Дайджест
3 Июня 2010 года

GLASNOST DEFENSE FOUNDATION DIGEST No. 480

TOPIC OF THE WEEK
Amnesty International report presented in Moscow

RUSSIA
1. Republic of Khakassia. Abakan mayor fires critically-minded journalists
2. Sakhalin Region. Reporter struggles with bureaucrats
3. Nizhny Novgorod Region. Journalists convicted for libel
4. Altai Republic. Prosecutor’s office stands up for journalists
5. Leningrad Region. Editor replaced for disloyalty to United Russia party
6. Sverdlovsk Region. Disrespect or non-professionalism?
7. Rostov Region. Antimonopoly Service department ruins newspapers
8. Republic of Karelia. Journalists nominate officials for “Gag” anti-award
9. Krasnodar. Who attacked reporter?

ARMENIA
Defamation law amended

GLASNOST DEFENSE FOUNDATION
Some statistics cited

OUR PUBLICATIONS
Censorship introduced in Chelyabinsk Region?

DIGEST MAIL
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TOPIC OF THE WEEK

Amnesty International report presented in Moscow

By Dmitry Florin,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

Amnesty International (AI) presented its new human rights report at Moscow’s Central House of Journalists May 26.

The report is a summary of facts about human rights violations in 150 countries of the world in 2009, with a list of sources at the end of each country review providing details about abuses that occurred in that country.

As regards Russia, the major problems include red tape and “some regional authorities’ unwillingness to facilitate our work,” according to Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty’s Europe and Central Asia program director.     

As the previous report was presented in Moscow last year, the GDF correspondent asked Friederike Behr, head of the AI office in Russia, about how their work in the Chechen Republic was organized. She said they had received a message from Chechen authorities saying the situation there was so “calm and quiet” that sending over an Amnesty representative was “simply unnecessary”, meaning they prohibited AI specialists’ entry into Chechnya. According to N. Duckworth, nothing has changed ever since: this year human rights defenders were again barred from the republic – and again, on the pretext that everything is all right there.

Oleg Orlov, president of the human rights center Memorial, says Amnesty International has nevertheless helped them in their work. “After Natalia Estemirova was abducted in Grozny last summer, Amnesty promptly interfered to stir up public opinion and make a series of appeals to Chechen and Russian government authorities. Knowing there is a large international human rights organization among our helpers gives us a feeling of confidence,” he told the GDF correspondent.

“I dream of living somewhere in peace with my daughter, becoming a grandmother and being kind to my grandchildren, but I still have a task to fulfill here... This is a declaration of war, we have to fight for justice, we cannot give up.” These words, opening the Europe and Central Asia section of the report, were said by Natalia Estemirova in a conversation with an Amnesty International representative in 2009, shortly after the killing of her friend and fellow human rights defender Stanislav Markelov.

“It would […] be a tragedy doomed to repetition, should the Russian legal system again prove utterly ineffective in ensuring accountability for the life of another activist who braved death threats and intimidation to demand justice for others,” the report says.

“Across Europe and Central Asia, governments failed to live up to their responsibilities to protect human rights defenders, and made continued efforts to suppress those who sought to publicize abuses, articulate alternative views or hold different beliefs. Many governments used repressive measures, or exploited the seeming indifference of the international community, to shield themselves from accountability. They continued to erode human rights, evade their obligations, and suffer a failure of political will in addressing key abuses,” the report says.

Asked by the GDF correspondent if it at all makes sense for Amnesty International to work in Russia if it is actually impossible to attain any positive results here, Friederike Behr said there is some hope to get at least some official reaction to the facts of abuses and crimes being made known to the international public. “We wouldn’t work here if there were no hope at all,” F. Behr said.


For the full text of the Amnesty International report, click on
http://thereport.amnesty.org/node/680
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RUSSIA

1. Republic of Khakassia. Abakan mayor fires critically-minded journalists

By Mikhail Afanasyev,
GDF staff correspondent in Siberian Federal District

Abakan Mayor Nikolai Bulakin has been busy vigilantly guarding the “purity” of the municipal administration’s positive public image.

