SPREAD THE WORD. MAKE POSTS, SHARE, PUBLICIZE Yulia’s case. Yulia and her mother believe that publicity about their case will help them. Please share this information far and wide, especially with media outlets. When making posts on social media, use hashtags:
Yulia Tsvetkova is a 27-year-old artist from the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur (far Eastern Russia). Yulia has been formally charged with illegally producing and distributing pornographic materials on the Internet (Paragraph “b”, Part 3 of Article 242 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, punishable by up to six years of prison). These charges stem from her role as administrator of a feminist body-positive online community through social media. The page is called “The Vagina Monologues,” and features abstract depictions of female sexual organs and educational drawings women’s bodies. Pornography charges also stem from a series of body-positive drawings she made as part of a series entitled “A Woman is not a Doll.” Until recently, she was also the director of the Merak activist youth theater, which produced 9 plays under her direction.
Yulia was arrested on November 20, 2019 after which searches were carried out at home and at work. She was under house arrest from November 23, 2019 until March 16, 2020. She and her mother have been questioned over 30 times. While under house arrest, Yulia was denied access to necessary medical care. She and her mother have experienced months of harassment and death threats.
It is worth noting that the criminal investigation against Yulia was not the result of any complaints from youth or parents in her local community. Rather, she was targeted by St. Petersburg-based homophobic activist Timur Bulatov, who has a past criminal record and in his own words is engaged in a “moral jihad” against LGBT people and their allies by making complaints about them to law enforcement agencies. Bulatov has continued to harass Yulia and her mother, publish their home address, and call on his supporters to kill them.
According the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners, “art materials in Tsvetkova’s case cannot be recognized as pornographic. From our point of view and based on expertise of various experts who have examined the works, these materials are no more pornography than images of the genitals in the school anatomy textbook.” International human rights organizations have called for her release, and many individuals around the world are demonstrating on her behalf.
Yulia’s case will be tried in early July 2020. There is an urgent need for publicity of her case. All charges against Yulia Tsvetkova should be dropped and her case dismissed immediately.
Thanks to Darya Apahonchich for the heads-up and Nicole Garneau for this fantastic video and act of solidarity. You can read more about Yulia Tsvetkova on this ebsite. \\ TRR
Yulia Tsvetkova, “A Family Is Where There’s Love” (courtesy of artist and RFE/RL)
“There are cops and Center ‘E’ officers at the filming of our video at Lenfilm. First, they came and made us sign an obligation not to promote ‘homosexualism’ and ‘extremism,” and then left to talk with Lenfilm management. Half an hour later, the lights were turned off throughout the building. The shoot was scheduled to run from noon to six in the morning. So, the whole thing’s a bust,” Tolokonnikova said.
Police at Lenfilm in Petersburg. Photo by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. Courtesy of Mediazona
The producers tried to rent a generator, but they were not permitted to bring it on the premises of the studio.
“Two days before the shoot, plainclothes officers visited Lenfilm and insisted they cancel the shoot. Surprisingly, Lenfilm refused to heed their request, telling them that we had paid and all the paperwork was in order,” the performance artist added.
“There were supposed to be riot cops [OMON] in the video, but a real patrol showed up instead. The song is about resisting the authorities,” Tolokonnikova told Mediazona.
In an interview with Znak.com, Inessa Yurchenko, who was appointed Lenfilm’s new director general two days ago, called Tolokonnikov’s story a provocation.
“The guys were supposed to have actors in police uniforms, so they cannot pass that off as there being police officers there. There are no police officers on the premises of Lenfilm. It’s not nice to show pictures of actors and provoke the public,” she said.
Yurchenko threatened to call the police.
“I won’t be surprised if there are more provocations on their part—then I will be forced to call the police,” she said.
Yurchenko explained that the blackout in the studio had been caused by an accident on the power grid.
“The head of security will now have to follow regulations while the cause of the accident is established, and so he will have to ask [people] to evacuate Lenfilm because it’s a [secure] facility,” she said.
She added that the activists could return to the film studio when the power was restored.
“Graduate Student Azat Miftakhov Is Being Tortured by the FSB!” Protest at Moscow State University’s Open House Day
Agniya Galdanova Republic
October 15, 2019
Activists from the MSU Pressure Group and Indefinite Protest protested during a speech by Rector Viktor Sadovnichy at Moscow State University’s open house day on October 13.
