Дайджест
2 Февраля 2012 года

Glasnost defence foundation digest No. 555

30 January 2012

 

TOPIC OF THE WEEK

Reporters sans frontières: Press Freedom Index 2011/2012

Reporters sans frontières, the Paris-based international press freedom watchdog, published its 10th annual Press Freedom Index on 25 January.

“Control of news and information continued to … be a question of survival for totalitarian and repressive regimes. The past year also highlighted the leading role played by netizens in producing and disseminating news,” the survey says.

A study of media freedoms in 179 countries around the globe resulted in the conclusion that the situation is the worst in Eritrea (179th), Turkmenistan (178th) and North Korea (177th), where “absolute dictatorships … permit no civil liberties”. It is only slightly better in Syria (176th), Iran (175th) and China (174th), as well as Bahrain (173rd) and Vietnam (172nd). “Other countries such as Uganda and Belarus have also become much more repressive,” the index says.

Finland and Norway traditionally lead the way with the highest press freedom rankings, followed by Estonia and Netherlands (sharing 3rd-4th positions), Austria (5th), Iceland and Luxembourg (6-7th), Switzerland (8th), Cape Verde (9th), and Canada and Denmark (10-11th).

“France is still in a disappointing position (38th), as concern continues about protection of the confidentiality of sources and the ability of investigative journalists to cover influential figures close to the government,” the index says. Germany is 16th, United Kingdom 28th, the United States 47th, and Italy 61st.

In Russia (in an unenviable 142nd position between Gambia and Columbia, down two places from last year), “the media freedom panorama continues to be gloomy,” the report says. “The conviction of a couple for the double murder of Anastasia Baburova and Stanislav Markelov raised hopes but aspects of the case remained unclarified and impunity is still the rule for those who mur­der or attack journalists. Tougher sentences for such crimes and the decriminalization of media offences were both good news but the impact of these reforms remains to be determi­ned, especially in the absence of an overhaul of anti-terrorist legislation.”

The other ex-Soviet countries are ranked as follows: Estonia 3rd, Lithuania 30th, Latvia 50th Moldova 53rd, Armenia 77th, Georgia 104th, Kyrgyzstan 108th, Ukraine 116th, Tajikistan 122nd, Kazakhstan 154th, Uzbekistan 157th, Azerbaijan 162nd, Belarus 168th, and Turkmenistan 177th.

 

EVENT OF THE WEEK

International conference to protect journalists in dangerous situations: Recommendations

A recent conference in Doha, Qatar, which was attended by GDF President Alexei Simonov, discussed ways of enhancing journalists’ security and issued the following recommendations:

“We, representatives of media, human rights and freedom of expression groups and international, regional and national organizations of journalists meeting at the International Conference to protect Journalists held in Doha, Qatar on 22-23 January 2012, organized by the Qatari National Committee for Human Rights (QNCHR) […]

“DECLARE

“- that although the United Nations and its agencies have a wide range of tools and instruments which can address the issue of safety, scores of journalists and media workers continue to be killed every year while carrying out their professional responsibilities. Many of such abuses are not investigated and remain unpunished

“- that renewed and urgent action is necessary to press for robust implementation to the existing mechanisms and procedures by increasing the effectiveness of monitoring and enforcement of the current instruments

“This Conference therefore recommends: […]

“- To governments

“1. Respect the letter and spirit of all international instruments they signed up to, of the binding and non-binding resolutions, covenants and declarations of the United Nations

2. Include an assessment of other country's record when granting aid and other development assistance. International development institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, should also scrutinize a country's record on violence journalists when assessing the granting of aid and other assistance

3. Strengthen national laws including criminal laws and overhaul justice system to end impunity and to provide judicial and legislative assistance to prevent serious violations of international humanitarian laws including the targeting of journalists

4. Agree that families of killed journalists have a right to compensation directly or through media institutions and establish a solidarity fund for the victims.

