Support openDemocracy’s Coverage of Russia and Ukraine!

My name’s Tom and I run openDemocracy’s coverage of Russia and Ukraine.

Do you remember where you were when Putin’s invasion started? I do: I remember texting friends and colleagues in Ukraine, who were in the middle of packing their bags. In the space of a few hours in February, I tore up my plans for the year. I knew our incredible team would face a challenge like no other.

It’s a nightmare that has taken all their skills and contacts to cover for you.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a very difficult year. But our coverage has been so effective that it’s got our website blocked in Russia. (Don’t worry, we’ve found other ways to get our news to readers there.)

Will you please set up a regular donation to help our team in Ukraine keep covering the war? We’re a small, independent, non-profit news site and we rely on the generosity of readers to keep going.

Yes, I’ll set up a donation

One of our long-standing journalists in Kyiv somehow wrote an article on that first day of the Russian invasion – a day, she said, that felt like a week.

While some Ukrainian journalists took up arms to defend their country, others braved bombs, bullets and capture to tell the world about the Russian invasion.

To support journalists in the Ukrainian media, we asked readers to help them through some of the most difficult months of their lives. We raised £40,000 – money from openDemocracy readers to support journalists from other organisations as they were forced to relocate, cover new costs and advertising dried up. Those funds went to media outlets and journalists who don’t usually get grants or international support.

Now, we need your support for our work. Could I ask you to set up a regular donation to support our team as they face another difficult year, please? The hard truth is that without reader donations we will have to scale back our reporting of the war. But with your help we can keep telling the truth about Putin’s aggression. Every donation will make a real difference to our work.

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Thank you for helping openDemocracy,

Tom Rowley
Lead editor on Eastern Europe and Central Asia, openDemocracy

PS: openDemocracy relies on our supporters to spread the word about our work. Can you help by sharing the links below with friends and colleagues?

Read more

Thank you for helping raise £42,000 for journalists in Ukraine

Roubles and repression: how life in Russian-occupied Kherson is changing

Ukrainian prisoners of war reveal torture and humiliation in Russian jails

Russia forced them to fight. Ukraine tried them for treason

Source: openDemocracy email newsletter, 8 December 2022

News from Ukraine Bulletin 23

A Ukrainian flag on the fence of a home in Monterey, California, 14 November 2022. Photo by the Russian Reader

News from Ukraine Bulletin 23 (4 December 2022)

A Digest of News from Ukrainian Sources

News from the territories occupied by Russia:

Russian occupiers hand out draft summons to residents queuing for water in occupied Makiivka  (Ukrainska Pravda, December 4th)

‘Pensioner from Makariv witnesses the death of his grandson’  (Tribunal for Putin, December 2nd)

The Russians “amused themselves”, destroying Izyum’s old buildings  (Tribunal for Putin, December 2nd)

Russians deliberately beat Ukrainian haemophiliac, threaten to rape his 17-year-old sister in front of her father  (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, December 2nd)

Children trained to be ‘Putin’s faithful soldiers’ in Russian-occupied Crimea  (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, December 2nd)

Russia sentences Crimean Solidarity activist to 17 years for defending political prisoners  (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, December 1st)

Russians forcibly deport 37 local residents from Kinburn Spit  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 30th)

Russian occupiers in southern Ukraine interrogate children who fail to attend Russian schools  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 30th)

Evangelical deacon and his son found murdered near Nova Kakhovka after being abducted by the Russians  (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, November 30th)

The Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced another Crimean Tatar activist – Marlen Mustafatev to 17 years in prison  (Lutfiye Zudiyeva on Twitter, November 30th)

Ukrainian poet and writer Volodymyr Vakulenko killed after being seized by Russian invaders (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, November 29th)

Russian invaders abduct two Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests from Berdiansk and accuse them of ‘terrorism’  (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, November 29th)

Threatened and starved: Russian sergeant tortured Donbas veterans in Katiuzhanka  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 28th)

Lecturer beaten, ‘tried’ and imprisoned in Russian-occupied Crimea for a Ukrainian patriotic song  (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, November 28th)

Forcing Ukrainians to take up arms against their country is a war crime.” How Russia is mobilizing Ukrainians in occupied territories  (The Insider, November 12th)

News from Ukraine – general:

Ukrainians on the front line face a winter without warmth or light (Open Democracy, December 1st)

Ukraine’s nurses face brutal winter as health austerity collides with war  (Open Democracy, November 29th)

Dark times. How Ukraine is surviving without light, water, and heat  (The Insider, November 28th)

32,000 civilian properties and 700 infrastructure facilities have been damaged by Russians  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 27th)

Analysis and comment:

Thread in response to my thread about tankies and the Holodomor  (Taras Bilous on Twitter, December 2nd)

Economic Policy of Ukraine  (Luke Cooper on PeaceRep, December 1st)

Solidarity vital to expel Russia  (The Chartist, November 29th)

Together in Trouble: Social Policy for Just Reconstruction in Ukraine  (Spil’ne (Commons), November 28th)

Learning At The Teachers  (The Pensive Quill, November 27th)

Research of human rights abuses:

Abducted and tortured by the Russians, Kherson’s survivors tell their stories (Open Democracy, December 1st)

Ukraine 5AM Coalition will discuss in The Hague the mechanisms of holding Russia accountable for war crimes  (Zmina, December 1st)

‘Every second felt like eternity’: Inside the torture chambers of Ukraine’s occupied northeast (The Independent, December 1st)

Damage to historical monuments and religious buildings (24 February to 15 November 2022, Kharkiv Region)  (Tribunal for Putin, November 30th)

An appeal for support from Open Democracy:

@opendemocracyru  needs your help  (Tom Rowley on Twitter, December 4th)

==

This bulletin is put together by labour movement activists in solidarity with Ukrainian resistance. More information at https://ukraine-solidarity.org/. We are also on Twitter. Our aim is to circulate information in English that to the best of our knowledge is reliable. If you have something you think we should include, please send it to 2022ukrainesolidarity@gmail.com. To receive the bulletin regularly, send your email to 2022ukrainesolidarity@gmail.com.

“Face the Wall, Don’t Look Down”: Solidarity Becomes a Criminal Act in Moscow

A view of the entrance to Open Space Moscow. Photo courtesy of Mediazona

On the evening of November 24, masked security forces officers broke into Open Space in Moscow, where fifty people had gathered to support the anarchists arrested in the Tyumen Case and write postcards to political prisoners. The security forces, who were probably commanded by a colonel from Center “E”, made the visitors lie down on the floor or stood them facing the wall and held them for several hours, beating some of them. They didn’t let a lawyer inside.

On November 24, an evening of solidarity for the defendants in the Tyumen Case took place in Open Space, a co-working space for activists in Moscow’s Basmanny District. Six anarchists from Tyumen, Surgut and Yekaterinburg have been arrested and charged with organizing a “terrorist community,” and all of them have said they were tortured.

The event was open to the public and had been advertised, for example, by the online magazine DOXA. (Recently, State Duma deputies demanded that the magazine be designated an “extremist organization.”)

The event started around six o’clock, and about forty to fifty people were in attendance, says one of the participants. Some eyewitnesses say that before the security forces arrived, they signed postcards in support of political prisoners, while others said that they recited or listened to poetry. In any case, when an intermission was announced, the guests went outside to smoke — and at that moment a paddy wagon drove up to the building, and masked security forces officers stormed the venue.

Video footage of the beginning of the raid, which the SOTAvision journalist Ksenia Tamurka managed to shoot before she was detained, shows that the masked security forces officers behaved in a demonstratively rough manner. They shouted, kicked over furniture, and knocked the phone out of the correspondent’s hands. After the phone falls, the sounds of blows and shouts are audible in the footage: “Hands behind your head!”, “Legs wider!”, “Face the wall, don’t look down!”

The security forces officers forced some of the young people to lie down on the floor, while they made the rest of them, including the young women, stand facing the wall, forbidding them to move. A young woman who had left the event during the break and unhappily returned to retrieve a tote bag she had forgotten told SOTA that she stood facing the wall for about an hour.

“When I turned my head, I was told to keep facing the wall. An hour later, they apparently took out my passport from my tote bag and summoned me to another room, where most everyone was lying face down on the floor. I sat down and we waited further. Then after, I don’t know, thirty minutes, I was summoned by other Russian National Guard officers. They asked me where my phone was, and I showed them. They asked me to unlock it, but I said no, citing Article 23 [of the Russian Constitution, which enshrines the right to privacy]. They were like no, you’re going to unlock it. And when I had already sat down, there was already a young female journalist after me, and she refused to show them her phone. They dragged her by the hair and she screamed,” the young woman said.

After what she saw, the young woman agreed to unlock the phone, and the security forces wrote down its IMEI. Another woman, who attended event with a child, said that the security forces officers demanded that she show them her Telegram chats and latest bank transfers to find out “whether she sponsored terrorism.”

The young woman who was screaming was SOTA journalist Ksenia Tamurka. The media outlet has not yet published the commentary of the journalist herself. One of the detainees recounted the assault on Tamurka as told by another eyewitness; another young man heard the journalist screaming, although he was in another room.

