Дайджест
28 Января 2011 года

GLASNOST DEFENCE FOUNDATION DIGEST No. 508

January 24, 2011

EVENT OF THE WEEK

Action in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova held in Moscow

By Dmitry Florin,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

At about 5 p.m. January 19, people started coming to Moscow’s Prechistenka Street to lay flowers where defence lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were shot and killed two years ago.

Markelov and Baburova’s photo portraits were installed in the archway of the historical building of Prechistenka Chambers next to placards that read, “He could defend anyone, but no one could defend him”; “Those who gave their lives for a life without violence, without Stalin and Hitler, will be remembered forever”; and “Word is harder than steel”. There were also portraits of Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova, Igor Domnikov, Magomed Yevloyev and other murdered Russian journalists.

People then moved to the Timiryazev monument near Nikitskiye Vorota, where a memorial action was to start at 7 p.m. The place was surrounded by police, OMON (police task force) and interior ministry troop cordons extending along the entire boulevard to Novopushkinsky Square. Several hundred meter-long strings of interior troop and police vehicles filled the by-streets.

Each rally participant had to walk through the radio-metal locator. Anti-fascist movement activists brought transparencies reading “Stop the Nazi terror!”, “NO to racism!”, and “Politkovskaya, Markelov, Estemirova. Who’s next?” Many were holding Markelov and Baburova’s portraits. At about 8 p.m. the anti-fascist columns started from Tverskoy Boulevard towards Novopushkinsky Square. Police and OMON officers escorted the marchers all the way, showing zero reaction to the slogans being chanted, even to those criticising the authorities.

In Novopushkinsky Square, people were again required to go through radio-metal locators. By that time, police had stopped several young men in black who were later identified as provocateurs attempting to carry through several firecrackers and petards. The rally opened with a minute of silence in memory of S. Markelov and A. Baburova, as well as all the other people who died at the hands of radical nationalists. The organisers called on activists to resist the wave of Caucasophobia and nationalism sweeping the country. They expressed hopes that the trial over the alleged killers of Markelova and Baburova will be carried through to the logical end, with the guilty parties held liable under the law.

The rally was attended by Yabloko party leader Sergey Mitrokhin, opposition activist Vladimir Ryzhkov, Memorial Society members Oleg Orlov and Alexander Cherkasov, All-Russia Human Rights Movement leader Lev Ponomaryov, Amnesty Internation representative Friederike Behr and other politicians and rights defenders.

The police officers were polite and escorted departing people to the metro station’s entrance.

No clashes with law enforcers or other conflicts were recorded during the action, but later it turned out 21 persons had been detained in Pushkinskaya Square – “one for igniting a firecracker, and several others for wearing facial masks”. All the detainees were taken to the nearest police station where protocols of administrative offences were made, duty officer Anatoly Lastovetsky of the Moscow police department’s press group said.

 

RUSSIA

Moscow. Journalist reported missing

By Natalia Severskaya,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

Yekaterina Silina, a freelance correspondent for the REX news agency, has been reported missing.

She was seen last near the School of Journalism of Moscow State University late on January 13. The girl knew she was in danger – she had told as much to her family shortly before she disappeared. The REX agency cites one of Silina’s acquaintances as saying that, “if someone starts telling us she moved to another place, she asked not to believe that and immediately report to the police.”

According to REX, Silina wrote about new Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s initiatives, the work of the Moscow government, and problems facing the agro-industrial complex; besides, she was in charge of scanning government officials’ web blogs for details about their performance. She contributed reports to several newspapers, although she was only 16 and attended courses to prepare for exams to enter Moscow University’s School of Journalism.

The police have started a criminal investigation.

In connection with Y. Silina’s disappearance, the Glasnost Defence Foundation has made public a statement calling attention to the problem of impunity for the perpetrators of crimes against journalists, and expressing the hope that the competent agencies will be able to find out, despite the difficulty of the problem, what happened to the young reporter (for the full text, see http://www.gdf.ru/lenta/item/1/819).

