[Vea las sistemáticas torturas practicadas en la cárceles de la dictadura de Vladimir Putin.
Learn about the systematic tortures practiced in the prisons the totalitarian regime of Putin]

News : Europe :: RUSSIA


The exemplary courage of a good man called Alexei Navalny to challenge the corrupt tyranny of Vladimir Putin

Putin's palace. History of world's largest bribe

...for more visit and The Anti-Corruption Foundation

Poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained on return to Moscow from Berlin

...more information in The Guardian - The Independent - Publico - BBC - Al Jazeera


Alexander Litvinenko murder: Kremlin ordered his assassination with a nuclear terrorist act in the UK – Putin named in report (a close partner of Juan Carlos I head of another mafia state)

... more in The Independent - The Guardian - The Telegraph - BBC - El Español - El Confidencial - El Mundo

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Pussy Riot release new protest song: 'prison is a weapon'
Punk collective takes on the Kremlin, corruption and the criminal justice system in satirical video

It has been a torrid few months for Russia’s embattled general prosecutor Yuri Chaika. In December he was the subject of a video made by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which accused his family of mafia ties and gross corruption.
Now he is on the receiving end of biting satire doled out by the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot.
The band’s latest pop video, released on Wednesday, is a black pastiche of Russia’s criminal justice system, featuring torture, hooded prisoners in nooses and a framed official portrait of the president, Vladimir Putin.

Pussy Riot in Conversation with Masha Gessen


Brave Russian opposition leader, Mr Alexey Navalny, uses closing remarks of embezzlement case against him to condemn Vladimir Putin's government.

Russia's top opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, has vowed to destroy the "feudal system of power" lorded over by Vladimir Putin during powerful closing remarks to a provincial court that could send him to prison for six years.
Blasting Putin's government for "occupying" power, pilfering the country of billions of dollars and leading Russia down a path of vodka-fuelled degradation, Navalny urged his followers not to be afraid as he awaits a likely jail sentence.
"My colleagues and I will do everything to destroy this feudal system that exists in Russia – this system of power where 83% of the national wealth belongs to 0.5% of the country," he said.

... more in The Guardian - The Independent - The Wall Street Journal

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Anger as Russian activist Alexei Navalny is sentenced to five years The conviction of Alexei Navalny on what was widely seen as a trumped up charge of embezzlement on Thursday has been attacked inside and outside Russia... [+]

Alexei Navalny sentenced to five years in prison: Protests expected in Moscow as Russian opposition leader is found guilty of embezzlement in trial seen as politically motivated ... [+]

Russian court jails opposition leader and Alexei Navalny for 5 years over embezzlement in 'politically motivated trial': The verdict will almost certainly stop him challenging Vladimir Putin for the presidency ... [+]

Russian protest leader jailed for five years: US and EU condemn embezzlement case against Alexei Navalny, a fierce Putin critic, as supporters march on jail... [+]

Repression dictatorial: Cinq ans de travaux forcés pour l'opposant russe Alexeï Navalny ... [+]

Sergei Magnitsky trial: Russia accused of 'travesty' over assassinated Human Rights lawyer

"Absurd" and "a travesty" are some of the words used to describe Russia's trial of the dead lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, set to open on Monday.
The European Parliament says the trial "is a violation of international and national laws and clearly shows the malfunctioning of the Russian criminal justice system".
The Russian interior ministry has accused Mr Magnitsky and the UK-based fund manager who employed him, Bill Browder, of tax evasion. Mr Browder will also be tried - but in absentia, because he believes his life would be in danger were he to return to Russia.
...There is a grisly medieval precedent for putting a dead man on trial - in 897 the then Pope, Stephen VII, held a trial of his predecessor, Formosus, whose body was dug up and propped up on a chair in the papal court.
US law professor Donald Wilkes, of the University of Georgia, has written that Stephen VII "screamed and raved, hurling insults at and mocking the rotting corpse" at what was dubbed "the Cadaver Synod".
Formosus was found guilty of violating Church law, but the macabre trial caused widespread anger in Rome and within months Pope Stephen VII was overthrown.
Under Russian law the death of the accused means the investigation ought to be stopped, retired Russian judge Tamara Morshchakova told the BBC's Daniel Sandford in Moscow. She formerly served in Russia's Constitutional Court.
Mr Magnitsky's death in prison while on remand in 2009 has become a cause celebre among critics of abuse in the Russian justice system.
... more in the BBC - AlJazeera - The Guardian - The Independent - The Telegraph - The Washington Post - Amnesty International

