One thing I love about the international socialist press is that it opens my eyes to problems and things I never even suspected existed, even in places I thought I knew well. For example, this morning, reading the World Socialist Web Site (no less!), I found out about a new NGO (apparently), “the Russian-based Investigative Committee”:
Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Russian-based Investigative Committee, said Monday that at least seven bullets were fired into Russian territory. The committee suspected those responsible were “soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, members of the National Guard and of Right Sector.”
Imagine my surprise when, a few minutes later, reading a non-socialist web site (I read those too, sometimes!), I learned the Petersburg branch of the same NGO, “the Russian-based Investigative Committee,” had just arrested a member of the liberal opposition party Yabloko, accusing him of sodomy.
Intrigued by this broad spectrum of the NGO’s work, from monitoring Ukrainian fascists to rounding up Russian sodomites, I did a Google search on the Committee. What I discovered only increased my admiration for their work. It turned out its employees had recently been threatened by some very bad people who had started a riot in Moscow in 2012:
Officials investigating a 2012 anti-government protest that led to the sentencing of eight activists this week have been on the end of threats, the head of the country’s main investigative agency said Thursday.
Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin said, apparently responding to criticism of the case, that investigators had not only shown steady resolve and integrity in pursuing the matter, but had done so in the face of intimidation.
Bastrykin did not elaborate on the nature of the threats or which individuals had been targeted.
On Monday, seven activists were sentenced to prison terms of between 2 1/2 to four years for participating in rioting and violence at a rally on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in May 2012, a day before Vladimir Putin was sworn in for a third term as president.
An eighth activist received a suspended sentence.
More than 400 people were detained at the demonstration, one of several large-scale street rallies in Moscow and other Russian cities that had taken place since December 2011 to oppose Putin’s return to the presidency.
I hope to learn more about the truly great work of “the Russian-based Investigative Committee” from the international socialist press in the coming weeks and months.
Image courtesy of newsworldrussia