“- To news organizations

“1. Acknowledge their duty of care for all their journalists, in particular news gatherers, staff or freelance and their responsibility to provide hostile environment safety training and equipment whether at time of conflict or not

2. Arrange trauma counseling through specialized organizations such as the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma

3. Negotiate at all time with journalists' representatives all issues of safety in news coverage, including safety protocols, medical care, life insurance, equality to provide those social guarantees to all, including freelancers

4. Increase awareness and knowledge of legal international agreements and conventions as well as regional ones

5. Include awareness of all aspects of the region under coverage in any training

6. Include special training for women in view of the attacks such as sexual harassment and the spate of other violent attacks directly targeted at women.

“- To Journalists

“1. Develop a culture to being responsible for their own safety and seek out training before traveling to conflict zones

2. Develop a culture of solidarity, in particular a duty of care towards each other

3. Be ready at all time to help record any incidents of attacks to provide evidence to cases of violence

4. Develop an understanding of how military works and be ready how to handle them. […]”

Full text

 

RUSSIA

Perm Region. Unknown arsonist sets newspaper office on fire

By Mikhail Lobanov, GDF correspondent in Volga Federal District

Arson early on 28 December destroyed part of the office equipment, archives and furniture of the opposition newspaper Vecherny Krasnokamsk (VK), founded and edited by Olga Kolokolova, leader of the Perm Region branch of the Yabloko party.

A report about the VK office building in Komarov St. in Krasnokamsk being ablaze came at 3:54 a.m., according to the Emergency Situations Ministry’s regional department. A fire brigade arrived 4 minutes later – early enough to prevent the fire from damaging more than 4 sq. m of the office space. The firemen reported the arson to the police who are now deciding whether to start criminal proceedings.

Speaking live on the Ekho Permi radio station early on 30 January, Kolokolova said security cameras had recorded a man breaking a window and throwing a Molotov cocktail into the office. The damage is estimated at 300,000 roubles. Yabloko’s regional leader voiced two versions of the incident, both with political underpinnings: one may be someone’s revenge for VK’s opposition to the city administration on water supply policy issues; the other someone’s reaction to a journalistic investigation into the [dragged-out] capital repairs of the city’s utility lines.

Kolokolova pointed out that her father Arkady Kolokolov, also a city Duma deputy, was beaten up last year, and that her Yabloko co-worker Svetlana Ivanova became the target of a violent attack during the latest election campaign. The editor described the torching of the VK office as “one in a series of outrageously lawless acts” committed in the city lately. “I fear for my family, relatives and colleagues,” she added.

A GDF source within law enforcement said, speaking on anonymity terms, that a “commercial” version is being checked, too. Kolokolova is the owner of the VK office building, which also houses the office of OOO PKF Uralkomp, a company she owns 100%. Besides, she is a co-owner of two other companies, OOO Uralkomp and OOO Masterovoy.

Notwithstanding the arson’s aftermath, Editor Kolokolova has announced that the next issue of Vecherny Krasnokamsk will be released exactly on time – Thursday, 2 February – in the usual 5.000 copies.

 

Sakhalin Region. Sovetsky Sakhalin newspaper under hard pressure

By Olga Vassilyeva, GDF correspondent in Far Eastern Federal District

At a recent meeting with Moscow University students of journalism, President Dmitry Medvedev said there is no censorship in Russia at all, the less so what some describe as “unbridled censorship”, since “no one has ever imposed or maintained it deliberately”.

Actually, censorship does not need to be imposed specially in a country where censor functions are successfully performed by different administration departments in charge of contacts with the media. In the Sakhalin Region, for example, there is the Information Policy Department which not only dictates to its “pocket” media (i.e. those controlled by the regional administration) what to report on and how, but also reads the newspapers prior to printing and watches TV news reports prior to their going on the air. In its contacts with independent media, it applies economic pressure – an instrument even more effective than censorship, as proven by its policy toward the Sovetsky Sakhalin newspaper.