Visit also:
Justice for Sergei website

Putin's Russia convicts dead lawyer of tax evasion: Court delivers guilty verdict for whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, whose death caused a row with US... [+]

Orthodox corruption? backing the authoritarian regime of Putin

After decades of suppression, the Russian Orthodox Church appears to be back in favour with the country's leadership.

Less than three decades ago, it would have been unthinkable for a Russian premier to have exchanged public expressions of solidarity and goodwill with the head of the country's Orthodox Church.
For years under communism the institution had been suppressed, its priests harassed by the authorities, its churches closed or given over to communal secular pursuits, its devotees scorned for their 'superstitious' adherence to doctrines that the state and the party regarded with deep suspicion.
Indeed, the Soviet Union was the first nation to have elimination of religion as an ideological objective and tens of thousands - if not hundreds of thousands - of people paid very dearly for their beliefs as a consequence.
But things have changed. Nowadays the nation's political leaders and top clerics seem to be building an extraordinarily close relationship. Last week, President Vladimir Putin appeared with the Orthodox Church's Patriarch Kirill to celebrate the latter's fourth year of leadership of a religion that is re-establishing its traditional place at the centre of the country's affairs.
... more in People and Power by AlJazeera


The imprisonment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an innocent man, proves that the Russian regime is rotten to the core

Nine years ago today, Vladimir Putin’s regime arrested my father, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, on trumped-up, politically motivated charges. The Yukos oil company he led, then one of the largest in Russia, was subsequently destroyed, its assets expropriated through forced bankruptcy and rigged auctions.
Those assets were in the spotlight this week, as BP and Rosneft signed their multi-billion-dollar deal. As The Daily Telegraph’s business editor put it: “Rosneft itself is the product of assets appropriated – if stolen is too strong a word – from Yukos.”
My father’s continued imprisonment has had a lasting, damaging impact on Russia, politically and economically. And his prospects for freedom are intertwined with Russia’s current political climate.
Last December, Russians took to the streets to protest against their government – for the first time in two decades – following rigged parliamentary elections. The winter of ballot-stuffing melted into the spring of strong-arming the opposition ahead of March’s presidential election. The outgoing Dmitry Medvedev’s illusions of hope were swept aside by the returning Putin’s unmistakable severity. Pussy Riot punk rockers were locked up, bloggers bugged and any non-profit organisation accepting funds from abroad labelled a menacing “foreign agent”.
The centrepiece of Medvedev’s supposed pro-Democracy reforms, direct elections of regional governors, took place last month – but with the United Russia party’s trademark interference. The opposition activist Evgenia Chirikova was allowed to stand for mayor in Khimki, but her supporters were intimidated by Putin loyalists. A pro-Kremlin media outlet bizarrely suggested her association with the Institute of Modern Russia, of which I am the president, was a reason she lost.
...more in The Telegraph
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A leading anti-Vladimir Putin politician has been stripped of his mandate, in an unusual move critics said was revenge for his scathing criticism of the Kremlin... [+]

A Russian opposition activist claims that he was kidnapped by mysterious men in masks in Ukraine and tortured into confessing to a violent plot against the government... [+]

