I understand that the male members of the Council and our head, most likely, will not be interested in this event, so I appeal to the women who are members of the Council with a request to defend those who have been punished.
The female picketers are the only ones in our huge country who have shown solidarity with the real victims and those who will inevitably become victims.
The women involved in the picket in Moscow defended humanitarian values and were punished in Russia for doing this.
They have also been punished because the Presidential Human Rights Council did not protect them and their right to defend humanitarian solidarity.
I appeal to the female members of the Council to bring attention to what has happened and publicly protest the court’s decision.
Alexander Nikolaevich Sokurov
Thanks to Nikolai Boyarshinov and Elena Vilenskaya for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader
I have just gathered my thoughts and reflected on what has happened to us. I have written a letter to our viewers that I have also posted below.
[ _________ ]
I am Natasha Sindeeva, general director of TV Rain. And I’m not a foreign agent.
I am a patriot. I live in Russia, I love my country, I’m not going to leave and I’ve never had plans to leave.
Nor is Rain a foreign agent. Rain is almost 200 people who, just like me, love their country, cheer for it and want Russia to become better — more humane, safer, fairer, more honest, richer, freer. All we want is to be happy, live in peace and be proud of our country. And I’m sure the approximately 20 million people who watch and read us on different platforms every month want the same thing as we do.
A lot has happened to Rain over eleven years. We were disconnected from cable networks. Attempts were made to kill our business. We broadcast from an apartment, not knowing what would happen next. But we always continued to engage in honest journalism and tell the truth to our viewers. And we will continue to do it, even if someone doesn’t like it.
Of course, you can joke as much as you like about the status of foreign agent and call it a “seal of excellence.” But, in fact, all this is terrible. It is quite awful when the state divides people into “friends” and “strangers.”
A foreign agent, in fact, is a person or organization that acts in the interests of another country. We don’t have another country. We live, work and earn enough to keep our business going only in Russia. We act in the interests of our fellow Russian citizens who, according to the Constitution, have freedom of speech.
Here’s what I think is important.
The law on foreign agents is not only a dirty trick that stigmatizes dissidents and free people, and sicks our country’s citizens on each other, it is also a completely absurd law. Because any media outlet whatsoever can become a foreign agent today. For this to happen to you, you need to meet only two criteria: quoting other “foreign agents”, such as Meduza, Radio Liberty or Lev Ponomarev, and receiving money from abroad.
Even before the law on foreign agents was passed, like all media outlets we reported any foreign financing we received to Roskomnadzor [the Russian media regulator]. Today we went to the Roskomnadzor website to see who else besides us was in this report. And lo and behold! In addition to Rain, the report lists several dozen different media outlets, from knitting magazines to state-owned Russian companies such as RT, TASS and others.
Each of these media outlets, if it quotes a “foreign agent” at least once, can also be labeled a “foreign agent media outlet.” Think about it. And moreover, they do quote “foreign agents,” but they have not been labeled “foreign agents” themselves.
Is this stupid? Of course it’s stupid. Does it surprise me that Rain was labeled a foreign agent? No, it doesn’t surprise me. But it does not cow me either.
We will defend the interests of Rain and other media outlets labeled foreign agents, and the interests of Russians. We will defend the right of our viewers to get information about what is really happening around them.
In an ideal world, I would dream of operating without ads that distract from our main content, without any funding other than the money paid by our subscribers.
Someday, I hope, that perfect time will come. But we are alive today, and we don’t live in an ideal world. In the current circumstances, the departure of any advertiser will be painful for us.
It is very expensive to make programs and run a TV channel . We have no curators, we have no state support, we aren’t owned by oligarchs or anyone else. We are a Russian independent media outlet, which the state once again wants to destroy simply because we are independent.
And we are also honest. First of all, to our viewers. We have never made compromises, even when physically threatened. We have never censored our work, either due to external pressure or out of our own fears. And we aren’t ashamed to look ourselves and you in the eye.
Thank you for your support and your faith in us. We will do everything in our power.
Rain is not a foreign agent, Rain is an agent of Russian citizens.
SocFem Alternative activists outside the courthouse after the hearing at which two of their activists were fined 200,000 rubles each for support Afghan women. Courtesy of their Telegram channel and Novaya Gazeta
Moscow court fines two activists 200 thousand rubles for who picketing in support of Afghan women Novaya Gazeta
August 25, 2021
Moscow’s Presna District Court imposed a fine of 200 thousand rubles [approx. 2,300 euros] each on SocFem Alternative activists Ksenia Bezdenezhnykh and Anna Pavlova, who on Monday held solo pickets outside the Embassy of Afghanistan in Moscow, as reported by members of the movement.
Five protesters were detained on August 23. Bezdenezhnykh and Pavlova were charged with violating Article 20.2.8 of the Administrative Offenses Code (repeated violation of the rules for public protests). Daria Kozhanova, Ilya Lukhovitsky and Sofia Miloradova were charged with violating Article 20.2.5 of the Administrative Offenses Code (involvement in an unauthorized protest) and released from the police station.
В пикет в поддержку женщин Афганистана вышла экс-кандидатка в депутаты Госдумы и активистка движения СоцФемАльт Ксения Безденежных. Спустя пару минут ее задержали.
Footage of SocFem Alternative activist Ksenia Bezdenezhnykh’s arrest by Moscow police outside the Afghan embassy on August 23, 2021
The protesters voiced their solidarity with Afghan women, whose rights are limited by the Taliban terrorist movement, which is banned in the Russian Federation.
A similar protest was held in Petersburg, but no one was detained.
Earlier, on August 25, the Taliban banned women in Afghanistan from leaving their homes to go work until “the system of ensuring their security is organized.” After announcing that they had established full control over Afghanistan, representatives of the movement said that they would allow women to lead an active lifestyle, but in compliance with sharia law.
For example, women are already forbidden from going out in public without the escort of a male relative and without covering their head, hair and entire body. In addition, women are not allowed to perform certain jobs, including working in the media.