“Why are you silent? MSU graduate student Azat Miftakhov is being tortured by the FSB! And Rector Sadovnichy is silent!” shouted Olga Misik, a journalism student at MSU better known as the “constitution girl.”
Miftakhov, a 25-year-old mechanics and mathematics graduate student at MSU, was detained on February 1, 2019, in Balashikha. He is suspected of making a homemade bomb and attempting to set fire to a United Russia party office. Miftakhov has repeatedly complained of torture while in police custody.
Even in Siberia, sometimes someone can hear you scream. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Police in Krasnoyarsk Territory Beat Up Kansk Woman While Detaining Her Sibir.Realii
May 23, 2019
In Krasnoyarsk Territory, two criminal investigators from the regional office of the Interior Ministry broke into an apartment and beat an alleged female suspect.
The episode was filmed by an eyewitness, who sent the video to TVK, a local TV channel.
According to the eyewitness, the incident took place in the town of Kansk.
The regional office of the Russian Investigative Committee, which learned about the incident from reporters, confirmed the men in the video were, in fact, police officers. The Investigative Committee has launched an official inquiry.
The woman’s injuries had been noted earlier in the Investigative Committee’s Kansk office, but officials initially said the suspect had been detained by a squad of Special Rapid Deployment Force (SOBR) officers, who had to use physical force because, allegedly, the woman resisted arrest.
The video contradicts this claim, showing one of the policemen beating the woman before taking her away.
It also transpired the woman was not a suspect. Police wanted merely to question her as part of a criminal investigation.
According to the Investigative Committee, a car belonging to a court bailiff had been burned. The police were attempting to identify people involved in the crime. They had thus wanted to take the local woman in for questioning.
The territorial police’s press service refused to comment on the incident, noting only that they had launched their own internal investigation.
This is Yana Antonova, a pediatric surgeon. Today at six in the morning, police and security services came to her home, which she shares with her eleven-year-old son, and searched it. They did not let her call a lawyer.
Yana has been charged with engaging in the work of an “undesirable organization.”
It is easy to dismiss this news, to pay it no mind. We can say they knew what they were getting themselves into. They had no business joining “undesirable” organizations and so on. But while some will shrug, I would draw their attention to the fact that Russia’s law books contain laws that give the authorities the ability to bring criminal proceedings against people for their political activism, of whatever stripe, and the authorities can do this shamelessly, openly, and without standing on ceremony.
I copied down the “crimes” allegedly committed by Yana, as listed in her charge sheet. They include two pickets, three Facebook posts, a seminar, and attendance of a political rally.
There was no “extremism” whatsoever in the posts and pickets, nor any calls to illegal actions of any kind. The only thing they had in common was the logotype of a movement that has now been banned. It was banned because the prosecutor’s office decided it was British and “undesirable,” without producing a shred of evidence.
Just read what these officials write. I am not a big fan of raising a ruckus about 1937 whenever something like this happens, but the Russian law enforcement officials who ban “undesirable” organizations and arrest people like Yana nowadays are obviously the heirs of the folks who once upon a time persecuted people for “anti-Soviet” and “counterrevolutionary” actions.
What did Yana Antonova do?
She unfurled and displayed three yellow flags emblazoned with the words “Open Russia.”
She held a solo picket demanding that construction of a swimming pool be completed. (The picket was actually, the police claim, a news hook for filling the media with coverage of the local Open Russia cell.)
Antonova also held a seminar for opposition activists at which Yevgeniya Chirikova was the keynote speaker. Flags and clothing emblazoned with the logo of the Open Russia movement were featured at the event.
She published a video featuring the Open Russia logo. [The video was actually about the lack of schools in Krasnodar.]
With criminal intent, as the police put it, she published information about Open Russia in open access that featured appeals to an unlimited number of people to attend a political rally. [It was a rally in memory of Boris Nemtsov.]
With criminal intent, she held a solo picket in memory of opposition politician B.E. Nemtsov [sic] and covered the event on the internet.