Khodorkovsky decries Pussy Riot trial

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s most famous prisoner, has attacked the trial of three female members of punk band Pussy Riot who protested against Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral, likening it to a medieval inquisition where conditions may be close to torture.
The three young women, Maria Alyokhina, 25, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, face jail sentences of between two and seven years on charges of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred after they performed a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral calling on the Virgin Mary to drive Mr Putin out of power.
Their trial in a cramped Moscow courtroom has provoked an outcry in Russia and abroad and has become a symbol of a new attack on freedoms since Mr Putin returned to the presidency, highlighting the absurdities of the legal system and the close ties between church and state. The proceedings have included witnesses for the prosecution who did not witness the alleged crime and a snarling rottweiler to bark at the women as they are led into their glass cage for trial.
Mr Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos oil tycoon who less than two years ago received a 14-year sentence on embezzlement charges, said the trial was “profaning ... Russia with its complete and utter lack of conscience”.
The women’s stunt, which upset many Orthodox believers, could be forgiven for its “youthful radicalism”, he said. But the trial itself showed “we have been deprived of an honest and independent judiciary, of the opportunity to defend ourselves and to protect people from lawlessness”, he wrote in a statement penned in the penal colony where he is serving out the remainder of his term.
Speaking from the experience of his nearly two-year trial in the same courtroom, Mr Khodorkovsky broke his silence on the brutal conditions that leave defendants trapped in the hot airless glass cage – known as the “aquarium” – with very little sleep and barely any nutrition during proceedings.
“In the summer you feel like a tropical fish in that glass cage – it is hot and the air from the air conditioner in the courtroom does not circulate through the glass,” he wrote. “I cannot even imagine how all three of those poor girls manage to fit in there all at once.”

...more in the Financial Times - AlJazeera
Read also:
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that two members of the Pussy Riot feminist opposition group should not have been given jail sentences for performing a "punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral... [+]

Putin's brutal police launch raids ahead of anti-Putin march:
Blogger Alexei Navalny and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov among those targeted

Armed police launched a series of raids on Monday on the homes of prominent opposition activists as Moscow braced itself for a mass street demonstration against President Vladimir Putin.
Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov, socialite and television presenter Ksenia Sobchak and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov were among those targeted.
"There is a search going on in my home," Navalny wrote on Twitter shortly after 8am local time. "They almost split the door in two."
Police also cordoned off Navalny's office, where the prolific campaigner runs his Anti-Corruption Fund and co-ordinates his exposés involving government bodies and large companies.

...more in The Guardian - AlJazeera - BBC - The Independent - The Telegraph
Read also:
Russians turn out in their many thousands to protest against Vladimir Putin: Opposition leaders summoned by authorities just hours before first big demonstration since president's inauguration ... [+]

La oposición rusa vuelve a desafiar a Putin con una marcha multitudinaria: Más de cien mil rusos secundan una protesta contra el Kremlin a pesar de los controles y el endurecimiento de las sanciones por manifestarse ... [+]

A vaste multitude of opponents to Putin tirany march in Moscow despite all sort of threats by the perverse regime ... [+]

Thousands in Moscow march against Putin: Protest against Vladimir Putin's return to Kremlin draws large numbers, a day after prominent activists were arrested... [+]

Ahijada de Putin y disidente, la estrella de la televisión Ksenia Sobchak, conocida como la ‘Paris Hilton’ rusa, se declara en rebeldía ... [+]

In search of Putin's money:
People & Power investigates claims that Russia's political supremo has amassed a secret multi-billion dollar fortune.