As we have already reported, ever since campaigning for the latest Duma elections began, the region’s oldest newspaper has found itself under an economic blockade (for details, see Digest 544). Street newspaper vendors, the local air carrier and larger advertisers have all ceased co-operating with the newspaper, citing a secret instruction they received from the regional administration.

The ruling party and regional authorities did not want in the run-up to the elections to see sharply critical materials published in almost each issue of the region’s sole independent newspaper. Street vendors told bewildered readers to wait until the elections were over – Sovetsky Sakhalin would be back on the stalls the very next day, they predicted. Until then, they said, they would refrain from distributing the disfavoured newspaper out of fear of having their rent agreements terminated or, still worse, their press kiosks torn down.

Indeed, Sovetsky Sakhalin reappeared in the retail sales network after the end of the elections. But realistically-minded people warned that the authorities might invent something else to make life really hard for the disagreeable journalists who were certain to continue the same editorial policy in the run-up to next March’s presidential elections. Those forecasts came true: four days before the New Year, Sovetsky Sakhalin editor Vladimir Sorochan received a notice from the regional printing house saying their printing service agreement with his newspaper, until then automatically extended at the end of each of the previous five years, would be unilaterally terminated as of 1 January 2012. The printing house management stressed it had always regarded Sovetsky Sakhalin as a reliable customer which had accurately paid for the printing services; it hinted that Sorochan should himself try to guess what the real reasons behind the break-off were.

For Sovetsky Sakhalin, the agreement’s termination is tantamount to a catastrophe. The regional printing company is the monopoly-holder in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk as regards printing A2 format stuff. But even if the newspaper chose a different format, it would anyway be unable to find an alternative: the city’s second (and last) printing house, Kapital, has worked at the peak of its capacity. Sorochan has appealed to the regional Antimonopoly Service chief, Alexei Mogilyovkin, and the staffers to Viktor Ishayev, the RF President’s Personal Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, asking for help. At the very same time, in late December, the Board of the regional branch of the RF Journalists’ Union considered the conflict over the disfavoured newspaper but refrained from passing any judgment. Some board members could not believe the governor had indeed moved to impose an economic blockade on the region’s oldest and most popular newspaper – he might simply not know about the designs his subordinates were having against Sovetsky Sakhalin, they said.

Indeed, upon learning the details of the situation around Sovetsky Sakhalin, Governor Alexander Khoroshavin was reportedly “surprised and enraged” by the policy pursued toward the newspaper by “blockheads” from his press-supervising pool. Sovetsky Sakhalin again began to be printed. Having said goodbye to its readers at the end of last year, the newspaper said “Hello again!” to them in this year’s first release.

Yet nothing has changed in principle. No renewed agreement with the newspaper has been signed, and many believe it will not be – until the March 4th elections are over. The staffers are being kept on a short leash, so that the sole “fountain of glasnost” can be stopped at any time, if necessary.

 

Chelyabinsk Region. Administration at war with bloggers

By Irina Gundareva, GDF correspondent in Urals Federal District

The web blogs of critics of authorities in the region of Chelyabinsk have been hacked and cyber-attacked by the score in a bid to stem the spread in the internet of negative information about the regional administration’s performance.

The web account of Yulia Pozdeyeva, a prominent investigator of state order misplacements by regional administration officials, has been hacked. It is she who has consistently gathered and publicised information about the most odious misappropriations of budgetary funds, such as the purchase of urinals equipped with user detectors or the hire of a security team for the governor that costs twice as much as the security services of two major sports complexes. She also told the public about luxurious receptions for foreign VIPs with 45 million roubles spent on souvenirs, and a dozen other instances of absurd and crazy spending of taxpayers’ money, as well as the purchase of a personal helicopter for Governor Mikhail Yurevich.

“Six months ago, they tried to crush me by staging apparatus shows around an award conferred on my father, who was dying of a severe disease at the time,” Posdeyeva wrote in her blog. “After they understood this kind of ‘carrot’ was not big enough to gag me, since I am a determined sort, they cyber-attacked my blog, my e-mail boxes, and even my half-abandoned profile on Odnoklassniki.ru – evidently searching, as in the case of Navalny, for my potential correspondence with the US Department of State for the purpose of acquiring foreign grants.”