Amidst Victory Day celebrations on May 9, a local World War II veteran lost his souvenir ribbon to the Order of St. George that was supposed to be his pass into the open-air area where festive food and drinks were served to war veterans. Municipal administrators in charge of the event declined to let him through without that ribbon despite his having quite a fruit salad on his chest, and dumped a torrent of rude and insulting words on him. Journalist Maria Kidyayeva of the municipal newspaper Abakan, who happened to be nearby, described the shameful incident in her May 19th report featured in the section “Personal Opinion”. The story’s tonality showed the girl’s sincere sympathy for the hapless old soldier.

On May 24 Mayor Bulakin summoned Abakan editor-in-chief Vsevolod Pimenov and municipal media holding director Dmitry Chechurov to his office and urged both men to resign. Pimenov promptly did so; Chechurov’s reaction is still unknown. Reporter M. Kidyayeva was fired, too – allegedly in response to a complaint filed by the City Council of War Veterans.

Bulakin is known to have felt no remorse assigning land for the construction of a hazardous chemical plant in the city. But when journalists from a municipal media outlet “spoiled the festive atmosphere” of a public event organized under his personal guidance and, still worse, took the liberty of hinting at the city administrators’ callous indifference towards senior citizens, he was quick to find who is to blame – those daring to question the sincerity of his “care and respect” for war veterans and failing to understand that any public event organized by the authorities is just doomed to give each and every one a feeling of “heavenly happiness”…

The young lady journalist, who stood up against government officials’ rudeness and lost her job for that, deserves every kind of praise for staying an honest and noble-hearted person.


2. Sakhalin Region. Reporter struggles with bureaucrats

By Olga Vassilyeva,
GDF staff correspondent in Far Eastern Federal District

Galina Kritskaya, a journalist from the town of Poronaisk, Sakhalin Region, is preparing to lodge a legal claim against government officials who defy the RF Constitution and Media Law by breaching the rules of providing copies of official documents at people’s request and the procedure of responding to citizens’ appeals.

For the past four years, Kritskaya has been writing about abuses by local officials in charge of the payment of subsidies to hyperboreans leaving for the mainland. In line with Federal Law No. 125, Sakhalin residents who leave areas beyond the Arctic Circle after staying there for at least 15 years are entitled to apply for a municipal subsidy – a sum sufficient to purchase modest housing on the mainland.

G. Kritskaya, who has lived all her life on Sakhalin Island, applied for such a subsidy back in 1999 and was registered 169th. Since then, she has been moving downwards – not upwards – on the waiting list, finding out recently that she is number 192 now (sic!). The same odd thing has been happening also to other applicants, mostly disabled persons and pensioners – in contrast to government officials and their family members who have been quick to receive subsidies even if having comfortable and spacious apartments in Sakhalin.

They have been able to obtain the subsidies in line with little-known but regularly issued internal “additions to mayoral decrees”. Galina complained to the prosecutor’s office, filed several legal claims and requested copies of the mayor’s secret orders, specifying their numbers and dates of issuance and referring to the particular laws giving her the right to request such information. Moreover, she attached copies of her critical reports on the subject published in the local newspaper Zvezda.

She did not receive any reply at all.

The prosecutor’s office failed to carry out the relevant checkups, sending her a purely formal and meaningless reply, and she appealed against the prosecutors’ inaction first to the city court and then to the regional court (the latter considered her appeal on May 25). Both judicial authorities turned her pleas down, causing Kritskaya to start preparing a legal claim against the lawbreaking officials to be filed with the city court, and an appeal to the RF Supreme Court against the inactive prosecutors.