On March 4, 2012, Vladimir Putin was elected to serve as Russia's president for another six years, and he is set to take up office following his inauguration on May 7.
To his supporters, such as those we encountered celebrating at an election night government rally in Moscow, Putin is a hero, the strong man who brought order to Russia after the chaos of the Yeltsin years. They love his carefully cultivated image: the horse-riding, judo black-belted, stand-for-no-nonsense action man who has taken the country back to its rightful place on the world's stage.
But elsewhere in Moscow that night, under the watchful eye of state security and police, Putin's political opponents gathered to express their disapproval. Disappointed by the result after enjoying a surprising late surge in the anti-Putin camp in the weeks before the poll, many of them said that his years at the top of Russian politics had seen the country's reputation become synonymous with cronyism and corruption, and that with Putin at the helm inner cliques have been allowed to run Russia for their own benefit and personal gain.
Their language was far from diplomatic. "Putin, thief!" they chanted and promised to return to the streets in the weeks and months ahead.
Such abuse may not bother Russia's president-elect very much - after all he has just been returned to power - but it does reflect wider rumours about Vladimir Putin's personal finances, business dealings and his relationship with some of the richest and most powerful businessmen in the land; the oligarchs who run its major companies and have accumulated fabulous wealth as a result.
Stories about the extent to which Putin may have personally benefited from these friendships and his years in office have been the currency of international and diplomatic gossip for years, fuelled by claims made by exiled political opponents about vast multi-billion dollar fortunes in offshore bank accounts. They even surfaced on WikiLeaks on 2010 when a quarter of a million secret memos from American diplomats were published on the internet. In one of them, Condoleezza Rice, the former US secretary of state, quotes a Russian opposition figure as saying that "Vladimir Putin is nervously trying to secure his future immunity from potential law enforcement investigations into his alleged illicit proceeds".
So is there any substance to these stories? Is Putin the modest 'man of the people' as his supporters declare - a leader who eschews wealth and privilege, as honest as the day is long? Or is he the owner of a vast but secret fortune and at the centre of a web of intrigue and financial wheeler-dealing as his critics allege?
For this edition of People & Power, reporter Sarah Spiller and a team from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism set off to find out. In a journey that takes them from central Moscow to a judo club in St Petersburg, from country 'dachas' to a mysterious palace on the shores of the Black Sea, they assemble an intriguing story of an enigmatic leader who enjoys a lavish lifestyle somewhat at odds with his official public persona.

...more in AlJazeera

Dmitry Medvedev says he and Vladimir Putin to rule Russia for 'long time': Russia's outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday said his job swap with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will assure a continuity of power that lasts "a long time" despite anger on the street... [+]

Vladimir Putin's return to presidency preceded by violent protests in Moscow: More than 250 people detained, including protest movement leaders, in 'March of Millions' against inauguration ... [+]

La Russie face au scandale des tortures policières
The systematic abuse of power and torture by Putin's police

A spokesman for investigators in Tatarstan said a probe into the incident was currently under way, saying Nazarov’s relatives insisted he was raped while in custody.
Dmitry Kolbasin, head of the Agora inter-regional rights organisation, said the man had told his family about his ordeal before his death.
He “managed to say before he died that police officers in the Dalny police department had raped him with a champagne bottle,” Kolbasin wrote on his page on LiveJournal.
Police claimed that Nazarov was drunk at the moment of his arrest while his brother-in-law Shamil told the Interfax news agency he was sober and was detained on his way to a shop.

...more in Le Monde - Gazeta - The Moscow Times - Radio Free Europe - Vanguard - Deutsch Russische Nachrichten - Agora

Putin's carousel arrives in town
The battle to come will be over the cheating that went on

There was never any question that Vladimir Putin would win a third term as president. An All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre poll back in mid February put Putin on 53.5%, already an outright first round win and 42 points ahead of his nearest rival, the communist leader Gennady Zyuganov. So last night's initial exit poll figures giving him around 59%, did not look wildly out of line. The real issues are how he won, and where he lost.
Hours before the first results, the opposition leader Alexei Navalny called the violations that had taken place yesterday irrefutable, and a Moscow Times photographer snapped a busload of hired hands moving from one polling station to another in the Kurkino district of northwest Moscow, evidence of the so-called voting carousel. The bussing in of Putin supporters to the capital, to boost his vote in a city that would have humiliated him had it been left to vote freely, was so extensive and so blatant that one member of the nationalist pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi admitted to our reporter that he had been transported to the city just to vote. Navalny's claims of widespread election fraud were soon followed by the communist party, who said that they could not consider the elections free or fair after the volume of complaints they had received.
The battle that will unfold over the next 24 hours will be less over the fact that Putin got re-elected as president than it will be over the cheating that went on. The national result will radicalise his opponents less effectively than the local one. The gap between the official result in Moscow and St Petersburg, and what Muscovites and Peterburgers know to be true in their own city districts, is what will fuel the demonstrations due to take place today. Having already had one vote stolen from them in December, this will feel like a second slap in the face.
...more in The Telegraph - The Guardian - BBC - Al Jazeera - El Mundo - Publico - La Repubblica

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Russia, le webcam catturano voti multipli...
Hundreds detained after Moscow anti-Putin protest - live updates
• Opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny among those detained by riot police at rally
• International observers say 'serious problems' with vote
• Putin wins just under 64% of vote...
Thousands rally against Putin's poll victory: Arrests of protesters reported in Moscow and Saint Petersburg a day after presidential vote criticised by observers...
How a mysterious change to voting tallies boosted Putin at St Petersburg polling station: a citizen observer reports Election monitors across Russia reported alleged vote fixing in the presidential poll. Irina Levinskaya, a St Petersburg historian, gives her eye-witness account of how she saw it happen...
The beginning of the end of Putin: Vladimir Putin will once again become Russia’s president. Even so, his time is running out...

