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The Real Russia. Today. The aftershock of Ivan Golunov's arrest, Navalny's campaign manager faces double jeopardy, and a Chechen human rights icon goes free

Source: Meduza

Monday, June 10, 2019

This day in history: 307 years ago, on June 10, 1712, construction began on St. Petersburg’s Peter and Paul Cathedral. Located in the center of the infamous Peter and Paul Fortress, the cathedral remained the tallest building in Russia for 240 years and is still considered to be the world’s tallest Orthodox Christian church.
  • In historic collaboration, Russia's three major business newspapers publish front pages for detained Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov
  • Complaints, investigations, protests, and forensic analyses in Golunov's case
  • Opposition campaign manager Leonid Volkov has been jailed a second time for a single livestream. Is that even legal?
  • Support Ivan Golunov by republishing articles he wrote, photographs of him, and supportive profile pictures and posters for free
  • Human rights icon Oyub Titiev, convicted in March on dubious drug charges, to be released on parole
  • Newsletter special: A complete list of our weekend coverage on Ivan Golunov's arrest

A historic collaboration for Ivan Golunov

On June 10, for the first time in their history, the business newspapers Vedomosti, Kommersant, and RBC published identical front-page spreads. They were all dedicated to the case against Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov. By 11:30 AM local time, all three newspapers had nearly sold out in Moscow and St. Petersburg. They also published a joint message arguing that Golunov’s June 6 arrest and the attempted drug distribution charges against him were highly dubious and possibly related to his work as a journalist. English-language image files of the “I/WE = IVAN GOLUNOV” design are downloadable here.

Read Meduza’s most recent updates on the case against Ivan Golunov:

The Kremlin's first comments 🤐

On June 10, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov discussed the persecution against Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov at length for the first time. Journalists from Meduza, Dozhd, Kommersant-FM, and Ekho Moskvy all questioned Vladimir Putin’s primary representative with mixed results.

Meduza: What comments can the Kremlin offer now on the criminal case against Ivan Golunov?

Dmitry Peskov: The Kremlin cannot comment on Golunov’s criminal case. I can only tell you that the president was briefed on the case in St. Petersburg on Friday. He was briefed on the fact that this is a very high-profile case. The Kremlin, as you know, does not have the right to comment on cases, and it will not do so this time either. However, given the fact that this case is very, very high-profile, of course, we are monitoring all the details very carefully. That’s all I can say.

Double jeopardy for an opposition activist 🤦

Artyom Geodakyan / TASS / Vida Press

Early in the morning on June 10, Leonid Volkov, a former campaign manager for Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, was set to leave the detention facility where he had spent the previous 20 days. Volkov was convicted of “action or inaction by an organizer of a public event leading others to cause harm to the health of an individual or to property” under Article 20.2 of Russia’s Codex of Administrative Violations. The charge was based on his public support for a protest against Russia’s pension reforms in September of 2018. In May, a court ruled that Volkov had “inspired” people to join an unsanctioned protest in Moscow that september by livestreaming a video from outside Russia on the day of the event. Immediately after Volkov was released, he was arrested again and sentenced to 15 more days in jail under a different section of Article 20.2 on the premise that the same video had inspired protesters in St. Petersburg. We explain why that move contradicts both Russian procedural norms and the country’s Constitution.

Read Meduza’s analysis: Opposition campaign manager Leonid Volkov has been jailed a second time for a single livestream. Is that even legal? (Spoiler: nope.)

Republish Ivan Golunov! 🖊️

Ivan Golunov’s work for Meduza has never been more important, and the fight for his freedom has only just begun. That's why we're releasing all of Ivan’s reporting — every article, investigation, and translation — under a CC BY 4.0 license. We are also releasing 13 photographs of Ivan under the same license for public use. Now, any individual or platform can republish Ivan’s investigations. That includes you.

For those who would like to show personal support, we have produced English-language versions of the I/WE = IVAN GOLUNOV design that is sweeping Russia for use on social media or on posters and flyers.

Chechen human rights icon gets parole 🆓

In Chechnya, the Shalinsky City Court has approved a defense petition to allow Oyub Titiev to be released on parole in 10 days. Titiev, who leads the Chechen branch of the human rights organization Memorial, was arrested in January 2018 when police said they found 200 grams of marijuana in his car. Titiev argued that the drugs were planted, but in March 2019, a court sentenced him to four years in a prison colony.

Read Meduza’s update: Human rights icon Oyub Titiev, convicted in March on dubious drug charges, to be released on parole


Recap: A historic weekend for Russian civil liberties 📣

Yevgeny Feldman for Meduza

On Thursday, June 6, Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov was arrested on suspicions of drug possession with intent to distribute. He has repeatedly indicated that police officers planted drugs in his backpack and his apartment, and numerous members of the Russian journalism community have argued that the arrest was related to Golunov’s work as an investigative journalist (he specializes in corruption within the Moscow municipal government). Catch up on the events of June 6 and 7 in our previous newsletter.

On June 8 and 9, a historic level of public outcry likely contributed to a judge’s decision to transfer Golunov from detention to house arrest. Every link below will take you to one of the articles we published on the subject over the weekend.

Saturday, June 8: The day a long struggle got Ivan Golunov out of jail (for now)

Yevgeny Feldman for Meduza

Sunday, June 9: The night Ivan went home and the day new details began to emerge

Yevgeny Feldman for Meduza

Yours, Meduza