3. Nizhny Novgorod Region. Journalists convicted for libel

By Natalia Severskaya,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

On May 13, justice of the peace M. Chengayeva of Precinct No. 4 in the city of Arzamas considered the case of Alexander Andronyuk, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Arzamasskiye Vesti, and deputy editor Anatoly Chernyagin, accused of libel under Article 129 of the RF Criminal Code.

According to the investigators, two articles published by Andronyuk and Chernyagin in their newspaper smeared Mikhail Buzin, director of OOO GorVodokanal (water supply and sewage company), by suggesting that “from the very outset, M. Buzin’s actions aimed at seizing control over GorVodokanal have been unlawful, which fact is confirmed by documents” (see  http://www.gdf.ru/digest/item/1/722#rus2 ).

The court decided that the accused deliberately circulated a priori false information compromising M. Buzin, who is also a leading member of the local branch of the ruling United Russia party, because “the accuracy of that information has not been proven in the course of the hearings”. As a result, Andronyuk and Chernyagin were sentenced to 200 hours of correctional labor each, and deprived of the right to engage in journalism for the next 3 years.

Challenging that ruling as unlawful and groundless, A. Andronyuk appealed against it to the city court of Arzamas.


4. Altai Republic. Prosecutor’s office stands up for journalists

By Natalia Severskaya,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

The administration of the city of Gorno-Altaisk has been seeking to dodge the provision of information at media request by using a novel practice – reference to the copyright law, Sergey Mikhailov, the founder of the newspaper Listok, told the GDF correspondent.

According to Mikhailov, when his newspaper requested information needed to evaluate the quality of housing offered to tenants of ramshackle old buildings, the administration sent a reply that said, in part: “As stipulated in Articles 1225 and 1259 of the RF Civil Code, architectural and urban development works, including blueprints, drawings, pictures and models, are subject to copyright protection in line with effective legislation.”

The journalists complained to the city prosecutor’s office which carried out appropriate checkups and established that the denial of information constituted a breach of federal law. An info received from the prosecutor’s office says, “Acting City Prosecutor E. G. Volkova required the Mayor of Gorno-Altaisk April 26, 2010 to end the unlawful practice.”


5. Leningrad Region. Editor replaced for disloyalty to United Russia party

Anastasia Tikhomirova, editor-in-chief of the STV network (town of Sosnovy Bor), has been compelled to resign in view of her unwillingness to sing United Russia’s praises, the web portal Lenizdat.ru reported May 27.

“I knew about TV being politically engaged in big cities but never expected those practices to be as widespread in the provinces,” Tikhomirova said.

It all began with her proposing to organize a TV marathon dedicated to Victory Day – a potentially big social event for Sosnovy Bor. But on April 14 Leningrad Region Governor Valery Serdyukov called a conference of media head managers from across the region to advise them on what he thought would be “appropriate” coverage of the 65th anniversary of the victory in World War II. The conference was attended, among others, by STV general director Vassily Mishin who came back suggesting “saying a few words about United Russia’s involvement in the marathon project”.

A few days later Mishin told Tikhomirova to prepare credits: “The TV marathon was organized at the initiative of the local branch of the United Russia party” – although that was not true, according to Anastasia. The editor suggested playing it down: “…with URP participation”. But the general director firmly stood his ground: “You are refusing to fulfill my orders? I don’t need such an editor. You may go hold the marathon anywhere else you like!” He was putting pressure on Tikhomirova in the presence of journalists, cameramen and other staffers attending the planning meeting, she said. Colleagues did their best to help scale tensions down but Mishin called the head of Personnel telling him to prepare the documents for the editor’s dismissal.

Facing the prospect of being fired for incompetence, Tikhomirova resigned voluntarily, pointing to her “profound disagreement with the company’s broadcasting policy” as the reason.

“Putting pressure on the editor with a view to ascribing the authorship of a socially significant TV project to United Russia creates a dangerous precedent,” she summed up.