Thousands of Russians hold hands against Vladimir Putin: 'the godfather of a mafia clan'

...In the four years that Medvedev has served as president he has been not so much matryoshka doll as puppet, in the shadow of Putin, nominally his prime minister, but the man who by iron rule has shaped Russia in his image over the past 12 years – the matryoshka doll in whom all Russia is contained.
It is a position that Putin has consolidated with a mixture of canniness and ruthlessness, and which he shows no sign of relinquishing. On March 4, having arranged with Medvedev to effectively change places, Putin will once again run in the election for the post of president. With opposition virtually non-existent, nobody expects him to lose. Having extended the presidential term from four to six years, Putin could occupy the post until 2024, making him the longest-lasting leader since Stalin.

Many of the protesters who stood in a long line around the 10-mile Moscow Garden Ring Road, wore the white ribbons that symbolise the biggest opposition protests since Vladimir Putin rose to power 12 years ago.
The mood was festive as the people forming the ring, many of them dressed in white scarves, waved at cars passing by. Many vehicles hooted in support and some of the protesters chanted: "Russia without Putin".
Mr Putin is all but certain to win the presidential election on March 4 but the growing protests have highlighted demands for greater democracy and openness from mainly urban voters fed up with widespread corruption and one-man rule.
Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said the crowd, peopled by many in the middle class who have benefited from the stability of Mr Putin's rule, represented a scary prospect for authorities.
"The authorities are scared of the peaceful and proud people. The authorities are afraid of the people they can't buy. The authorities love flunkies, cynics and people who are for sale, and those who stand there proudly and not afraid of anything, they are death for the authorities. So that is why the more we are, the faster we will get rid of those thieves and swindlers," Mr Nemtsov said.
...more in The Telegraph - The Independent - The Guardian

Read also:
Russia: a gangster state: Vladimir Putin is locked into the corrupt system he has created in his country...
Will Vladimir Putin's voting chances be hurt by 'cloistered wife' rumours?: Lyudmila Putina's absence from her husband's side has fed speculation that she has been hidden away in a monastery...
Mikhail Khodorkovsky says Russians want change: the jailed oligarch who was once Russia's richest man, has said the country's citizens no longer accept Moscow's "managed democracy" and will demand change at next week's presidential election...

Vladimir Putin 'on trial for state terrorism' in internet viral – video

The video, which has had more than 2m views on YouTube, shows the Russian prime minister in a courtroom cage in what seems to be a real trial. The cleverly edited video is actually the trial of the oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, with Putin's face superimposed on Khodorkovsky's. The fake video comes weeks before Russian presidential elections in which Putin is standing

...The minute-long video appears on first glance to show a packed courtroom with Mr Putin standing in the cage-like enclosure for defendants, with his head bowed, facing trial on charges of theft and terrorism.
But in fact the footage is a neat collage of shots from the trial of Mr Putin's arch foe, toppled oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, with the premier's face superimposed on Mr Khodorkovsky's much taller frame.
The video – which has garnered almost 2 million views on YouTube – has gone viral just over two weeks ahead of March 4 presidential elections where Mr Putin is seeking a historic third Kremlin term in the face of protests.
"The former prime minister was brought to the Khamovnichesky court about half-an-hour ago" says the voice-over, which is based on state television coverage of the second Khodorkovsky trial.
Mr Khodorkovsky was jailed for tax evasion and then convicted of fraud in a second trial in a Moscow court in late 2010. He is set to stay in jail until 2016.
...more in The Telegraph - The Guardian

The BBC’s distortion of the truth helps Putin suppress his critics
A revealing documentary - 'Putin, Russia and the West' - is all very well, but it should not be playing into the hands of a tyrant.

