The Real Russia. Today. Memorial International goes to trial
Thursday, November 25, 2021
- Hundreds gather outside Russia’s Supreme Court for Memorial International trial
- Law and order: Rashkin loses immunity, Putin fires Kalashnikov, another Team Navalny leader flees abroad, Zuyev gets more charges, and a complaint against Netflix
- Coal mine fire leaves at least 14 dead, 60 injured in Russia’s Kemerovo region. Dozens of miners remain trapped underground.
- The pandemic: Peskov corrects Putin, a tussle over QR-code legislation, and Tatarstan eases public transport prerequisites
Law and order
⚖️ Photo of the Day: Memorial on trial (30-second read)
On Thursday, Russia’s Supreme Court began a hearing on the liquidation of Memorial International, the country’s oldest human rights organization. The Attorney General’s Office has accused Memorial of “systematic violations” of the law for allegedly failing to tag its public statements with disclaimers about its “foreign agent” status. Before the start of the hearing on Thursday, more than 300 people gathered outside the Supreme Court, Meduza’s correspondent reported from the scene. Police officers arrested one woman outside the courthouse — she was holding a sign that read “Thank you, Memorial, for remembering us” along with two portraits (presumably of her relatives). The Supreme Court hearing on the prosecutors’ claim will resume on December 14. You can read more about the case against Memorial International here.
More law and order news
- 🦌 Russian State Duma strips immunity of veteran Communist Party lawmaker Valery Rashkin (This will allow law enforcement agencies to indict Rashkin in an illegal hunting case opened after police found a butchered elk in his car. Addressing the State Duma on Thursday, Rashkin compared the media “fuss” over the incident to the coverage of the Kennedy assassination)
- 👋 Putin fires Russia’s penitentiary service chief Alexander Kalashnikov (Sources say Kalashnikov was fired in connection with a recent scandal over a video leak evidencing rape and torture at prison facilities in the Saratov region. Putin appointed Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Gostev as Kalashnikov’s replacement, effective immediately)
- 🛫 Former head of Navalny’s Novosibirsk headquarters decides not to return to Russia (Sergey Boyko, who is currently a city councilman, says his family will remain abroad to avoid persecution. The criminal case launched against former Team Navalny Ufa leader Liliya Chanysheva was a wake up call, he said. But Boyko’s not giving up his Novosibirsk City Council seat just yet)
- ⚖️ ‘Shaninka’ university rector Sergey Zuyev indicted on new fraud charges (Zuyev is already in pre-trial detention as a suspect in a separate fraud case. Another suspect in the case — Shaninka executive director Kristina Kryuchkova — was transferred from pre-trial detention to house arrest on Thursday. Allegedly, she pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with investigators)
- 📺 Anti-LGBTQ campaigner files police complaint against Netflix (Olga Baranets asked Russia’s Interior Ministry to verify whether or not the streaming service is breaking Russia’s “gay propanda” law. Allegedly, the platform has given hundreds of movies and shows with queer characters a 16+ rating, instead of the required 18+. The Interior Ministry said it’s considering her appeal. Netflix has declined to comment).
⛑️ Coal mine fire in Siberia: Dozens remain trapped underground (3-minute read)
A fire at the Listvyazhnaya coal mine in Siberia’s Kemerovo region killed at least 11 miners and injured 60 more on Thursday morning. As many as 46 miners remained trapped underground. Rescue workers were carrying out evacuations, but were forced to suspend their search due to the threat of a gas explosion. In addition, one rescue team went missing inside the coal mine. Located in the town of Belovo, the Listvyazhnaya mine is part of SDS Ugol, one of Russia’s largest coal mining enterprises. Investigators have opened a criminal case in connection with the fire, and prosecutors are carrying out checks of the Listvyazhnaya mine and others in the region. The Kemerovo region (also known as Kuzbass) has announced three days of mourning for the dead.
- 🕯️Update: Listvyazhnaya coal mine’s management confirms deaths of three rescue workers (This brings the death toll from the fire to 14 people. At least 35 miners and three other rescue workers are still missing. The rescue effort has been suspended until Friday morning).
- 🗣️ Kremlin spokesman corrects Putin’s statement on nasal spray COVID-19 vaccine (Dmitry Peskov explained that Putin’s Sputnik Lite booster shot was followed the next day by a liquid nasal spray, not a powder one, as stated by the president on Wednesday)
- 🥊 Anti-QR-code campaigners tussle with security guards in Chelyabinsk Legislative Assembly (The scuffle took place in the lobby while the regional assembly was in the midst considering federal draft legislation on expanding QR-code vaccine passport requirements. It didn’t stop the deputies from approving the bills)
- 🚎 Tatarstan eases QR-code prereqs for accessing public transportation (From November 26, people who’ve had at least one coronavirus vaccine dose or are medically exempt from vaccination will be able to board public transport in Tatarstan. Local authorities plan to roll out a “Republican QR-code in paper form” for these folks).