He said that the security forces treated the young men in various ways: in his opinion, it largely depended on the length of their hair. The young man pointed out that the security forces also detained members of Narcotics Anonymous, whose meeting was going on in the next room. “And when they were asked what they were doing there, they said, We are drug addicts, we don’t know anyone here! Then they were taken away from where we were, and [the police] talked to them separately,” he recalled.

At some point, the security forces perhaps began to behave a little less harshly. In video footage recorded a few hours after the start of the search, it is clear that the detainees were no longer pressed against the wall, but were simply looking at it. The security forces did not detain the journalists who shot the video, but, according to a Sota correspondent, they did drag a passerby inside the building after he looked in the window.

The security forces did not let the lawyer Leysan Mannapova, who arrived at the scene of the raid, inside the building, claiming that her warrant was incorrectly executed. A man who came to rescue his fourteen-year-old brother also failed to get inside the building.

The detainees were loaded into the paddy wagon only a few hours later, and the minors among them were released along the way. The rest were brought to the Basmanny police department.

One of them said that she and four young men were beaten at the station. According to the young woman, the security forces officers “struck her when she was lying on the floor.” One detainee was “beaten with a baton and a book,” and another young man was “thrown on a chair and kicked.” According to her, the police found a balaclava, an emergency hammer from a bus, and a traumatic pistol, which he had a permit to carry, on one of the men who was beaten.

Another young woman could not recall beatings and said only that the detainees wrote statements at the police department “about what they actually did.” Alexei Melnikov, a member of the Public Monitoring Commission who was recently appointed to the Presidential Human Rights Council, went inside the department and saw the detainees while they were making their statements, but also made no mention of possible violence.

The detainees were released from the department around two o’clock in the morning. None of them reported that they were forced to sign any documents other than their statements. Tamurka left the department last, around four in the morning.

Golos coordinator Vladimir Yegorov identified the colonel from Center “E” in video footage of the security forces escorting the detainees to the paddy wagon. According to Yegorov, he was beaten during a search of the Golos office on October 5 on the colonel’s orders. Yegorov does not know the policeman’s name, because it was not listed in the search report. According to SOTA, the masked security officers accompanying the colonel at Open Space serve in the second field regiment of the Interior Ministry’s Moscow Main Directorate.

Correction (7 p.m., November 25): The article originally stated that the journalist Ksenia Tamurka left the police department along with the other detainees around two o’clock in the morning. SOTAvision later clarified that she came out last, around four o’clock in the morning.

Source: Nikita Sologub, “‘Face the wall, don’t look down’: security forces raid solidarity event for defendants in Tyumen Case,” Mediazona, 25 November 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader. This is the second part of a two-part feature on the 24 November raid on Open Space Moscow. You can read part one — journalist Ksenia Tamurka’s first-person account of the incident — here.

Giving Tuesday: Solidarity Zone & The White Helmets

Solidarity Zone is a new initiative, established by anti-authoritarian activists. Anarchist Black Cross Moscow is cooperating with the new initiative, and we encourage everyone to support it.

Solidarity Zone is a horizontal initiative supporting those persecuted for anti-war actions. We came together in the spring of 2022 to help those left without attention by human rights organizations.

Everyone is worthy of defense and solidarity. And we stand in solidarity with people who have spoken out in word and deed against state violence. We are against the existence of prisons, states and war — for self-organization, equality and the abolition of oppression.

We are ready to support those who speak out against war and resist militarism, with the exception of people who practice discrimination on national, gender, social and other grounds. At the same time, our project team consists of only a few people, and we do not have enough resources, so we are currently working on a small number of cases.

Right now we are providing support to:

Anton Zhuchkov
Vladimir Sergeev
Vladimir Zolotarev
Igor Paskar
Ruslan Zinin
Kirill Butylin
Vladlen Menshikov

We would like to point out that we don’t pay any fines or compensation for damages caused to the state. We also do not help people who voluntarily testify against others. Pleading or not pleading guilty is not a limiting factor.

Our objectives are: 

  • Establish and maintain contact with detainees and their loved ones; 
  • Find lawyers whom we trust; 
  • Arrange parcels or packages for prisoners;
  • Share information about the cases and addresses for letters with the consent of those who are persecuted.

You can share information about prisoners who need support by writing to us. You can also direct your questions about current cases that our initiative is already working on. E-mail: solidarity_zone@riseup.net

You can follow our work on social media: 
Telegram
Facebook
Instagram

DONATIONS REQUIRED
We have no permanent source of funding and do not get paid, so the support is being provided thanks to your donations. We encourage you to support our project financially, if you are in a position to do so.