The case has been taken under personal control by Vladimir Vassilyev, head of the State Duma’s Security Committee, who personally asked Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin to ensure that Silina’s case is fully and comprehensively investigated within the shortest possible time.

 

Saratov. Editor attacked on the street

By Yuri Chernyshov,
GDF staff correspondent in Volga Federal District

Alexander Sveshnikov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Bogatey, was attacked in Saratov late on January 19.

The district where he was assaulted is known to be a nest of homeless beggars and drug abusers. The attacker popped up out of the dark, grabbing at the editor’s briefcase. Failing to get the case at one pull, he hit the victim into the face breaking his glasses and injuring the left eyebrow. Sveshnikov fell, let go of his briefcase, and the attacker escaped. There was an expensive cell phone in the case, but still more valuable to Alexander were his two passports – Russian and foreign – and some editorial materials. Fortunately, Sveshnikov’s eye was not hurt by the glass fragments, but the trauma he received nevertheless required medical attendance.

To the merit of the police, as soon as they learned about the attack on the editor, they rushed to search for the criminal. The city police chief, Mr. Arenin, even said in hot blood that he would “fire everyone” if the attacker was not found by the following morning. Ten suspects were detained by 3 a.m. and three more on the following day, of whom one was identified by Sveshnikov as a person “vaguely resembling” the attacker.

The editor himself does not see the incident as linked to his professional activities. Bogatey is reputed to be a critical but very balanced newspaper. Sveshnikov returned to work on the following day. This criminal case differs from many previous ones by the much higher degree of law enforcement’s attention to it. Evidently, the beating of Oleg Kashin in Moscow and President Medvedev’s tough reaction to it are encouraging the law enforcers, who are often pretty helpless in fighting banditry, to show real zeal in looking for Sveshnikov’s attacker. There is a feeling they will find him soon this time.

 

Republic of Komi. Zarya Timmana editor-in-chief gravely wounded

Dmitry Slastyonov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Zarya Timmana based in the town of Sosnogorsk, received several bullet wounds while protecting an unknown girl and his friend from an armed thug’s attack. He is in hospital in a very serious condition, a source at the Sosnogordk District administration said.

According to preliminary data, D. Slastyonov with a friend saw a running girl who cried out for help. A man with a pistol in hand was on her heels. The two young men rushed to stop the attacker who then fired a shot at the leg of Dmitry’s friend and tried to escape. Slastyonov ran after him but the man turned round and fired three shots point blank from his traumatic pistol at Dmitry. One of the bullets hit vitally important organs. The journalist was taken to hospital and immediately operated on.

It took operatives about an hour to find the assailant, district police chief Ildar Makhmutov said. “Upon receiving the report about the attack, police officers raided the city through, checking all known dens and dives to prevent the armed guy from harming someone else. Finally, the suspect was tracked down and detained,” he said.

The incident gave rise to criminal proceedings under Article 111 of the RF Penal Code (“Deliberate infliction of grave bodily damage on a person”). The arrested suspect has been placed in a pre-trial detention facility.

“The crime caused broad public repercussions, since the victim is a journalist,” Makhmutov said. “He was hit by an unlucky chance; there were no political underpinnings, and the case is anything but a pre-ordered assault,” he added to prevent the spread of idle rumour.

[Based on KomiInform news agency reports]

 

Krasnoyarsk Region. Strange detention of journalists

A group of persons identifying themselves as law enforcement officers from Krasnoyarsk came to the office of the newspaper Pravda Norilska (PN) in the city of Norilsk January 20, taking away editor-in-chief Dmitry Belov and his deputy Artyom Orlov.

That happened one day after PN published an article entitled “Norilsk, a City without a Future”, jointly prepared by PN, the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) and the City Without Drugs Foundation of Yekaterinburg.

Colleagues say that shortly afterwards D. Belov sent them an SMS message saying that “operatives from Krasnoyarsk are fulfilling someone’s orders” by escorting them to Yekaterinburg, and that “white powder packets” had already been found in both his and his deputy’s coat pockets. After that, his cell phone went silent.