V. Mishin offered his own version of what had happened. He told Lenizdat.ru that the project had been conceived and started – at URP initiative – before Tikhomirova joined STV. “They had promised comprehensive support and actually provided it in due time,” the general director said. According to him, the conflict flared up because Tikhomirova demanded additional pay at the very last moment. “I felt sort of puzzled by the way she behaved. Maybe she overworked a bit and started claiming what was not due to her – something beyond her contractual remuneration. So when she tendered her resignation, I signed it,” Mishin said.


6. Sverdlovsk Region. Disrespect or non-professionalism?

By Vladimir Golubev,
GDF staff correspondent in Urals Federal District

The Mid-Urals journalistic community feels bewildered by the media policy pursued by the new Sverdlovsk Governor, Alexander Misharin – or, rather, by his total indifference towards the media. Despite the impressive number of advisers in his team, there is no one to give intelligible answers to journalists’ questions. The sole department head to whom a reporter might turn for meaningful information until recently, Mikhail Ketko, has tendered his resignation. Open meetings with the press that the previous governor, Eduard Rossel, used to hold on a monthly basis, have been canceled in favor of quarterly news conferences that only give journalists an additional headache …

According to an eyewitness, Karpinsky Rabochiy editor Olga Brulyova, the latest such news conference, held May 26, opened with her asking the governor the following question: “The conference was scheduled to begin at 12:30 and then it was delayed until 1:30 p.m. You came at 2:08 – would you please explain why? Is it because of your being too busy, or because your team is poorly organized, or because of your general disrespect for the journalists?” The audience exploded with a storm of applause. Taking a pause to think it over, the governor said: “I don’t know. My timetable said the news conference was due to begin at 2 p.m. Well, you might as well have used that time talking to each other or walking around the residence – there are quite a few interesting things to see here…”

At 2 p.m. sharp, veteran journalist Ian Khutoryansky said to Dmitry Polyanin, head of the regional Journalists’ Union, who was sitting next to him: “If only all the journalists rose and left right now, there would be no repetition of this situation, ever.” And he stood up and walked out.


7. Rostov Region. Antimonopoly Service department ruins newspapers

By Anna Lebedeva,
GDF staff correspondent in Southern Federal District

The Rostov department of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has been charging ruinous fines on media outlets for any, even a minor, breach of the advertising law. Until March 31, the fine amounted to RUR 40,000; with the subsequent amendments to the Administrative Code, it now ranges from RUR 100,000 to RUR 500,000.

Meanwhile, the advertising law provides, as the first response measure, for the issuance of a warning pointing to the need to rectify the situation. However, the regional FAS department never bothers to issue warnings since the media outlets concerned are supposed to have stopped their wrongful practices; instead, it levies fines.

“We were fined because one ad about the installation of plastic window frames (which had been prepaid as required under the law) failed to have the word ‘Advertisement’ typed over it, and another failed to specify the banks offering loans to pay for the window installation service,” Svetlana Gorbaneva, editor of the newspaper Plast (city of Shakhty) said. “We only have three employees on our payroll, since we have independently issued the newspaper ever since its former owner, RostovUgol Company, was closed. To us, 40 thousand rubles is an astronomic sum. And now the Antimonopoly Committee is about to institute legal proceedings in connection with the same errors against our accountant who performed as acting director while I stayed in hospital after a heart attack.”

Penalized newspaper editors have challenged FAS decisions before courts of appeal which, however, have invariably found in favor of the antimonopoly agency. Valery Pestrakovich, editor of the Romanovsky Vestnik (Volgodonsky District) is also the sole reporter for his small local newspaper, to whom the FAS-imposed fine actually means bankruptcy.

“Still worse, the regional Press Department sent us a memo a few days ago saying all media outlets must urgently purchase licensed computer software or face inordinate fines,” Valery said. “That software will cost us RUR 80,000 as a minimum. Our founder, the district administration, is unlikely to allocate so large a sum for the purpose. Nor can we possibly earn that money on commercial advertising because there isn’t a single industrial enterprise in our district. What are we supposed to do in this kind of situation?”