Requisites for transfers:

PayPal: solidarity_zone@riseup.net

Bank account to donate outside of Russia:
Account: UGMR
IBAN: DE57 4306 0967 1216 4248 00
BIC: GENODEM1GLS
GLS GEMEINSCHAFTSBANK EG
Subject: Solidarity Zone

Cryptocurrency:
bitcoin: bc1qfzhfkd27ckz76dqf67t0jwm4gvrcug49e7fhry
monero: 86565hecMGW7n2T1ap7wdo4wQ7kefaqXVPS8h2k2wQVhDHyYbADmDWZTuxpUMZPjZhSLpLp2SZZ8cLKdJkRchVWJBppbgBK
ethereum: 0xD89Cf5e0B04b1a546e869500Fe96463E9986ADA3
other altcoins:
https://nowpayments.io/donation/solidarityzone

Source: “Solidarity Zone – a new initiative to support anti-war prisoners in Russia,” Anarchist Black Cross Dresden, 27 November 2022


This is a message from Obada Zekra, the team leader of the White Helmets center in Maret Mesrin in northwest Syria.

With winter fast approaching, my team in northwest Syria is working around the clock to tackle an outbreak of cholera that has already claimed 12 lives here and threatens tens of thousands of displaced families living in tent camps in dire conditions.

We are repairing camp water infrastructure and digging hundreds of drainage channels to prevent torrential winter floods mixing with sewage and spreading the deadly virus. White Helmets ambulances are transferring suspected cases to hospitals and women volunteers are making daily tours of tents to provide primary health care.

In the middle of the cholera outbreak, early on November 6, Russia and the regime bombed sleeping civilians in six overcrowded camps, including with internationally banned cluster munitions, turning their last refuge into a hell. Ten people were killed, including four children. Our team rushed to rescue the injured, but we felt totally helpless when our colleague, the White Helmets volunteer Hassan Bakir, lost his baby son Azzam in an attack on Maram camp where he has lived since he was displaced.

Today on Giving Tuesday 2022, the global day of generosity, will you support The White Helmets’ urgent work responding to aerial attacks, protecting displaced people in camps from cholera, and preparing for a freezing winter?

After the attack the White Helmets evacuated families to other camps as the area was littered with unexploded ordnance which our specialized UXO teams had to clear. But even on days when there are no Russian planes in the skies we are in a constant race against time to prepare for winter: building roads, making health visits to elderly residents, and conducting hundreds of public health information sessions as we predict a fresh wave of both COVID and cholera over winter.

Each of our 19 White Helmets centers responding to the cholera emergency needs $1100 worth of water chlorination equipment to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

• A $20 donation will contribute towards setting up field clinics in tents

• $100 would pay for a 100 liter plastic tank to store clean water

• $300 would buy a new water pump

Donations of any amount are urgently needed as our COVID response taught us how fast infectious diseases spread.

Nearly 1.8 million civilians, the majority of them women and children, have been displaced from their homes by years of attacks by Russia and the regime and now live in camps in northwestern Syria in desperate, cramped conditions where they continue to be targeted by bombs and missiles in violation of international law. The international community continues to fail them and every six months the UN even requires Russia’s approval to renew vital cross-border aid deliveries, which many rely on to survive. People here dream of the day they can return to their homes and towns. Instead, residents of Maram camp suffered a massacre this month that stole the lives of their children.

I myself was displaced by attacks, and I have lost many of my fellow volunteers since I joined the White Helmets in 2013. I overcome these tragedies when I witness day by day how the work of the White Helmets is improving people’s lives. With your support this Giving Tuesday, we can continue to protect displaced people in northwest Syria’s camps with life-saving humanitarian and rescue services.

With thanks,

Obada Zekra

Source: The Syria Campaign email newsletter, 29 November 2022

Father Death Comes to Berlin

Father Death Comes to Berlin — Silence Russian War Propaganda on Our Streets!

On November 29, the “Russian House” Berlin invites to a “festive lighting of the candles” at the Christmas tree in front of the building in Friedrichstraße. In a kitschy video, this event is also advertised by the Russian Embassy.

However, we do not feel “festive” at all! On the contrary. We are angry that such a propaganda action can take place without problems in Berlin. Because while in front of the Russian House “peaceful Christmas” are staged, Russia leads a brutal attack and conquest war in Ukraine, in which whole cities are bombed. The main target is the civilian population, which is exposed to permanent terror by Russian attacks.

The Putin regime is thus continuing a tactic that it has already been testing since 2015 in Syria, where even refugee camps are being attacked by Russian bombers. In Syria, Russian attacks have killed more than 2,000 children in the last eight years, and in Ukraine, nearly 1,000 children have been killed or injured so far as a result of the Russian war. There is no “peaceful Christmas” for these children!