NBI editor-in-chief Andrei Kalitin reported the two journalists’ disappearance to Vladimir Vassilyev, head of the State Duma’s Security Committee, and Anatoly Kucherena, head of the RF Public Chamber’s committee overseeing law enforcement’s performance, urging them “to take whatever measures may be needed in the light of this disappearance”.

On the following day, the two journalists were found in Krasnoyarsk. They had not suffered any bodily damage but had been deprived of their cell phones, wallets and other valuables. According to the NBI, although there was no immediate threat to Belov and Orlov’s integrity, colleagues decided to send them to stay in Moscow for a while, since Norilsk is by far not the safest place for them. It also has become known that the police had nothing to do with the journalists’ disappearance. An investigation has been started despite the absence of any official disappearance reports, Krasnoyarsk police department spokeswoman Irina Muzhetskaya said, adding that law enforcement officers had never detained either Belov or Orlov.

 

Republic of Karelia. Radio station subjected to censorship

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

The brief (3-4 minutes) “Special Angle” weekly review hosted on the Militseiskaya Volna (Police Wave) radio station in Petrozavodsk by journalist Valery Potashov since July 2010 used to highlight the most significant facts of the past week, commenting on every event that caused broad public repercussions. When the project was just being launched, the station management and Potashov had agreed that there would be no “taboo” topics but the commentaries would be discreet in their style. For several months, the parties had no claims to each other. Yet the latest show was banned from the air – allegedly because it might “undermine the radio station’s reputation”.

What V. Potashov chose for commenting on was by any measure an event of considerable public significance. Actually, Valery was not the first among journalists to pay attention to the fact that Karelia’s head Andrei Nelidov had been away from the workplace during the first decade of January, with no official statements made in that connection by anyone from the governor’s administration. That only made the public still more curious about where the republic’s leader had vanished so mysteriously – and this after President Medvedev’s resolute statement that no New Year holidays would be available to the heads of regions where emergency situations happened to occur. Karelia did go through a few critical situations in early January, with Nelidov’s first deputy stepping in to settle them in the governor’s stead. Where was the governor himself, after all?

That was what V. Potashov intended to clear up in his radio review. He wanted to stress the point that after A. Nelidov disappeared from the public scene, rumours flared up about his being seriously ill. According to unofficial sources, Karelia’s leader was indeed taking a course of medical treatment at one of Moscow’s hospitals.

Since his team did everything to hush up the governor’s absence from work, word went around about Nelidov’s possible reassignment to another place – one of the other points Potashov intended to make in his commentary. Neither the widely known fact of the governor’s hospitalisation nor the rumoured possibility of his early resignation could ever have been expected to sound sensational; yet the topic seemed potentially dangerous to the Militseiskaya Volna management.

Upon learning about the ban on his commentary’s going on the air, Potashov protested that decision as a clear instance of censorship. That made his further cooperation with the radio station problematic, and the “Special Angle” show was closed.

 

Stavropol. Journalist detained on suspicion of having forged passport

By Dmitry Florin,
GDF staff correspondent in Central Federal District

Caucasian Knot news agency correspondent Yelena Khrustalyova failed to attend the “hotline” conference held in Stavropol January 18 by Alexander Khloponin, President Medvedev’s personal envoy to the North Caucasian Federal District, because she was detained by the police on suspicion of having a forged passport.

She had the time to call her news agency and say she had been brought to the Promyshlenny District police headquarters, but the phone number she had been given turned out unworkable.

The regional police press service told the GDF correspondent that security during the “hotline” event was safeguarded by the federal police, and local law enforcers had nothing to do with anyone’s detention. As became known from other sources, Khrustalyova had been detained and brought to the district police headquarters by FSO [federal security] officers.

After a while, regional police spokesman Yuri Semykin confirmed the fact of the journalist’s detention and said she would soon be released.

Duty officers at the Central District police in Stavropol told the GDF correspondent, whose name and other personals were recorded, that Yelena Khrustalyova was being kept there. “Her passport looked suspicious,” they said. “She is now being questioned and will be released shortly.” Towards the evening on January 18, the Caucasian Knot reporter was indeed released, with no protocol of detention made. The “hot line” with Alexander Khloponin had ended by that time without Yelena’s participation.