This is the third criminal case against Open Russia, this time brought to us by the famous rough justice system in Krasnodar Territory. You heard me right: the very same place where crime boss Aydin Shirinov kicked up his heels at a meeting with Putin. It is the same place where the Tsapkov Gang, who murdered twelve people, and previous to that terrorized the village of Kushchevskaya for years, had personal connections with high-ranking officials in the Russian Federal Prosecutor’s Office. It is the very same part of the country where police officers tortured detainees, and the Committee Against Torture made the documentary film Extreme South about these goings-on in Anapa. It is the very same place where the murderer Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz used his connections thousands of kilometers from home and dined on delicacies in a penal colony in the Far East. It is the home of the notorious Judge Yelena Khakhaleva. It is also the place where grown men dress up as Cossacks and attack political activists, blogger, journalists, and even Baptists with whips. (It was reported just today that in Novorossiysk, men dressed as Cossacks, police officers, and officials from city hall broke up a private worship service, accusing the Baptists of causing a schism in the otherwise homogeneous spiritual world of Russians.)
In this gigantic criminal cesspool, a tumor of lawlessness on the country’s body, law enforcement has finally figured who the really dangerous criminal is. Her name is Yana Antonova, and she has been accused of doing the work of Open Russia. Despite the fact Yana lives in Russia, she has been linked to the Open Russian Movement in Britain. An Englishwoman, basically, is making trouble in Krasnodar Territory. The region has such a great future ahead of it, and not as a hotbed of crime and lawlessness on a nationwide scale, but the bloody English have screwed that up.
Joking aside, the last misdemeanor case against Yana, which opened the way to her criminal prosecution, was for reposting a video on Facebook dealing with the lack of schools in Krasnodar Territory. Law enforcement justified their concocted case against Yana by pointing to the tiny yellow logo in the video, Open Russia’s logo.
In this case, yet another ridiculous concoction and a completely absurd reason (just imagine: she reposted a video on Facebook!) were grounds for filing criminal charges against Yana.
The criminal charges against Yana Antonova are a flagrant attempt to force Russian society to keep its mouth shut and swallow its outrage. The takeaway message is: bear it in silence and don’t complain, otherwise you’ll have real problems.
One more thing. Yesterday, the entire Runet laughed openly at a video in which former riot police (OMON), men who had served in “hot spots, as well as Manege Square and Bolotnaya Square” (how shameful to compare special forces troops who risked their lives in battles and special operations with those who dispersed legal political rallies by their fellow Russians), complained they were being evicted from their government-subsidized apartments.
I have the feeling that, five or ten years from now, we will see a similarly amazing appeal for help from law enforcers in Krasnodar Territory.
“We smashed up art shows, assaulted reporters, chased the Baptists away, and sent Open Russia supporters to jail, but now we have nothing to live on,” they will say.
Since there are so many slackers and fellows with hefty foreheads, dressed up as Cossacks or wearing real uniforms, armed with whips or sporting epaulettes, it is bound to happen. But the government’s coffers are not bottomless.
Kaluga Resident Faces Criminal Charges for Two-Year-Old Repost OVD Info
December 19, 2016
On November 17, FSB officers came to Kaluga resident’s Roman Grishin workplace and took him away to an investigator. After being interrogated on camera, Grishin was informed he stood accused of inciting enmity and hatred (Criminal Code Article 282.1) for reposting a video in 2014. Grishin wrote about the incident on Facebook on December 18. He was released on his own recognizance as a suspect in a criminal case.
“A group of FSB officers in balaclavas and special kit showed up in the morning at my work, plunging my coworkers into a considerable stupor,” writes Grishin.
The video is entitled “New Hit from Kharkov! This Is Russism, Baby.” Acccording to Grishin, it is freely accessible on YouTube.
As Grishin told OVD Info by telephone, the main topic of his interrogation by FSB officers was his regular trips to Ukraine. They asked why he had his picture taken on the Maidan. Grishin visits the country as a tourist, stays with friends, and stresses that he does not collaborate with any organizations in Ukraine.
Grishin lives in Kaluga. Educated as a philologist, he works as a proofreader. The FSB’s scrutiny has been a real shock to him.
“I never voiced any appeals [for enmity or hatred]. You could say I’m a couch activist,” he said.