Trud editor Yuri Titarenko (Kamensky District) has appealed to the regional branch of the RF Journalists’ Union to help verify the validity of sanctions imposed by the antimonopoly authority. A meeting of editors with the regional FAS deputy head Konstantin Korenchenko was organized, giving rise to heated debates. However, Korenchenko was reluctant to answer advertising-related questions, promising to discuss them at length at a seminar to be held by a commercial company. Admission to the one-day seminar would cost RUR 5,500 per person.

Invitations to participate in the seminar where the main report will be delivered by Korenchenko have been sent to all municipal and district newspapers. But the penalized district editors are unlikely to attend – having paid the FAS-levied fines they will just not be able to afford it.


8. Republic of Karelia. Journalists nominate officials for “Gag” anti-award

By Anatoly Tsygankov,
GDF staff correspondent in North-Western Federal District

Every year Karelian journalists honor their best-performing colleagues by giving them various prestigious awards. Also, they name the high-ranking government officials hampering the media’s work.

The criteria for selecting nominees for the anti-award called “Gag” are fairly simple. Those officials who decline to comment on socially significant developments, or interfere with journalists’ work, or hide behind their press services unaware that power structures must be transparent and fully open to public scrutiny, are all likely to be nominated for the anti-award. This year’s group of “Gag” nominees included Karelia’s Culture and PR Minister Galina Brun; Finance Minister Sergey Mikhailov; Communal Reform Committee head Vladimir Koryagin; Construction Deputy Minister Alexander Yefimov; Chief Bailiff Yevgeny Dyogot and others. But the most frequently mentioned name was that of Anatoly Kovalenko, chief of Karelia’s Consumer Rights Defense and Public Wellbeing Supervisory Service, and it was to him that the anti-award finally went based on the voting results.

When the names of the “Gag” nominees were made public, two of the agencies concerned (the Culture Ministry and the Bailiffs) called the Journalists’ Union to find out why the journalists had so critically assessed their leaders’ performance. That did not look like idle curiosity. Hopefully, the two high-ranking officials’ names will not reappear on the list of “Gag” nominees next year.


9. Krasnodar. Who attacked reporter?

By Victoria Tashmatova,
GDF staff correspondent in Southern Federal District

Journalist Alexander Leonenko, a reporter for Novoye Televideniye Kubani, was attacked in Krasnodar May 25.

He was on his way home after work and had only driven a few blocks from the NTK office when a black BMW without license plates popped up in front of him, causing him to stop. Several men walked up to his car, broke the windshield, pulled him out and proceeded to beat him. Then they drove away, leaving him with a smashed face and several bruises.

Colleagues link the attack with Leonenko’s professional activities: he often shoots crime reports on drug trafficking, illegal migration, unlawful sales of alcohol, etc. One other possible reason is his recent independent investigation into the emergence and spread of a new drug across the region.

Alexander reported the attack to the police. The law enforcers are checking the circumstances.
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ARMENIA

Defamation law amended

By Anna Lebedeva,
GDF staff correspondent in Southern Federal District

The National Assembly in Armenia has passed amendments and additions to the Civil and Criminal Codes abolishing criminal liability for defamation. From now on, libel will be punishable by a monetary fine at the worst and will entail civil – not criminal – liability.

International and European organizations have long urged Armenia to amend its defamation law. According to the Caucasian Knot news agency, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe suggested canceling criminal punishment for libel back in 2004.