 

Republic of Buryatia. “Hatred and hostility fanning” entails large penalty

Continued from Digest 507

On January 19, the Sovetsky District court in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, sentenced Nadezhda Nizovkina and Tatyana Stetsura, activists of the Democratic Union and Solidarity parties, to a fine of RUR 100,000 each. The two journalists stay free and are thankful to everyone who joined the campaign in their defence.

As we have reported, Nizovkina and Stetsura were accused of fanning hatred and hostility toward three social groups – the FSB, police and investigators, and the army. Criminal proceedings against them were instituted in 2009, after they circulated leaflets identifying February 23 (officially – Motherland Defenders’ Day) as “Motherland Defenders’ Victims’ Day”. The two activists acknowledged the fact of having circulated those leaflets but denied having ever fanned hatred or hostility toward anyone (see Digest 507).

Being qualified lawyers themselves, they refrained from hiring defence lawyers to represent their interests in court. After they declined to give written pledges not to leave town, they were placed in a pre-trial detention facility December 31. A worldwide campaign of solidarity with the Buryat prisoners of conscience was launched, with numerous public organisations demanding their immediate release (for details, see http://master-sudtyajb.narod.ru/prioritety/extremism/zayavlenie_mtspch_31.12.10.html

[Report by Yekaterinburg Movement against Violence, January 19]

 

Perm Region. Prosecutor’s office replies to editor’s inquiry

Continued from Digest 502

By Vassily Moseyev,
GDF staff correspondent in Volga Federal District

The Perm Region prosecutor’s office has replied to an inquiry filed by Ivan Chazov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Chusovskoy Rabochiy (CR).

The filing of the inquiry with regional prosecutor Alexander Belykh was reported in Digest 502 of December 6, 2010, in the story “Prosecutors Teach Journalists How to Write”. The editor accused Andrei Deliyev, prosecutor of the town of Chusovoi, of unlawfully meddling in his newspaper’s economic and creative activities by ordering incessant checkups that often disrupted the work process. This close attention to the municipal newspaper, in Chazov’s view, was caused by a publication criticizing the town administration’s poor financial and economic performance at which the town prosecutor’s office clearly connived (for details, see Digest 502).

The regional prosecutor told the editor that his inquiry had given rise to an inspection of the Chusovoi prosecutor’s performance in the light of alleged office abuses by municipal administration officials, which had resulted in “no law violations established”. Instead, a check-up of the accuracy of a CR publication about the allegedly unlawful acquisition by the town administration of a building in the village of Lyamino had been ordered, “with a decision thereon still pending”.

Of course, no one would expect a different reply. But CR editor Ivan Chazov is glad his appeal to the regional prosecutor helped put an end to the pressure exerted on his newspaper by town prosecutor Deliyev. The latter declined to comment on the matter over the telephone.

 

Republic of Dagestan. Editor’s murder case closed

Continued from Digest 397

The criminal proceedings started after the killing in Makhachkala on September 2, 2008 of Abdullah (Telman) Alishayev, editor-in-chief of the television company Makhachkala-TV, have been closed in view of the death of the main suspect, Vadim Butdayev, Investigative Committee spokesman Nizam Radzhabov said.

“It has been established that Alishayev was shot and killed by Vadim Butdayev who, in his turn, was killed in the course of a special (law enforcement) operation on September 17, 2008,” Radzhabov said. “In view of that, the criminal case was closed last summer and reassigned to the Procedures Oversight Division of the Dagestan branch of the Investigative Committee.”

However, Butdayev’s sister, co-chair of the Human Rights Defence public association, claims her brother was not guilty. “Vadim was on the other end of the city the day Alishayev was killed,” she said. “He was innocent, and I even asked one of the victim’s acquaintances for details about the criminal case allegedly proving Vadim’s involvement in the killing, but that person wouldn’t even talk to me.”