The Russian House has so far refused to take a clear stand against the wars of the Putin regime. It gives itself the outward appearance of a non-political “cultural institute”. In fact, however, it is part of the regime’s propaganda machine and is supposed to convey the image of a peaceful and friendly Russia.

Russian House, Friedrichstrasse, Berlin, Germany. Photo courtesy of taz

The right-wing Alternative for Germany is also occasionally given the opportunity to hold events in the Russian House. Thus, the Russian House also fulfills a function in the Putin regime’s strategy of promoting right-wing and far-right parties and organizations worldwide.

According to research by Tagesspiegel, the Russian House is “run by the Rossotrudnichestvo organization, whose head, Yevgenii Primakov, is a Putin confidant.” The organization is directly under the jurisdiction of the Russian Foreign Ministry and has been subject to European Union sanctions since July.

We ask ourselves: Why is the Russian House in Berlin allowed to continue to act unchallenged and to spread the “soft propaganda” of the Putin regime?

Join us on 29.11.2022 at the Russian House in Friedrichstraße and show your protest against the unspeakably hypocritical event “Father Frost comes to Berlin”!

We demand the immediate closure of the Russian House! Against the propaganda of the Putin regime in Berlin and everywhere!

Source: Facebook. Thanks to Harald Etzbach for the heads-up. I took the liberty of inserting the YouTube video and the photo, above, as well as incorporating the links to articles in the German press into the text. God knows that if I were still living in Berlin, I would be attending this protest. ||| TRR

Vladlen Menshikov: A Real Russian Hero

Vladlen Menshikov. Photo courtesy of Solidarity Zone

We have begun supporting Vladlen Menshikov, accused of anti-war sabotage on the railways.

On September 30, pro-government media reported the arrest of 29-year-old Vladlen Menshikov by the FSB in the Sverdlovsk Region. Investigators claim that Menshikov installed short-circuiting devices on the railway at the eightieth kilometer of the stretch between Rezh and Striganovo, along which trains carrying Russian military equipment run.

During an interrogation, which FSB field agents recorded on video, Menshikov said that he opposes the war and supports overthrowing the current government. He also discusses methods of sabotaging the Russian army’s railway supply lines.

Solidarity Zone was able to establish Menshikov’s identity and locate the pretrial detention center in which he is detained. When we contacted him and offered our support, he responded positively. He asked for legal assistance, and also said he would be glad to receive letters.

We are currently working to start providing full-fledged legal assistance to Menshikov.

We would note that Vladlen is currently being held in solitary confinement, so letters are especially important for him.

✉️📦 Address for letters and parcels:

Menshikov Vladlen Alexeyevich (born 1993)

4 Repin Street

Pretrial Detention Center No. 1

Ekaterinburg 620019 Russian Federation

(It is possible to send letters through the FSIN-Pismo service and Zonatelecom, as well as through RosUznik, a volunteer-run resource.)

💰 To support Solidarity Zone financially, so that we can continue to pay lawyers, send parcels to prisoners, and help cover other expenses, you can use the follow payment methods:

💳 Sberbank card

4276 7201 3618 1221 (Darya T.)

🪙 PayPal: solidarity_zone@riseup.net

🥷 Cryptocurrency:

Bitcoin: bc1qfzhfkd27ckz76dqf67t0jwm4gvrcug49e7fhry

Monero: 86565hecMGW7n2T1ap7wdo4wQ7kefaqXVPS8h2k2wQVhDHyYbADmDWZTuxpUMZPjZhSLpLp2SZZ8cLKdJkRchVWJBppbgBK

Ethereum: 0xD89Cf5e0B04b1a546e869500Fe96463E9986ADA3

Other altcoins: https://nowpayments.io/donation/solidarityzone

Source: Solidarity Zone, Facebook, 21 November 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader. People living outside Russia will not be able to use the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service’s FSIN-Pismo service or the privately run Zonatelecom. It is also probably impossible or nearly impossible to send parcels to Russian detention facilities from abroad. But you can send letters — translated into Russian (if you don’t know a competent translator, you can use a free online translation service such as Google Translate) — to Vladlen Menshikov (and many other Russian political prisoners) via RosUznik. You can also ask me (avvakum@pm.me) for assistance and advice in sending letters.

Kirill Butylin: The Partisan of Lukhovitsy

Kirill Butylin. Image courtesy of Solidarity Zone

Solidarity Zone supports Kirill Butylin. And you can too!

On February 28, four days after the Russian army’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 21-year-old Kirill Butylin threw Molotov cocktails at the military enlistment office in Lukhovitsy, a town in the Moscow Region.