Anyone claiming to have been defamed or suffered damage to his/her honor, dignity or business reputation will only be able to claim compensation in court. A defendant, for his/her part, will be offered to select the particular form of compensation – apology, refutation or monetary fine. The latter will substantially increase to vary between AMD 500,000 (over USD 1,300) and AMD 2,000,000 (over USD 5,200). Signaling a serious change to effective legislation, compensation will be paid directly to the victim, not into the national budget as it used to be done before.
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GLASNOST DEFENSE FOUNDATION

Some statistics cited

Last week, the Glasnost Defense Foundation was referred to at least 20 times in the Internet, including at:

http://www.newsmsk.com/article/25May2010/beketov.html
http://www.epochtimes.ru/content/view/37393/9/
http://www.newsru.com/russia/24may2010/beketov.html
http://www.regnum.ru/news/1286837.html
http://www.murmannews.ru/allnews/1005829/
http://dolgoprudny-news.ru/main_stories/1150
http://vibor33.ru/content/view/988/68/
http://newstula.ru/news/view/23474/
http://www.68news.ru/society/1776-tambovskie-smi-na-karte-glasnosti.html
http://www.stavropolye.tv/society/view/21046
http://www.tamboff.ru/article/view/id/1386
http://www.arsvest.ru/archive/issue897/politica/view18423.html
http://echo.msk.ru/news/682795-echo.html
http://raionka.perm.ru/news/2010/05/26/180/
http://www.pln-pskov.ru/politics/77686.html
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OUR PUBLICATIONS

Censorship introduced in Chelyabinsk Region?

By Irina Gundareva,
GDF staff correspondent in Urals Federal District

Naturally, no one imposed it openly. Censorship emerged from within and by itself as a result of power concentration in the hands of Mikhail Yurevich, the former mayor of Chelyabinsk recently appointed the regional governor. His de facto combining the two offices is an absolutely indisputable fact. The new governor’s PR technologists and their ready-to-please supporters in parliament have succeeded in cheating the residents of Chelyabinsk with amazing legal subtlety, depriving them of the right to elect a mayor to their liking – the vacancy will shortly be filled by a member of the regional Duma fully controlled by Yurevich. To prevent an outburst of popular anger, the cheating action was veiled by a score of excerpts from federal and local legislation and even justified by a special determination furnished for the occasion by the prosecutor’s office. Those dissatisfied with the abolition of direct elections have nothing to do but gloat over who will bite whose head off within the deputies’ clan in the fight for the mayoral seat.

Local journalists are in despair: in the past they had at least some room for maneuver between the mayoral and gubernatorial teams due to the opportunity to criticize now one, now the other; today any criticism is under taboo.

This was proven by some of the new team’s very first steps. When Galina Ivanova, editor of the region’s oldest news website Ural-press.ru, was summoned to the office of Vadim Yevdokimov, a former radio DJ turned the governor’s chief of staff, the official was sincerely surprised to learn that her website is fully independent and not controlled by the regional administration, Legislative Assembly or any other pro-government structure. As a piece of friendly advice, he recommended removing from her website the link to the blog of the prominent regional political scientist Alexander Podoprigora who often criticizes authorities and whose column has therefore been banned.

The new regional rulers take the media very seriously and spare no effort to keep them at hand and under control. Every Friday, First Vice-Governor Oleg Grachov meets with journalists to share information presenting the regional leadership to the best advantage, and to skirt “inconvenient” questions. Quick on the uptake, reporters never even try to ask this kind of questions, knowing all too well the vice-governor will brush those aside and turn the presumably two-way communication process into a monologue.

That censorship is in place is confirmed by a variety of facts. One is that people in one of the residential areas in Chelyabinsk have been trying hard to draw the administration’s attention to the total absence of municipal kindergartens in their neighborhood. They have been writing appeals, staging rallies and calling news conferences to highlight the problem. Some media, especially those owned by Mikhail Yurevich (who is also a local media tycoon), have been refusing from the outset to cover this topic, writing the whole thing off as the previous mayoral team’s blunder – so why waste time on that? Others have been coming to talk to residents, jot things down, shoot some video sequences and – forget all about it because those at the helm are stubbornly unwilling to acknowledge the kindergarten problem or hear anything about it.

