Ruslan Zinin Sent to Solitary Confinement

Ruslan Zinin is a real Russian hero, but you won’t find many Russians talking about his heroism or his current plight for the simple reason that they’ve convinced themselves that there is nothing more to be said or done about their country’s dreadful criminal invasion of Ukraine. It is now up to Ukrainians and the “collective West” to stop Putin, whatever the cost. The vast majority of Russians have better things to do, apparently. In the last few days alone, I’ve seen smart Russian friends of mine, people I definitely consider to be among the country’s best and brightest and even (in other circumstances) the most courageous, writing angrily about alleged government bank bailouts in the US and the supposed tendency of US “taxpayers” to vote for conservative politicians, or how they can’t talk about the things that matter to them on social media due to the war (about which they emphatically don’t want to write because enough has been said about it already), or wondering aloud why it took so long for “them” (i.e., the “international community”) to issue an arrest warrant for Putin. ||| TRR


Ruslan Zinin

🤬 Ruslan Zinin transferred to solitary confinement

Ruslan Zinin’s mother Marina Zinina has reported that on March 21 [her son] was transferred to a solitary confinement cell without explanation.

“They came and took him away, saying, ‘Let’s go to another place.’ They put him in the basement in a solitary confinement cell. […] The conditions are terrible. It’s damp and cold and reeks of sewage, and rats are running around, and there’s nothing in the cell at all, except for a cot. There’s nowhere to store food, nowhere to get water, there’s no kettle, there’s nothing.”

Marina Zinina also said that Ruslan has not received any letters for two weeks, despite the fact that FSIN-Pismo [the Russian penitentiary system’s electronic correspondence service] has been sending people notifications that their letters had been vetted by the censor and handed over to Ruslan.

Solitary confinement is one of two forms of punishment for violating the rules in a pretrial detention center. (The second is a reprimand.) The warden of the pretrial detention center or his deputy can impose these penalties. But before imposing a penalty, the prisoner is given the opportunity to write an explanation about their alleged violation, and they must be notified of the penalty in writing.

Zinin was not charged with violating the rules of the pretrial detention center, and was not informed of any such decisions on the part of the warden.

We consider Zinin’s transfer to solitary confinement to be an escalation of pressure on the prisoner, an attempt to silence him and get him to consent to unfounded accusations of “terrorism.”

A logging truck driver from Ust-Ilimsk (Irkutsk Region), Zinin fired several shots from a sawn-off shotgun at the local military commissar in the midst of the mobilization announced in September of last year. He was incited to do this by the draft notice that had arrived for his brother. The military commissar survived the attack.

In early March, Zinin was charged with committing a “terrorist act” (per Article 205.2.b of the Russian Federal Criminal Code).

Despite the fact that letters are not being handed on to Ruslan at the moment, they remain an important support tool. A large flow of letters shows the wardens at the pretrial detention center that a lot of people are concerned about Ruslan’s plight. An even greater flow of letters and complaints in connection with their non-receipt has repeatedly been shown to be capable of breaking through the information blockade that the authorities impose on political prisoners.

💌📦 Address for letters and parcels to Ruslan:

Zinin Ruslan Alexandrovich (born 1997)
63 ul. Barrikad, SIZO-1
Irkutsk 664019 Russian Federation

📧 You can send letters electronically from anywhere in the world via the FSIN-Pismo service (subject to payment with a Russian-issued bank card) or the free, volunteer-run resource RosUznik (which allows you to remain anonymous).

❗️ If in the last two weeks FSIN-Pismo has sent you a notification of delivery, write to the service’s support team that your letter was not passed on to Ruslan. (You can say that you found about this in the media.)

You will also find sample complaints about non-receipt of letters on our Telegram channel.

Solidarity Zone has been providing comprehensive assistance to Ruslan Zinin and his family.

Source: Solidarity Zone (Facebook), 22 March 2023. Translated by the Russian Reader. People living outside Russia will find it difficult, if not impossible, to use the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service’s FSIN-Pismo service. 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 Ruslan Zinin (and many other Russian political prisoners) via RosUznik, as mentioned above. You can also ask me (avvakum@pm.me) for assistance and advice in sending letters.

Ruslan Zinin Charged with “Terrorism”

Ruslan Zinin

⚡️ Ruslan Zinin charged with terrorism

Logging truck driver Ruslan Zinin grabbed a sawed-off shotgun when, in the wake of the “partial” mobilization’s annoucement, a summons arrived for his brother. On September 26, Zinin went to the military enlistment office in Ust-Ilimsk (Irkutsk Region). Military commissar Alexander Yeliseyev was giving a speech as he dispatched dozens of people to the slaughter. His disdainful attitude towards the mobilized men, as well as his remarks that they themselves were to blame, that they had “piled up loans” and “had heaps of children,” outraged Zinin to the depths of his soul. At that moment, someone in the room asked, “Where are we going?” “We’re all going home now!” Zinin shouted back and fired twice at the military commissar.

Consequently, Zinin’s brother was not mobilized (and, perhaps, the mobilization was temporarily suspended in the district), and military commissar Yeliseyev spent a month and a half in the hospital.

Zinin himself was remanded in custody and charged with “encroachment on the life of a law enforcement officer” (per Article 317 of the Russian Federal Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

The charge was incommensurate with Zinin’s actions [and the circumstances]: the military commissar is not a law enforcement officer and was not performing tasks to protect public order.

However, police investigators went even further and reclassified the charge to “commission of a terrorist act” (per Article 205.2.b of the Criminal Code).

Formally speaking, this is a lesser charge since it does not stipulate life imprisonment, unlike the previous one. However, there cannot be a jury trial for those charged with “terrorism,” judges cannot impose sentences below the statutory minimum, and part of the sentence must be served in a closed prison [as opposed to a penal colony, in which inmates live together in open-plan barracks]. This is not to mention the mass of smaller infringements on the rights of a person convicted as a “terrorist.” Person convicted under this article must be sentenced to between twelve and twenty years in prison.

Currently, we do not know Zinin’s opinion on the matter, nor the specifics of the indictment, because the defense lawyer was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. However, the Solidarity Zone team in any case considers the accusation unfounded, regarding it as nothing other than lawlessness on the part of law enforcement agencies and an attempt to intimidate society. One of the main points of the criminal code article on “terrorism” is to terrorize the populace. In this case it is not Zinin’s actions that constitute “terrorism,” but, on the contrary, the actions of the authorities.

✊ As before, you can support Ruslan by sending him a letter or parcel. If your letters are not passed by the censor or you do not receive a reply from Ruslan, let us know and file a complaint. Templates for complaints can be found on our Telegram channel.

💌📦 Address for letters and parcels:

Zinin Ruslan Alexandrovich (born 1997)
63 ul. Barrikad, SIZO-1
Irkutsk 664019 Russian Federation

📧 You can send letters electronically from anywhere in the world via the FSIN-Pismo service (subject to payment with a Russian-issued bank card) or the free, volunteer-run resource RosUznik (which allows you to remain anonymous).

Solidarity Zone is providing comprehensive assistance to Ruslan Zinin and his family.

Source: Solidarity Zone (Facebook), 9 March 2023. Translated by the Russian Reader. People living outside Russia will find it difficult, if not impossible, to use the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service’s FSIN-Pismo service. 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 Ruslan Zinin (and many other Russian political prisoners) via RosUznik, as mentioned above. You can also ask me (avvakum@pm.me) for assistance and advice in sending letters.

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