A video of the attack and the arsonist’s manifesto were posted online on March 8.

Their author said that he had painted the gates of the military enlistment office in the colors of the Ukrainian flag and written the message “I’m not going to kill my brothers!” on them, before climbing the fence, pouring gasoline on the outside wall of the building, breaking the windows, and tossing Molotov cocktails through them. The insurgent saw as his goal the destruction of the archive containing the personal files of conscripts, which according to his information was located in that part of the building. He hoped that his actions would hinder mobilization in his district.

The partisan also stated in his manifesto: “I hope that I will not see my classmates in captivity or the lists of the dead. I think this should be circulated. Ukrainians will know that there are people in Russia who are fighting for them, that not everyone is afraid or indifferent. Our protesters should be inspired and act more decisively. And this should break the spirit of the Russian army and government even more.”

Butylin was detained on the day the manifesto was published. After the arson attack, he got rid of his phone and managed to travel to the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, Vremya MSK and Moskovsky Komsomolets claimed, but he was detained there. Butylin allegedly confessed that he wanted to go fight in Ukraine. The young man was promptly extradited to Russia and taken to the police station in Lukhovitsy.

On March 13, Butylin managed to escape. He took advantage of the moment when he was allowed to go to the toilet: finding himself not in handcuffs, he jumped out of the window. He then climbed over a fence and ran off in the direction of the M5 highway. He was soon detained again, however.

The criminal charges against Butylin have morphed, during the course of this case, from “vandalism” to “terrorist attack.” And if initially he was threatened with no more than three years of community service, he now faces from ten to fifteen years in prison.

In October, Solidarity Zone tracked down Butylin in the Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial detention center in Moscow and established a connection with him. He accepted our offer of support and said that he would be glad to receive publicity, letters and books. According to him, all his other needs are being taken care of. Butylin’s lawyer is paid for by his relatives.

Solidarity Zone supports Kirill Butylin and will continue to cover his case, as well as provide him with all necessary assistance.

You can also support Kirill by writing him a letter, sending him a book (we recommend that you first find out what kinds of books he likes and how to send them by writing him a letter) or publicizing his case.

✉️📦 Address for letters and parcels:

Butylin Kirill Vladimirovich (born 2001)

18 Matrosskaya Tishina Street

Pretrial Detention Center No. 1

Moscow 107076 Russian Federation

(It is possible to send letters through the FSIN-Pismo service and the RosUznik volunteer resource.)

Solidarity without borders!

#writeletters#solidarity#prisoners#no war

Source: Solidarity Zone, Facebook, 7 November 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader. People living outside Russia will not be able to use the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service’s FSIN-Pismo service. It is also probably the case that it is impossible or nearly impossible to send parcels to Russian detention facilities from abroad. But you can send letters — translated into Russian (if you don’t know a competent translator, you can use a free online translation service such as Google Translate) — via RosUznik. You can also ask me for assistance and advice in sending letters by writing to avvakum@pm.me.

Going Underground (Continuity)

The “underground” exhibition Continuity [Sviaz’ vremen] has been underway in Petersburg since September. The parents of Yuli Boyarshinov, who was convicted in the Network Case, were involved in organizing it.

The exhibition is dedicated to political prisoners. They produced some of the works on display themselves using improvised means while in pretrial detention centers and penal colonies. Poetry readings and art therapy sessions at which postcards for political prisoners are produced also held in the space.

Bumaga visited Continuity and shows here how the exhibition is organized.

The “underground” exhibition opened in September in a private space. The organizers have already planned to close it several times, but people keep coming. “We didn’t think it would last that long. There is even a poetry reading scheduled for Saturday,” Nikolai Boyarshinov, Yuli Boyarshinov’s father, told Bumaga.

Photo: Andrei Bok

The exhibition features works by current political prisoners, including those involved in the Network Case. Some of the works are dedicated to the victims of the Great Terror.

Photo: Andrei Bok

The living room — the main exhibition space — contains paintings by the artist Ad’u. She says that exhibition spaces are reluctant to take her work. “They say, ‘Well, you know,'” she shares with us.

Photo: Andrei Bok

A portrait of Karelian historian Yuri Dmitriev and maps of Sandarmokh hang under the ceiling. Dmitriev was convicted of “sexual violence” against his adopted daughter. He was scheduled to be released in 2020, but the court toughened his sentence from three and a half years in a medium security facility to thirteen years in a maximum security penal colony.

Photo: Andrei Bok

There are paintings dedicated to Alexei Navalny. A protest action with flashlights, which took place in Russian cities on February 14, 2021, is depicted as a flashlight shining into the sky and signaling for help.