Putin Proclaims National Idea Fontanka.ru
February 3, 2016
In Russia, there can be no other unifying idea than patriotism, argues President Vladimir Putin, as reported by TASS.
“This is, in fact, the national idea,” the head of state announced during a meeting with the Leaders Club, which brings together entrepreneurs from forty of the country’s regions.
According to Putin, this idea is not ideologized and is not linked to the work of a particular party, reports RIA Novosti.
“It is a common rallying point. If we want to live better, the country has to be more attractive to all citizens and more effective,” the president stressed.
Who Killed a Transsexual in Ufa and Why? Ufa1.ru
February 2, 2016
On Monday, February 1, Angela Likina was stabbed in the chest and killed in Ufa. The Ufa resident had gained notoriety in 2014, when a video recorded on a traffic police dashcam entitled “Ufa Traffic Cops Stop a Transvestite” [sic] went viral on the Web. Ufa1.ru found out who killed Oleg Vorobyov, who had changed his sex and become Angela Likina, and why.
The controversial video from the traffic police car dashcam recorded an inspector checking the papers of a female motorist. It transpired, however, that the motorist’s name, according to his internal passport, was Oleg Vorobyov. The inspector was very surprised by this. The motorist was a transsexual who had been preparing for a sex change operation for several years, becoming Angela Likina. The restricted video was leaked to the Web.
Later, the State Auto Inspectorate conducted a review of the incident, because the restricted footage should have not ended up on the Web. Angela Likina also commented on the video herself. She was surprised the incident had provoked so much interest among Web users.
“People die in accidents, children get hurt, cars are stolen, blood is needed to save someone’s life. Gentlemen, why are you setting records for likes and reposts about me? I honestly don’t understand,” said Likina, adding, “I don’t care how you live, what you do, and so on, so long as you are alive, healthy, and happy. But my life does not concern you in absolutely any way.”
How Did Oleg Live?
Ufa1.ru spoke with friends and acquaintances of Angela Likina, who talked about the life of the murdered woman. We found out this sad ending had emerged from a number of factors. Before becoming Angela Likina, Oleg Vorobyov had been married. Acquaintances confess that, outwardly, the couple were seemingly happy. They were raising two daughters, now aged fourteen and nine. The family lived in a private house, which also housed Oleg’s auto repair garage. Many of the people with whom we spoke said automobile owners were satisfied with Oleg’s work, that he had a magic touch.
Over five years ago, Oleg realized he was living in someone else’s body. He understood he wanted to change his sex and become the person he thought he was. Oleg began calling himself Angela Likina and started the complicated process of preparing to change his sex. He took hormone pills and began dressing like a woman. According to his internal passport, however, he remained Oleg Vorobyov. He could only change his name after finally changing his sex.
Five years ago, the Vorobyovs divorced, but the former husband and wife and their two children kept living under the same roof. The house was the wife’s property, and her former husband had an established business there. Several of the family’s acquaintances believe that Angela did not want to lose her income from the auto repair garage and spend money on renting a place to live. After all, she had to save up a large sum of money for the operation, and the medicines she took to prepare for the procedure were expensive. Close friends emphasize that Angela worked a lot, sometimes seven days a week.
At the same time, Ufa1.ru’s sources noted the Ufa resident simply had no choice.
“He once tried to rent a flat, but was kicked out. A neighbor had said, ‘I don’t want my children to see this!’ Consequently, he was evicted and didn’t even get his money back,” said one of our sources.
Friends of the family noted that those who have lived under the same roof with ex-spouses can imagine the atmosphere that prevailed in the Vorobyov house. Some say that the rows over living arrangements caused the Vorobyovs to come to blows. Things were aggravated by the fact that the head of the family had become a woman. Their children also became the targets of reproaches and ridicule at school.
“They would come home in tears, and sometimes refuse to go to school, but Angela loved her daughters and gave them a lot of time,” acquaintances noted.
Who Killed Angela?
According to friends, a boyfriend came to visit Oleg’s ex-wife on the ill-fated evening. The criminal investigation will shed more light on what exactly happened in the house. For now, the family’s acquaintances have their own hypotheses. Perhaps the man intervened in yet another family row. Maybe he stood up for his girlfriend and wanted to intimidate Angela by demanding she pack her things and leave. The row, however, escalated into something bigger.