After a publication about hired commentators or “trolls” browsing the internet from the regional administration’s IP address, the web blog of Sadpanther, Marina Belova from the city of Zlatoust, was blocked off. She, too, is a committed opposition activist, who wrote in her blog about the purchase of a Bentley by the city mayor – to be sure, by a pure coincidence – right after the receipt of a tranche to finance United Russia’s “Good Deeds” action in the city; and a Mercedes by the head of the city administration’s Sports Committee at about the same time. Significantly enough, neither of the two officials or their relatives had been known to engage in any legal business in Zlatoust, earning as much as that.

But Chalyabinsk-based netizens are not easy to intimidate. Many keep mirror versions of their blogs on other web resources. And, most important, the news reports they produce are circulated around the internet with the speed of a virus, and a search engine’s cash memory is known to save everything.

The blame for the cyber-attacks is being pinned on the Committee Against Bloggers, set up within the governor’s administration about six months ago under the oversight of the gubernatorial Centre for Operative Analysis and Forecasting – a structure that did not exist under the previous governor, Pyotr Sumin.

 

Chelyabinsk. Authorities requisition Press House

By Irina Gundareva, GDF correspondent in Urals Federal District

The late Governor Pyotr Sumin presented the South Urals journalists with the Press House in Krasnoarmeiskaya Street, which the incumbent Governor Mikhail Yurevich has now requisitioned. Vladislav Pisanov, former head of the regional Journalists’ Union, fired for his “proneness to conflict” – i.e., for his resistance to United Russia party attempts to grab control of profitable media projects – repeatedly warned that the authorities were certain to take back the Press House as an “irresistibly tasty morsel” in downtown Chelyabinsk. Unfortunately, his prediction came true.

After less than a year of operation, the House of Journalists quietly ceased existing, with its premises returned to the regional administration on a pretext that is both ludicrous and fully consistent with the administration’s indisputably businesslike mode of thinking: the Journalists’ Union as a non-profit organisation cannot pay for the building’s maintenance – therefore, it has to give it up. With the already accrued huge maintenance debt cited as the formal pretext, the ex-head of the Union insists that it is the building’s requisition in the first place that was behind the scheme leading to his dismissal.

“The new team did a job of work with the journalistic community, targeting a group of chief editors and finally having them replaced,” Pisanov told Uralpress.ru. “With the level of professional solidarity among the journalists as low as it is, the plan worked without a hitch – no one even thought of protesting.”

The decision to take back the Press House is very characteristic of the present body of the regional administration which believes that theatres, clubs and other cultural centres must necessarily yield revenue.

 

Rostov-on-Don. Flaws of “online justice administration”: Case file found at long last

See Digest 544

By Anna Lebedeva, GDF correspondent in Southern Federal District

Plans to introduce an online system of justice administration had long been discussed in Russia before it was finally announced that all judicial decisions passed throughout the Russian Federation would be posted on the relevant websites. Lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists were among those who heartily welcomed the novelty, since unhindered access to information is vital in preparing unbiased, cross-checked and truthful media reports, rather than those based on guesswork and rumours.

The resulting system, however, turned out an unworkable dummy. Databases that cost millions of roubles of taxpayers’ money to compile have often failed to provide requested information.

Three months ago, I learned that BISCOM International AG of Switzerland had won an impressive amount of compensation for damages inflicted on the company by the Russian customs service. After the service command acknowledged that fact but refused to go into detail about it, I felt compelled to look up the relevant judicial decision online. That’s where it turned out that one cannot enter the database of the cases considered, and decisions passed, by the Moscow Arbitration Court unless one knows the case file number.

The search engine on the court’s website is designed so that you will not be able to enter the database even when typing in the full names of the plaintiff and defendant organisations. “The system isn’t perfect indeed,” court spokeswoman Yulia Iudina acknowledged, “but anyone is free to comment on its quality”.