Photo: Andrei Bok

One of the paintings alludes to a protest action by Pavel Krisevich: a man on a cross, under whose feet dossiers of political cases burn. Next to it are drawings by Krisevich himself, which he made while in a pretrial detention center, using pieces of a sheet, improvised materials and homemade paints. In October, Krisevich, who had previously spent a year in pretrial detention, was sentenced to five years in a penal colony.

Photo: Andrei Bok

On the walls of the corridor outside the living room there are portraits of the young men convicted in the Network Case and their stories. Drawings by the men themselves are also presented. Nikolai Boyarshinov says that each of the convicts “has begun to draw to one degree or another.”

Photo: Andrei Bok

In a closet in the hallway there are drawings by the artist cyanide the angry [tsianid zloi]. Since February, he has been producing one image every day about the war and political crackdown. On the closet doors and inside it there are portraits of Sasha Skochilenko and Seva Korolev, who are charged with “discrediting” the Russian army, Kansk Teenagers Case defendant Nikita Uvarov, and scenes of Navalny in a cell.

“Today, Sasha Skochilenko was remanded in custody until June 1. She replaced price tags in shops [sic] with anti-war messages. She faces 5 to 15 years in prison. #FreeSashaSkochilenko,” Photo: Andrei Bok

There are also anti-war drawings in the exhibition. They are painted in yellow and blue colors. They were created by Ad’u, who, along with other artists, was detained during a protest rally in April 2022, when she was painting riot police against the backdrop of St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

Photo: Andrei Bok

There is an art therapy group in the space, which has been led by Nikolai Boyarshinov’s wife Tatiana since May. The group’s members make postcards to fight burnout, stress and fear. They then send postcards to political prisoners.

Photo: Andrei Bok
Photo: Andrei Bok
Continue reading “Going Underground (Continuity)”

News from Ukraine Bulletin 19

A Ukrainian flag flying from the balcony of the La Granja apartment building in Pacific Grove, California, 6 November 2022.
Photo by the Russian Reader

News from Ukraine Bulletin 19 (7 November 2022)

A Digest of News from Ukrainian Sources

News from the territories occupied by Russia:

Occupiers transfer their refuseniks to another underground detention camp, undress them and threaten their lives (Ukrainska Pravda, November 5th)

‘Dad, you have five days before they adopt us’ How a Mariupol father survived a Russian POW camp and traveled to Moscow to save his kids  (Meduza, November 4th)

Kherson residents describe reign of terror under Russian rule  (The Financial Times, November 4th)

Russian FSB attaches electric currents to genitals to force abducted Ukrainian to sign multiple ‘confessions’  (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, November 4th)

Bodies of locals shot during Russian occupation are found in liberated Kherson Oblast (Ukrainska Pravda, November 4th)

Some villages in Kherson Oblast completely destroyed; authorities help with essential needs  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 4th)

Residents of occupied territories refuse to take Russian passports  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 4th)

Bodies of 868 civilians found in liberated cities and villages  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 3rd)

Russians take all ambulances, buses and fire engines from Kherson  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 3rd)

Russian Red Cross steals property from Ukrainian Red Cross in Crimea  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 3rd)

Raped pregnant woman: police expose two more invaders who tortured people in Kyiv Oblast  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 3rd) 

Russian FSB ‘find’ explosives because they couldn’t force abducted Ukrainian civic journalist to ‘confess’ to treason  (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, November 2nd)

My 6-year-old girl’s hair turned grey. The story of a family from Mariupol who spent a month in a bomb shelter with 50 people  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 2nd)

Occupiers robbed the Havdzynskyi picture gallery in Nova Kakhovka  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 2nd)

Russians increase looting in occupied territories  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 2nd)

Interactive Map and Assessment: Verified Ukrainian Partisan Attacks Against Russian Occupation Forces  (Institute for the Study of War, November 1st)

Russian occupation regime deports 300 children from Russian-controlled territory of Zaporizhzhia Oblast (Ukrainska Pravda, November 1st)

Russian invaders install terror methods of censorship in occupied Zaporizhzhia oblast (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, November 1st)

Young Crimean sentenced to 3 years after ‘confession’ almost certainly extracted through torture  (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, October 31st)

News from Ukraine – general:

20% of Ukraine’s nature reserves and 3 million hectares of forests affected by war  (Ukrainska Pravda, November 6th)

Donetsk region was cut off electricity due to targeted shelling by Russian forces  (Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, November 4th)

NGPU local union provides aid to defenders of Ukraine (Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, 4 November)

Ukrainian families’ fury at silence over Russia-held POWs  (Open Democracy, November 1st)

Analysis and comment:

Ukrainian socialist Denys Pilash: ‘Russia will only negotiate if it suffers some defeats’  (Green Left Australia, November 3rd)

The right to resist invasion  (Labour Net, November 1st)

Research of human rights abuses:

How Russian soldiers ran a cleansing operation in Bucha (SF Gate, 4 November)

Crime Scene Bucha: how Russian soldiers ran a cleansing operation in a Ukrainian city (Associated Press Youtube channel, 4 November)

==

This bulletin is put together by labour movement activists in solidarity with Ukrainian resistance. More information at https://ukraine-solidarity.org/. We are also on Twitter. Our aim is to circulate information in English that to the best of our knowledge is reliable. If you have something you think we should include, please send it to 2022ukrainesolidarity@gmail.com.

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Who Are Anton Zhuchkov and Vladimir Sergeyev?

Vladimir Sergeyev and Anton Zhuchkov

Who are Anton Zhuchkov and Vladimir Sergeyev?

On March 6 of this year, Zhuchkov and Sergeyev went to an anti-war demonstration that had been announced that day in Moscow. However, the police detained them on their way to Pushkin Square. Molotov cocktails were found in Sergeyev’s backpack, and the police decided to immediately take them to the police station. However, halfway there, the police had to change the route.

As they were detained, Anton and Vladimir managed to take lethal doses of methadone, as they had planned to commit suicide that day as a political protest. So instead of the police station, the police had to take the friends to the hospital. Zhuchkov and Sergeyev were resuscitated at the Sklifosofsky Research Institute. A week later, when they had recovered, they were sent to a pretrial detention center.

At first, they were charged with “attempted disorderly conduct with the use of weapons” (per Article 30.1 and Article 213.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), but later the charge was reclassified as “preparation of a terrorist attack” (per Article 30.1.a and Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Now Anton and Vladimir face up to 10 years in prison.

In his testimony, Zhuchkov stated that he did not intend to harm anyone, but only wanted to commit suicide: “I took [methadone] so as not to see what was happening in the world — the war in Ukraine, the events in the Donbass — and I was also afraid of a nuclear war. Therefore, I wanted to take my own life so as not to see what would happen next, including worrying that young people would live in poverty,” he said during interrogation.

Sergeyev initially admitted that, before committing suicide, he wanted to set fire to an empty police van in protest against the war. Sergeyev’s lawyer Svetlana Zavodtsova reports that these statements were given under duress and without a lawyer present. Sergeyev now refuses to testify.

Solidarity Zone has been providing Zhuchkov with comprehensive support, including paying for a lawyer and sending care packages. Solidarity Zone has been helping Sergeyev and his relatives by giving them consultations and providing them information.

You can also support Vladimir Sergeyev and Anton Zhuchkov.

💰 Donations for Anton Zhuchkov:

4279 3806 5189 1279 (Sberbank card, Evgenia Alekseevna Sh.)

💰 Donations for Vladimir Sergeyev:

5536 9141 5380 7247 (Tinkoff card, Anna Aleksandrovna A.)

You can also transfer funds to support Zhuchkov and Sergeyev via PayPal and Solidarity Zone’s crypto wallets, but you must earmark your payment for them.

🪙 PayPal: solidarity_zone@riseup.net

🥷 Cryptocurrency (write to us at solidarity_zone@riseup.net if you transfer cryptocurrency to support Sergeyev or Zhuchkov)

bitcoin: bc1qfzhfkd27ckz76dqf67t0jwm4gvrcug49e7fhry

monero: 86565hecMGW7n2T1ap7wdo4wQ7kefaqXVPS8h2k2wQVhDHyYbADmDWZTuxpUMZPjZhSLpLp2SZZ8cLKdJkRchVWJBppbgBK

ethereum: 0xD89Cf5e0B04b1a546e869500Fe96463E9986ADA3

other altcoins:

https://nowpayments.io/donation/solidarityzone

✉️📦 Address for letters and parcels:

127055, Moscow, Novoslobodskaya st., 45, SIZO-2,

Zhuchkov Anton Alexandrovich, born in 1983

Sergeyev Vladimir Andreyevich, born in 1985

(It is possible to send letters through the service FSIN-Pismo, as well as the volunteer resource RosUznik)

In the photo, Sergeyev is on the left, Zhuchkov is on the right.

Source: Solidarity Zone, Facebook, 6 November 2022. I have edited the original post in English for clarity and consistency. I would also note that people living outside Russia will not be able to donate money via Russian bank cards or use the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service’s FSIN-Pismo service. It is also probably the case that it is impossible or nearly impossible to send parcels to Russian detention facilities from abroad. ||| TRR