“She was stabbed in the chest near the heart. She did not die immediately. She made it to a neighbor’s house, told him what had happened and who had done it, and an ambulance was summoned. Then Angela died in the neighbor’s arms. It was apparently too late to help her. I don’t know what was happening in the family. Angela was a good person, but strangers often beat her up. Her neighbors respected her choice. It is a bad thing when a person steals, kills or rapes, but everything else is a private matter,” said an acquaintance of Angela’s.
“The best human qualities—kindness, fairness, compassion, and unselfishness—were powerfully manifested in her. Unfortunately, that is a rarity nowadays. And she really never held a grudge against anyone, although there were a fairly large number of people who wished her ill. Most of them, it is true, were people who did not know her at all. They insulted and mocked her. You could say she was understanding about it: far from everyone in our city, or even our country, is ready to comprehend the decision to have a sex change. And that is another reason I have endless respect for her: the determination to go her own way to the end, to change her life fundamentally, the willingness to take one and overcome all the difficulties,” another girlfriend of Angela’s confided to Ufa1.ru.
“Apparently, Angela sensed her impending death. Not long before this she had asked forgiveness from her wife for all the rows that had happened between them,” said another family acquaintance.
Fire at Moscow workshop kills 12 people, including 3 children Boston Globe
January 31, 2016
ASSOCIATED PRESS, JANUARY 31, 2016, MOSCOW — A fire at a textile workshop in Moscow has killed 12 people, including three children, officials said.
The victims were not identified but were reportedly immigrants.
The Investigative Committee, the top state investigative agency, said the fire broke out late Saturday in northeastern Moscow, damaging more than 32,000 square feet of the structure.
Investigators said they are looking at negligence or arson as possible causes.
Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman, Pavel Astakhov, said Sunday on his Twitter account that three children were among those who died, including a baby. He said the victims were migrant workers who lived next to their workplace.
Several dozen fire engines responded to the blaze, and it took firefighters about five hours to extinguish the blaze.
Investigators continued to sift through the rubble Sunday for evidence.
Many immigrants work in Russian factories, some of which have been investigated for hazardous working conditions. In April, a blaze on the outskirts of Moscow killed 17 migrant workers.
The death toll of Kyrgyz citizens (according to the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in the Russian Federation):
1. Sajida Masaliyeva, born 1988. Home address: Village of Kyzyl-Bel, Batken District, Batken Region.
2. Toktokan Saliyeva, born 1983. Home address: Village of Tayan, Batken District, Batken Region.
3. Uulkan Saliyeva, born 1997, sister of Toktokan Saliyeva.
4. Isa kizi Aizat, born 1995. According to available information, Isa was a native of the Village of Kaiyndy, Batken Region.
5. Milikajdar uulu Koshonbay, born 1990.
6. Tologon Kozuyev, born 1991.
7. Manas, born 1995; brother of Tologon Kozuyev; no other details.
8. Daniel, 4-5 years old, son of Ergeshbay Japarov, a Russian national who perished in the fire; born in the village of Rout, Batken District, Batken Region; according to the victims, Daniel was a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic.
[Elena Bobrova:] You are something of a patriot yourself?
[Nikolai Kolyada:] How else should I relate to Russia? I love her whatever she be like. Like Gogol I can tell the whole unvarnished truth about her. And Nikolai Vasilyevich said such awful things about Russia. He sobbed bloody tears when thinking about the country. But not because he hated it. On the contrary, because he loved it. When foreigners start speaking badly about Russia, I begin to boil: “Shut up, it is none of your business. I have the right to say anything about her, but you do not.” Well, it is okay when Europeans or Americans sling mud at us: they have a hard time coping with the fact we are different, unpredictable, and freer than they are. But when our own people hate their own country, that is terrible. This morning, I was reading Facebook and I thought, “Why do you live here if you hate Russia so much?”
[Bobrova:] But you just said yourself we have a right to chew out Russia because we live here.
[Kolyada:] Chew out but not hate. But Facebook is just seething with hatred.
—Excerpted from “20% of the Petersburg audience are loonies,” Gorod 812 (print edition), February 1, 2016, page 34
Items one, two, four, and six translated by the Russian Reader