I did leave my comment on the system’s “quality” on the court website, typing it into the box supposed to secure the delivery of my message to Court Chairman Sergey Chucha in person, and received an official reply from his press service saying they had been unable to find the case file “BISCOM International AG vs. Federal Customs Service”. I could only learn that the case had been heard by the court back in October 2011 and the plaintiff had been awarded US $ 550,000 in compensation from the customs service after the decision was confirmed by a higher-standing judicial authority.

So was it worthwhile paying as much as we taxpayers did for this “online justice administration” fake?

 

St. Petersburg. District newspapers segregated

By Roman Zakharov, GDF correspondent in North-Western Federal District

Passions are again running high in St. Petersburg over the allocation of funds in support of district newspapers. The city administration’s 29 December decision on subsidies for these purposes was finally published as late as 12 January. The district administrations are now busy formulating competition rules so as to make sure the impressive amounts of money will go to the “reliable” newspaper pools under their control.

The Glasnost Defence Foundation has repeatedly drawn attention to how unfairly budgetary support for the district newspapers is allocated. The situation has not improved even after a new body of the city government came to power. To ensure the unconditional victory of their “pocket” newspapers, district administrations (to whom the city administration delegated the competition-organising powers) have introduced a few additional contest requirements, such as mandatory experience in releasing a district (not other) newspaper; mandatory involvement of the City Press Committee Chairman and District Administration Press Secretary as jury members, etc. Significantly, the provision (allegedly introduced to ensure greater fairness) which bars any media outlet already receiving support from the city budget as per the date of the competition excludes, for example, those newspapers which have been awarded city grants to finance specific projects. To qualify for a grant (itself subject to numerous “awkward” questions from publishers and journalists), one has to show at least some professional knowledge and skills in addition to one’s ability to obediently print whatever official stuff is submitted for publishing.

Anyway, competition results are to be announced in February, by which time those district newspapers will have been released in tens of thousands of copies – just in time for the upcoming presidential elections.

 

BELARUS

Journalist repressions grew in scale in 2011

The Belarussian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has made public a survey entitled “Violations of Journalist and Media Rights in 2011”.

The political and economic crisis following the 19 December 2010 presidential elections, with post-election repressions against the opposition and civil society, determined the development of the Belarussian media in 2011, the BAJ press service said.

The most serious violations of independent media and journalists’ rights included criminal prosecution of journalists; mass detentions of reporters during protest actions throughout 2011; the withdrawal of AutoRadio’s broadcasting license and the lodging of legal claims against Narodnaya Volya and Nasha Niva with a view to having the two newspapers shut down; resumed blacklisting of Belarussian artists, writers and musicians; restrictions on internet freedom; and enhanced economic discrimination of the independent media.

In the wake of the 2010 presidential elections, 7 BAJ members were charged under criminal law with organising and participating in mass unrests, or committing acts that constituted serious breaches of public order.

Throughout 2011, law enforcement officers around the country detained journalists covering mass protest actions, i.e. performing their professional duty. The largest crackdowns on reporters occurred during last summer’s protests (“Silence Actions”) organised via social networks. More than 150 journalists were detained while doing their professional work, according to BAJ.

Another alarming signal was the resumed blacklisting of “individual artists and creative groups”, with bans on the mention of their names by the state-controlled media and FM radio stations. Among the blacklisted are not only Belarussian but also foreign musicians, artists, actors and writers, including the DDT and Pet Shop Boys rock groups, writers Andrei Bitov and Eduard Uspensky, playwright Tom Stoppard, actors Jude Law, Kevin Spacey and others.

