Russia’s Supreme Court has issued a final ruling that the presidential decree making secret information about military casualties in peace time is lawful.
Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.
The previous issue is here.
–The Non-Hybrid War
–Kashin Explains His âLetter to Leadersâ on âFontanka Officeâ
–TV Rain Interviews Volunteer Fighter Back from Donbass
–âI Was on Active Dutyâ: Interview with Captured GRU Officer Aleksandrov
These experts decided that Memorial was actively involved in “political activity,” and actively attempting to (translation by The Interpreter):
“form a negative public opinion about government policy, conducted by the highest agencies of the government, and also discredit the decisions of Russian authorities including judicial bodies.”
In the opinion of the leaders of this organization, the matter even reached the point of direct participation of Russian servicemen in combat activities on the territory of a foreign country — against the lawful government of a neighboring country. In the opinion of Memorial’s members, investigators and judges, having fabricated this case [Bolotnaya], have committed a miscarriage of justice.
The experts said that since the Bolotnaya defendants had “organized mass disorders, taken part in them, and called for mass disorders and violence against citizens,” then objecting to their sentencing was “an attempt to undermine the constitutional order.”
“This is an enormous blow for all those who work on preserving the memory of Soviet terror. The Memorial Research and Information Centre is one of the most effective NGOs that deals with this issue.”
On September 30, the same day that Russia began bombing in Syria, President Vladimir Putin ordered a monument be made to the victims of Stalin, a move that appeared to be an attempt to coopt the existing independent movement for such commemoration.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
Russians are still fuming about a cartoon made by the French Charlie Hebdo cartoonists that they felt was insensitive about the Metrojet crash.
The charge against the French cartoonists was led by Senator Valentina Petrenko from Khakasiya, a conservative member of the Duma’s Committee on Social Policy who chairs the Mothers of Russia organization, long the subject of Internet memes due to her shellacked perm.
Earlier, a campaign was launched on social media evidently with some official help called “Je NE Suis Charlie” (I am NOT Charlie) to counteract a campaign of solidarity begun last January when 12 cartoonists were killed by terrorists in their editorial office in Paris. The hashtag can be seen on numerous Twitter posts. Foreign minister spokesperson Maria Zakharova asked on her Facebook page, “Is anybody still Charlie?”
Petrenko held up a cartoon at the press conference lambasting the French cartoonists, with the caption, “Charlie Hebdo are monsters!” and “Hell for Charlie Hebdo.”
Translation: Details, if anyone wants.
While she implied her cartoon was home-made, Russian bloggers were quick to discover a similarity between the one Petrenko showed and one drawn in 2013 by Ukrainian satirist Yuriy Zhuravel about EuroMaidan, where he depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin and deposed president Viktor Yanukovych in a kettle with their associates, under which were the iconic burning tires of the Maidan protest and a demonstrator in a helmet holding up the Ukrainian Trident.
Translation: One of the pages of Karikadurka.
Karikadurka is a word made up from the Russian words “cartoon” and “fool” and is the name of Zhuravel’s web site.
Petrenko didn’t deny she wasn’t the cartoonist, but would not acknowledge the original artist (translation by The Interpreter):
“No, that’s not the artist who drew and supported EuroMaidan. There are too many kettles and hells in the world. It’s not important who the author is, I endorse any picture where there is a kettle and hell. Hell is prepared to welcome such people for such actions.”
A satirical account named “Putin’s Cat” had a response to Pavlenko’s knock-off:
Translation: Senator Petrenko could just as well not have shown the caricature of Charlie Hebdo, her own hair-do will instill horror in all of France.
Others picked up the joke:
Translation: Petrenko: I also painted this picture.
Petrenko continued to maintain that she wasn’t plagiarizing anyone:
Translation: The senator’s aide explained to me that “if an image is going around the Internet openly, it can be taken and used.”
The cartoonist Zhuravel finally heard about the scandal and had this response to a TV Rain reporter’s query as to whether he would sue (translation by The Interpreter):
“Honestly, I don’t know if there will be any result, because the use of my works in Russia is unconscionable…I know that there is toilet paper in Russia with the images of Yanukovych, Yatsenyuk or Poroshenko. I don’t know if our laws will reach Russia and they will made some sort of conclusion there. There, our people are sitting in prison for no reason, and here I’d be [complaining] about my copyright. There is little hope, but I think something may come of it. I am waiting for some sort of public apologies.”
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
He is charged with “vandalism motivated by political, ideological hatred or enmity.”
The judge rejected the appeal of Pavlensky’s lawyer Olga Chavdar that her client be released on bail of one million rubles ($15,500).
For Evgeny Feldman’s photo report of the trial, go here.
Radio Svaboda interviewed Pavlensky in the court room (in Russian).
Translation: Pavlensky is a genius. And the photo should be on the cover of a textbook, “History of Russia in the 21st Century”
As we reported, Pavlensky staged his protect action, which was described as a work of art similar to his past performances, on the night of November 9. He was quickly arrested, along with several journalists who covered the scene, who were later released.
Photo by Ilya Varlamov of Pavlensky standing before the flaming door quickly spread over social media.
As we indicated in our report, the decree signed by President Vladimir Putin in May was among legal and extra-legal methods used by the Kremlin to suppress reporting by journalists and activists on the deaths and injuries of Russian soldiers in combat in Ukraine.
The court rejected an appeal filed by a group of journalists and activists concerned about the suppression of news about Russia’s war in Ukraine.
They are Grigory Pasko, a journalist and former naval officer once jailed on charges of espionage for publicizing environmental problems in the Sea of Japan and declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International; Svetlana Davydova, a mother of seven charged with espionage for reporting to the Ukrainian Embassy that GRU troops near her home had left their barracks; Lev Shlosberg, a former deputy of the Pskov Region legislative assembly severely beaten by unknown assailants and removed from his seat for publicizing the deaths of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division; and also war correspondents Timur Olevsky of Ekho Moskvy and Arkady Babchenko and Pavel Kanygin of Novaya Gazeta.