...Fifty years later, a second disaster struck – arguably more damaging in the long run – thanks to the free and easy relationship between MI6 and New Labour.
Tony Blair would talk publicly about intelligence briefings in a way that no prime minister had done before, making lurid claims about what he was being told by the intelligence services. Meanwhile, intelligence gathering lost its rigour, becoming partisan and politicised. The most shocking case remains the notorious dossier concerning Saddam Hussein’s so-called weapons of mass destruction, presented to Parliament in September 2002, which turned out to be extremely badly sourced.
But it is still not widely understood that this disgraceful episode reflected a wider culture of slackness.
...On another occasion, in order to deflect attention from some ministerial scandal, the No 10 press office informed journalists that MI6 was investigating Chris Patten, now chairman of the BBC, for breach of the Official Secrets Act. This was completely untrue.
So last week’s sensational disclosure by Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s Downing Street chief of staff, that our spies used a fake rock filled with surveillance devices as a means of communication with their agents in Moscow (who the Russians claimed were posing as human rights campaigners) falls into a familiar pattern of New Labour indiscretion.
But Powell’s remarks, made in a four-part BBC documentary, Putin, Russia and the West, are a propaganda gift for Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin is determined to show that his critics are unpatriotic agents for the West. Powell’s indiscretion could not have been more helpful or better timed, just as the 2012 Russian presidential election campaign gets fully underway. He may have thought he was making an innocent, throwaway remark, but the brutal truth is that lapses like this can have deadly consequences.

Perhaps it is simply a coincidence that on January 19, the day that the BBC sent out a press release flagging up the comments, Alexander Kalashnikov, a senior figure in the FSB (the successor to the KGB), issued a vicious public attack on what he called “extremist organisations”, allegedly funded and directed from the West, which he accused of undermining Russia.
He named two of the most famous human rights organisations: Memorial (which honours the memory of victims of political terror during the Soviet era) and, more importantly, Golos, Russia’s only independent elections watchdog, which may play a key role in monitoring the presidential elections on March 4. Since then, Golos has been harassed, and threatened with eviction from its offices.
But it is certainly no coincidence that, three days after the BBC press release, a programme ran on prime-time Russian state TV, in which Powell’s indiscretion was used to make a full-frontal attack on some of the most respected independent critics of the regime.
The presenter, a Kremlin apologist called Arkady Mamontov, was clever. He exploited the fact that when the story about the rock first became public in 2006, many opponents of the regime were convinced by the official British denials that MI6 was involved. In particular, two of Putin’s most courageous critics, the radio presenter Yulia Latynina and the journalist Sergei Parkhomenko, were overtly sceptical of the Russian authorities’ accusations.
Now, thanks to Powell, their scepticism is being thrown back in their faces. One of Mamontov’s guests on the programme asserted that their claims to moral authority had been destroyed and that they were totally discredited.
Powell’s thoughtlessness is one thing. Of equal concern, however, is the documentary series in which Powell’s remarks appeared, the third part of which is screened tonight. This BBC series makes for utterly compelling current affairs television, is beautifully crafted and full of fresh and revealing testimony. I strongly advocate watching it. the complete excellent article by Peter Osborne in The Telegraph .
Watch the 4 documentary serie in the BBC

Also remember the long list of jurnalist murdered by Russia tyrants
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'White ring' protest held against Putin: Russians decked their cars out with white ribbons and balloons to show opposition to the PM's possible re-election...
Vladimir Putin's time as leader has passed, according to Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia's third richest man, who is running for president next month.
Russian activists unveil anti-Putin banner opposite Kremlin Opponents of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin erected a huge banner reading "Putin, go away" on a rooftop facing the Kremlin on Wednesday in a bold display of disapproval of his plan to return to the presidency in an election next month.
Putin has exhausted his potential, says Gorbachev
Russian youth group accused of paying journalists to lionise Vladimir Putin: A youth political group with close ties to the Kremlin has been accused of paying out hundreds of thousands of pounds to Russian journalists to burnish the image of Vladimir Putin and smear the reputations of pro-democracy activists...

