udaltsov, in his scheming with foreigners, playing a role loosely modeled on Trotsky’s.

Taksim Solidarity – press release

The Taksim Solidarity website has issued the following statement:

June 18th, 2013 Press Release

19 June 2013


Cutting the trees at Gezi Park, attacking people camping at Gezi at the crack of dawn with water cannons and tear gas, using rubber bullets and spraying millions of protesters with chemicals was not the end of police violence. It is still full on, now with the help of thugs armed with sticks and knives.

Four people have already died during the protests, hundreds were injured and disabled. Ethem Sarısülük was shot with a bullet in Ankara. Now the government has started a “witch hunt”. Hundreds of Turkish citizens, who claimed their park, insisted on their demands and asked for more freedoms have been collected from their homes in the early hours of the morning. Police brutality in the form of custody and arrests is forced upon people exercising their democratic rights. Members of trade associations, unions and political parties are being arrested far and wide. There is an atmosphere of oppression and fear.

253 people have been arrested in Istanbul and 142 in Ankara. The number is on the rise all over the country. We demand the immediate release of everyone under police custody and an end to this anti-democratic policy. We expect health reports on the 7822 people -59 of whom are in critical condition – injured as a result of police violence. Those responsible for this severe picture and the deaths of 4 people should be held accountable, deposed and taken to court.

Responding to democratic protests with police violence followed by mass custody and arrest operations is an all-too-familiar state tradition in Turkey. The current government is doing this on an unprecedented scale. Every coup d’etat, every authoritarian episode had brought along mass arrests in Turkey. The Gezi Park resistance had risen above these outdated authoritarian methods with its popularity, pacifism, legitimacy and creativity. Marches, pots and pans, human chains, and “standing people” have all been transformed into platforms of democratic response.

The demands which started off in Taksim are widely shared now. There is no going back. Tree cutters returned to the park through the council planting new trees and flowers. A proper explanation and apology would have been more meaningful than this perfunctory self-criticism.

Those who suggested that they could do whatever they wanted with the trees, with the park have now realised that they cannot ignore the demands of the people anymore. We are looking forward to a declaration about the cancellation of the development (Topçu Kışlası) project and the deposal of those responsible for it. The use of tear gas and other human health hazards should be banned immediately and those in custody should be released. This is the way to social peace.

Taksim Solidarity will be following up on these demands shared by millions and support the injured and those under police custody. We will be loud and clear in our demands until the wounded are well and those under custody free.


Anti-gay law to omit term “homosexuality”

The anti-gay legislation now about to receive its second and third readings in the Russian Duma will not contain the word “homosexuality”, according to Yelena Mizulina, chairwoman of the Committee on Families, Women and Children, Grani reports. Instead, the bill will use the term “non-traditional sexual relations”.

Pussy Riot in New York

Via the Guardian:

At an unannounced appearance at a radical feminist bookstore in New York, two members of the Russian punk rock group that sparked an international crisis for Vladimir Putin took off their iconic colorful balaclavas and revealed their faces.