As is known, Alishayev died in hospital of the numerous gunshot wounds he received late on September 2, 2008. Investigators blamed the murder on V. Butdayev, who was also suspected of killing special police officer Arsen Zakaryayev.

Alishayev hosted a TV show of his own, “Peace to Your Home”, and contributed reports to local newspapers. He was known in the republic as an active ideological opponent of wahhabism – especially after the release of his famous documentary “Wahhabism, Pure and Simple”.

[Based on Caucasian Knot news agency reports]

 

Republic of Altai. Newspaper editor fined for “wrong” report about power pole placement

A law court in the city of Gorno-Altaisk has sentenced Andrei Makogonsky, editor of a supplement to the weekly Listok, to a fine of RUR 500 for disclosing personal data about an adult character of a report published by the newspaper.

In early October, a woman pensioner wrote to Listok editor complaining about her neighbour Ananyev, a local customs officer, infringing her rights by putting up a power pole for his personal needs on her land. Her story was recorded, the documents she presented were duly checked, and a note about the conflict was published in Listok. Soon afterwards, the article’s author Irina Golovachova was summoned to the police for questioning why she had belied Ananyev – he turned out to have demanded the institution of criminal proceedings against her on libel charges under Article 129 of the RF Criminal Code. Golovachova explained that she had never known Ananyev personally and had no motive to belie him – she had only cited the old woman’s complaint in her article. Listok then received a request from the local branch of RosKomNadzor [federal service overseeing the media] to present a copy of Ananyev’s written consent to having his personal data processed and published in the media. Editor Makagonsky’s reference to the Media Law provisions did not help – Gorno-Altaisk prosecutor Yelena Volkova authorised the institution of administrative proceedings against him.

The case was reviewed by a justice of the peace who took the prosecutor’s office’s side as regards the editor’s failure to get Ananyev’s authorisation to disclose his personal data. As a result, Makagonsky was fined for mentioning Ananyev’s name and official position in a report on the “wrong” placement of the power pole.

 

Chelyabinsk. Governor’s website translated into several foreign languages

By Irina Gundareva,
GDF staff correspondent in Urals Federal District

A Chinese-language version of Chelyabinsk Region Governor Mikhail Yurevich’s official website has now been added to the English and Italian versions launched in 2010. Specialists from the regional administration’s PR unit, evidently unwilling to rest on their oars, have ordered the website’s translation into four more languages – Spanish, German, French and Japanese.

Foreign-language versions of the governor’s website are visited time and again. On January 20, for example, three visitors from Germany were registered, as many from the United States, and two from Italy… How about having that official stuff translated also into Esperanto – why not?

 

GLASNOST DEFENCE FOUNDATION

Some statistics cited

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

 

OUR PARTNERS

5th All-Russia Competition “Regional Newspaper of the Year (2010)” announced

New Eurasia Foundation’s Media Support Program and ANRI, the Independent Regional Publishers’ Association, with assistance from the World Editors Forum (WEF) and the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ), are announcing the opening of the 5th All-Russia Competition “Regional Newspaper of the Year (2010)”.

The jury will consider contributed works (published in 2010) in the following nominations: “The Best Regional Newspaper” (the main nomination), “The Best Explanatory Material”, “The Best Journalistic Investigation”, “The Best Reader Feedback”, “The Best Photos”, “The Best Action”, “The Best Editorial”, “The Best Web Publication”, “The Best Page/Supplement for Children”, and “The Best Youth Newspaper”.

For details about the evaluation criteria and a list of works by the winners of last year’s competition, see www.bestnewspaper.ru

The competition results will be summed up at an international conference. A collection of the best Russian regional press publications in 2010 will then be published. Each conference participant will be presented with an anthology of the relevant publications for 2009.

To apply for participation, click on the link “About Competition – How to Apply” at http://www.bestnewspaper.ru and follow the instructions precisely.

The submission deadline is February 18, 2011.

 

This Digest has been prepared by the Glasnost Defence Foundation (GDF),

 

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 organisation in the event of any Digest-sourced information or other materials being used.

Contacts: Glasnost Defence Foundation, 4, Zubovsky Boulevard, Office 432, 119902 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