And watch: 'Vlad's army' : Unreported World reveals the huge personality cult around Vladimir Putin as it follows the extraordinary actions of the mass youth movement -similar to Hitler's youth or Peron's youth- dedicated to protecting the interests of the Prime Minister ...


Vladimir Putin's persecution campaign targets protest couple
Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov has gone on hunger strike in a Moscow prison as his wife Anastasiya carries on organising the pro-democracy campaign

It is 10am and the tatty apartment blocks of southern Moscow are still shrouded in winter darkness as a slender young woman hurries towards the metro.
Black-haired, in jeans and a thin leather jacket, this is Anastasiya Udaltsova, one of the leaders of the civil protests that have swept across Russia, bringing tens of thousands of demonstrators on to the streets to express their disgust at rigged elections earlier this month.
Udaltsova, 33, is rushing to meet friends to drum up support for a new rally that will take place in Moscow on Saturday. She and the other organisers – including the hugely popular anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and the veteran oppositionist Boris Nemtsov – are now exposed to the full hostile glare of the state.
Her husband, also a protest leader, is in jail and has embarked on a hunger strike in protest at the allegedly trumped-up charges, while Udaltsova is left alone to care for their two children.

...more in The Guardian -
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Truth is being murdered in Putin's bloody Russia: Another journalist is brutally killed for daring to expose the corruption and organised crime that is at least tolerated by Moscow's elite...

Russian oil rig capsizes
Four confirmed dead, with 49 missing in Sea of Okhotsk after platform being towed in stormy conditions collapses

Rescue workers are searching for 49 men in freezing, remote waters off Russia's east coast after their oil rig capsized and sank amid fierce storms on Sunday.
By nightfall, four men had been confirmed dead and 14 others had been plucked alive from the icy waters by the ship that had been towing the Kolskaya drilling platform. But the search for the remaining men was hampered by freezing temperatures, a driving blizzard and strong winds.
Dmitry Dmitriyenko, governor of the Murmansk region in Russia's north-west where 33 of the men come from, urged friends and families not to lose hope, but admitted the chance of the men surviving in the 1C (33.8F) water is approaching zero.
"This is a terrible disaster which took the crew unawares," he said in a statement. "But there is still a chance."
The emergencies ministry said that 67 people had been aboard the platform as it was being towed about 120 miles (200km) off the coast of Sakhalin, a large island just north of Japan in the Sea of Okhotsk that until the late 19th century had been the Russian empire's most remote penal colony.
Of the 67 people aboard, 53 were crew members and 14 were workers and support staff, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

...more in The Guardian - The Telegraph

Gorbachev calls for Russian elections to be declared void
Former Soviet president says Kremlin must send people to the polls again or face long-term unrest over alleged voting fraud

Russian authorities should annul the parliamentary vote results and hold a new election, the ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has urged, as popular indignation grows over alleged election fraud.

Thousands of Russians have rallied in Moscow and St Petersburg in the past two days, facing off against tens of thousands of police and interior ministry troops. Hundreds of protesters have been detained in both cities.
Gorbachev told the Interfax news agency that authorities must hold a fresh election or deal with a rising tide of discontent.
Vladimir Putin's United Russia party won less than 50% of Sunday's vote, a steep fall from its earlier two-thirds majority, according to preliminary results. But opposition parties and international observers said the vote was marred by vote-rigging, including alleged ballot-box stuffing and false voter rolls.
"More and more people are starting to believe that the election results are not fair," he told Interfax. "I believe that ignoring public opinion discredits the authorities and destabilises the situation."
Gorbachev added that authorities "must admit that there have been numerous falsifications and ballot stuffing".
Sunday's parliamentary vote suggested Russians are tiring of Putin and his United Russia party, which has dominated all other political forces in the country for a dozen years and earned a reputation for corruption.
Putin, meanwhile, officially registered on Wednesday to run for the presidency in March, but the unusually sustained protests of the past two days suggested his drive to retake the job he held from 2000-2008 may not go as smoothly as he had expected.