The regional media are finding it difficult to survive: state support has long since petered out and commercial ad proceeds are very irregular. Businessmen sensitive to political trends prefer to place advertising orders with media outlets reputed to be close to power. The weekly Sosedi, for one, which is owned by First Vice-Governor Grachov’s wife, always features lots of commercial ads. Struggling to stay afloat, other media have been letting themselves be hooked by administration-proposed “information service contracts”. Officially, these require the media to provide coverage of government efforts to implement social programs, deal with current economic matters, etc. Unofficially, the rulers demand adulatory publications praising their performance to the skies while hushing up really serious problems; they ruthlessly edit media texts to make them definitely pro-government in tonality, and, under the threat of contract termination, they actually censor all reported information. That is why even the fastest-working news websites post government-related information after a delay – well smoothed-out, glossed-over, and heavily edited “from above”. 

Almost all the media across the Chelyabinsk Region have signed those contracts. Those few that prefer to stay away from the ruling circles usually represent some federal media structures, like the newspaper Sinegorye issued by Moscow-based Provintsiya Publishers’. Actually, the media are compelled to choose: either to eat the administration’s toads (and succumb to censorship) or be closed.

As a likely next step, the regional authorities may start issuing employment bans for individual opposition-minded journalists. The same Vadim Yevdokimov may call a media office someday to tell them in a sweet and tender voice that some reporter or other must be fired. Precedents are already known. 
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DIGEST MAIL

Dear Mr. Simonov:

This is to call your attention to the ill-treatment of the newspaper Buzulukskiye Novosti (BN) by the Orenburg Region authorities in defiance of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The release of the latest issue of BN was disrupted; as it turned out, the director of the Sorochinsky printing house had received orders not to print Buzulukskiye Novosti ever again.

The ban followed our publication “Capital Repairs: Quest of Easy Profit?” that called attention to numerous instances of slapdash work mixed with clear fraud during the capital repairs and new construction of housing for re-settlers from ramshackle buildings in Buzuluk, financed with money from the Communal Reform Assistance Fund. The article criticized N. Krendelyov, the regional deputy minister of construction, communal services and roads, who has repeatedly come to Buzuluk to oversee the implementation of the capital repairs plan.
 
Instead of looking into the core of the problem highlighted by our newspaper, regional administration officials rushed to apply sanctions as the surest way to gag BN. Moreover, they realized that suing our newspaper would be futile: the said article cited serious proofs of abuses by management companies and contractors, as well as the deputy minister’s unlawful inaction. 

This pressure on BN by the regional rulers is yet another link in a chain of criminal actions committed in respect of our newspaper over the past few years:

- Terrorist act – two Molotov cocktails thrown into the house of former BN editor-in-chief Viktor Dmitriyev;
- Breaking and entering into the editor’s office;
- Attempt on V. Dmitriyev’s life that resulted in his receiving five gunshot wounds.

Sincerely,
Alexander Andreyev, editor-in-chief, newspaper Buzulukskiye Novosti
____________________________________________________________________________

This Digest has been prepared by the Glasnost Defense Foundation (GDF), http://www.gdf.ru.

We appreciate the support of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Digest released once a week, on Mondays, since August 11, 2000.
Distributed by e-mail to 1,600 subscribers in and outside Russia.

Editor-in-chief: Alexei Simonov

Editorial board: Boris Timoshenko – Monitoring Service chief, Pyotr Polonitsky – head of GDF regional network, Svetlana Zemskova – lawyer, Vsevolod Shelkhovskoy – translator, Alexander Yefremov – web administrator in charge of Digest distribution.


We would appreciate reference to our organization in the event of any Digest-sourced information or other materials being used.

Contacts: Glasnost Defense Foundation, 4, Zubovsky Boulevard, Office 432, 119992 Moscow, Russia.
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Архив
ФЗГ продолжает бороться за свое честное имя. Пройдя все необходимые инстанции отечественного правосудия, Фонд обратился в Европейский суд. Для обращения понадобилось вкратце оценить все, что Фонд сделал за 25 лет своего существования. Вот что у нас получилось:
Полезная деятельность Фонда защиты гласности за 25 лет его жизни