Human Rights in Russia week-ending 26 November 2021 - on Memorial with Victoria Ivleva and Yury Samodurov

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This week our guests are Victoria Ivleva, photographer, journalist and writer, and Yury Samodurov, civic activist, publicist and co-founder of Memorial. Both Victoria and Yury were detained on 20 November on Pushkin Square in Moscow for participating in single-person protests against the closure of Memorial. Both were held in a police station for two days and then fined by a court.

This week’s podcast concerns the future of Memorial and the law on foreign agents, the freedoms of association, assembly and expression, the procedures for detaining protesters, the behaviour of police, the conditions in detention and the practices of courts in such cases.

The specific topics discussed in the podcast include: the authorities’ moves to close the International Memorial Society and the Memorial Human Rights Centre; protests; arrests; trials; conditions of detention; what will happen to Memorial; other impressions of events.

This podcast is in Russian. You can also listen to the podcast on our website or on SoundCloud, Podcasts.com, Spotify, iTunes and Anchor. The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.

Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: “One of the best things we managed to achieve during perestroika that has survived to this day is Memorial.” These words by Yury Samodurov were supported by Victoria Ivleva and marked the start of our latest podcast with two guests who had very recently left their place of detention. The Moscow police had charged the two human rights activists with organizing “a public mass event with more than 10 participants” and locked them in cells for two days as dangerous criminals. Their “crime” consisted of participating in single-person protest pickets in defence of Memorial. The fines the two were given differed in size: Victoria Ivleva (150,000 roubles) was fined an order of magnitude higher than Yury Samodurov (20,000 roubles). The conditions of detention at the police station were humiliating: no toilets in the cell, a ban on toothbrushes, disgusting food, and the rudeness of some uniformed officers who demanded that glasses, watches and boots (or at least the laces) all be removed, A sum covering both fines was collected very quickly after Ivleva and Samodurov were released. Public support, support from civil society, is as important in individual cases as in the defence of civil society organizations. Including Memorial.

Simon Cosgrove adds: ‘For further information about the past week in Russia, visit our website here.

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