In the spring of 2011, the Belarussian General Prosecutor’s Office ruled to restrict access to the popular news websites of Khartiya 97 and Belarussky Partizan, on the pretext of their violation of the law “On Mass Events in the Republic of Belarus”. Internet service providers were ordered to shut down access to those sites for government organisations, and for educational and cultural institutions. By the beginning of 2012, a total of 60 websites had been put on the list of those with restricted access. Apart from pornographic, terrorist and extremist websites, the list features the above-mentioned Charter97.org and Belaruspartisan.org sites, as well as Spring96.org (the website of the Vesna human rights group), Prokopovich.net, Prokopovi.ch, and Yevgeny Lipkovich’s LiveJournal blog.

 

GLASNOST DEFENCE FOUNDATION

Some statistics cited

Last week, the Glasnost Defence Foundation was referred to at least 10 times in the internet, including at:

 

OUR PUBLICATIONS

Freedom of expression, Saratov-style

By Yuri Chernyshov, GDF correspondent in Volga Federal District

The Jury of the Andrei Sakharov Competition “Journalism as an Act of Conscience” may as well stop accepting works submitted by journalists in Saratov. Since some time ago, the local media have been under zero pressure from local authorities – instead, they have been demonstratively ignored! No publication by a Saratov-based reporter can be regarded as an act of conscience now: one is free to write whatever one likes about the disgusting behaviour of government officials of any rank – nobody will ever pay attention. The authorities have been turning a deaf ear even to journalists’ public censure of their performance and to suggestions that all branches of power at all levels may be tied together by corporate solidarity links in protecting underworld business.

For example, here is an excerpt from an interview with the leader of a children’s ecological association:

“I can’t help recalling this scandal over the purchase of equipment for hiking tours and downriver rafting as part of ecological and local history research expeditions,” he said. “All that equipment, purchased with budgetary money, was simply plundered, stolen or destroyed by persons supposed to be in charge of the relevant direction of work – by officials at the Ministry of Physical Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs. And the law enforcers, pretending to be fulfilling different formal instructions, actually moved to protect those plunderers. They ‘provided the roof’, using the well-known modern slang expression.” [From Bogatei newspaper, 19 January 2012]

Even when journalists openly climb the rostrum to speak their mind to the crowds about ill-performing government officials, as they did during the protest rallies on 10 and 24 December, and then follow up with sharp-worded critical articles in their newspapers, criticism runs off the authorities like water off a duck’s back. Clearly, the media and ordinary people have come to understand they live in parallel worlds with those at the helm, and the latter seem to see this kind of existence as the most favourable to them.

As an example of an extreme situation, a journalist attending a meeting of some public council under a municipal administration, may tell government officials to their face, “We journalists believe that all of you, including the administrators, police officers and prosecutors, are tied together by a multitude of corrupt links into one close family, which is called Mafia in Italian.” The officials will only smile in response – patronizingly, almost encouragingly. That’s what I recently told the Ecology Minister during a conference in his office, with a written account of my address published in the press later. Public activists hold up their hands and stare: How do you like this go-on-wag-your-tongue kind of reaction? What else should the journalists say to draw at least some response from the authorities?

Criticism in online media, on newspapers’ websites and elsewhere in the internet, though, has caused the ruling elite to react in a special way: word has gone around in the journalistic circles that the regional administration has hired two groups of “trolls” – paid agents assigned to drown critical publications in a torrent of comments in the form of spam, curses, vulgarity and libel.

The media are “honoured” with direct pressure only during election campaigns, when the authorities use a new type of weapon against them – the electoral law allowing any critical publication to be interpreted as one contributing to the “shaping of a negative public image” of a party or candidate. A certain “working group” used this trick against several media outlets in the run-up to the 4 December elections to the State Duma, accusing them of “creating a negative impression” about United Russia in people’s minds. A court of law turned down the working group’s legal claim as irrelevant at the time, but this and other similar forms of pressure – to disrupt a newspaper’s normal operation, or try to scare a journalist by potential payment of a fine – do attain the desired goal sometimes. News reports that fail to create an image or make an impression are non-existent; otherwise, they are not news reports. What we are witnessing today is the actual re-introduction of censorship – but in full accordance with effective legislation. It seems the authorities have only pilot-tested new forms of pressure on the media, and we are yet to feel their full effect during the forthcoming presidential campaign.

 

Police reform fails to change behaviour of Perm police

By Mikhail Lobanov, GDF correspondent in Volga Federal District

I as a victim of deliberate beating that resulted in grievous bodily harm inflicted on me have been compelled today to appeal to the FSB and prosecutor’s office for protection against the police which reacted in the pre-reform manner to my open letter to presidential candidate Vladimir Putin; the letter was published in the Perm-based newspaper Novy Kompanyon on 17 January.

In an article entitled “NO to Dirty Practices and Lies!” I told Col. Putin and the readers of a weekly enjoying a high degree of popularity in the Kama River Area about how the police has tried hard during the past 18 months to shield Sergey Pogor – the initiator of the violent attack on me, who happens to be son of Ivan Pogor, Inspector at Large with the Perm Region Internal Affairs Department – from criminal liability. Seven investigators have been assigned one after another to handle the case, but Pogor Jr. and his underage accomplice are still going unpunished for giving me crippling traumas on 24 June 2010.

In defiance of the effective judicial decision of 1 August 2011 by Perm’s Motovilikhinsky district court, the investigators have left without due legal effect my complaint about yet another unlawful action – the issuance of a falsified order for a forensic medical examination by Senior Investigator Olga Chadova, who wrote that “Mr. Lobanov, the victim, reported an attack not by two persons but by one underage youth”.

Even when one of the eyewitnesses acknowledged during a confrontation that I had been beaten by two attackers, not one, as he had earlier testified under pressure from Pogor Jr. and his accomplice, Senior Investigator Svetlana Konstantinova declined to issue a warrant for the arrest of the sole young man accused. That was easy to understand, though: she was afraid that, if placed behind bars, the juvenile delinquent might confess he had acted together with the police officer’s son.

But late on 17 January, right after the publication of my open letter to Putin, Konstantinova visited my lawyer, Dmitry Lobanov, at his home. She came again on 18 and 24 January, questioning neighbours about the private life of the lawyer and his family, which means she conducted investigation into the affairs of a special subject of criminal law, in respect of whom the police are entitled to act that way only on a mandate from the RF Investigative Committee.

In my 25 December complaints to regional FSB chief Anatoly Zayarny and Perm Region Prosecutor Alexander Belykh, I also reported the following episode. One day earlier, my lawyer Dmitry Lobanov had had a phone call from an unidentified man who had told him to come without delay to the Sverdlovsky district police station – allegedly to “learn some secret information”. Asked to send an official summons, as prescribed under the law, the unknown man hung up.

Should illegal drugs, live cartridges or explosives be suddenly found at my own or my lawyer’s home tomorrow, one needn’t be surprised. The Perm police know for sure what they are doing. The lies and falsifications practised by the old (pre-reform) police are as widespread as ever today.

This Digest has been prepared by the Glasnost Defence Foundation (GDF).

Digest released once a week, on Mondays, since August 11, 2000. Distributed by e-mail to 1,600 subscribers in and outside Russia.

Editor-in-chief: Alexei Simonov.

Editorial board: Boris Timoshenko  – Monitoring Service chief, Svetlana Zemskova  – lawyer, Vsevolod Shelkhovskoy  – translator.

 

We would appreciate reference to our organisation in the event of any Digest-sourced information or other materials being used.

Contacts: Glasnost Defence Foundation, 4, Zubovsky Boulevard, Office 432, 119992 Moscow, Russia.
Telephone/fax: (495) 637-4947, 637-4420, e-mail: boris@gdf.ru, fond@gdf.ru

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Архив
ФЗГ продолжает бороться за свое честное имя. Пройдя все необходимые инстанции отечественного правосудия, Фонд обратился в Европейский суд. Для обращения понадобилось вкратце оценить все, что Фонд сделал за 25 лет своего существования. Вот что у нас получилось:
Полезная деятельность Фонда защиты гласности за 25 лет его жизни