...more in The Guardian - Al Jazeera - BBC - The Independent - El Mundo - France 24 - La Repubblica - Die Spiegel
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Vladimir Putin's popularity drops: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's approval rating has dropped to its lowest level of the year in the first opinion poll published since his ruling party suffered an election setback and he faced the biggest protests of his 12-year rule...

Investigative journalist - Mr Gadzhimurat Kamalov - shot dead in Russian province:
The founder of newspaper Chernovik that investigated government corruption has been shot dead in Dagestan...

Violations reported in Russia polls
Opposition and observers report poll irregularities to boost ruling Putin (United Russia) party, however it lost almost 100 seats in the Duma.

Opposition politicians and election monitors have alleged extensive elections violations during voting in Russia's parliamentary polls, as preliminary tallies indicate a decline from 315 to 220 in the ruling party's seats.

United Russia took 48.5 per cent of the votes, down from 64 per cent in 2007. And the Communists came in second with around 20 per cent.
Several parties on Sunday complained of irregularities aimed at boosting United Russia's vote count, including intimidation of voters.
In Vladivostok in the east, voters complained to police that United Russia was offering free food in exchange for promises to vote for the party.
Turnout was low in many areas was lower Sunday compared to the previous election.
The vote is seen as an important test of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's popularity, just three months before he is due to stand in presidential elections.
His United Russia party is expected to win Sunday's polls but could lose its constitutional majority and end up having to share power in parliament with their political rivals.
Only seven parties have been allowed to field candidates for parliament this year, while the most vocal opposition groups have been denied registration and barred from campaigning.
Al Jazeera's Neave Barker, reporting from Moscow, said: "The country's only independent election observer called Golos reported that more than 5,000 irregularities have been recorded, many of them connected with people pressured to vote mainly for the country's biggest and most powerful party, United Russia".

...more in Al Jazeera - The Guardian - BBC - France 24 - El Mundo - La Repubblica - Die Spiegel

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A rich man's game: Why is Russia’s third-wealthiest man entering politics?

Sergei Magnitsky's mother vows to continue fight for justice in Russia
Two years after the Russian whistleblower died in custody, Natalia Magnitskaya says many people were behind his death

Natalia Magnitskaya speaks in whispers, her tired eyes looking down at fingers that twist and turn from anxiety. She barely slept last night, as with most nights in the two years since her son died within the walls of one of Russia's most notorious prisons.
Sergei Magnitsky was 37 when he died in November 2009 of multiple ailments he developed after being arrested a year earlier. The charges against him, of fraud and tax evasion, were designed to pressure the young lawyer into backing off on an investigation into an alleged attempt by corrupt state officials to steal $230m (£143m) in fake tax refunds, his supporters say.
Since then, Magnitsky's case has come to symbolise all that is wrong with Russian justice – the horrific pre-trial prison conditions, the aimless investigations, the impunity under which government officials function, and, above all, the fact that no one is immune from being caught up in its Kafkaesque web.
"It's hard to talk about it," Magnitskaya said, fitting a small flowered scarf round her shoulders as she sat down to her first interview with a western newspaper. "He wasn't a businessman. He wasn't a rich person. He worked and that's it."
Magnitskaya, 59, was living in her hometown of Nalchik, in Russia's troubled Caucasus region, when her only son was brought to Moscow's infamous Matrosskaya Tishina prison in November 2008. "I kept calling and calling," she said, explaining how she got news of his arrest. "His wife said he was on a business trip, then that there was something wrong with his phone. They thought it would end quickly."
It didn't. Finally, she was informed of his arrest and moved to Moscow to be nearer to him.

...more in The Guardian - Al Jazeera - BBC - France 24 - The Telegraph - The Independent

Who killed Natacha?

Who Killed Natasha? explores the murder of journalist and “Memorial” human rights defender Natalia Estemirova. In July 2009, hours after she was abducted from her home, her body was discovered by the side of the road. The filmmaker travels to Chechnya, Russia and England investigating the pattern of silencing dissident voices that speak out against the human rights violations in Chechnya and Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov. The film premiered at the Geneva International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in March 2011 where it won the Grand Award of the World Organization Against Torture.

...more in the web of The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Khodorkovsky, the political prisoner of Putin

Mikhail Gorbachev lambasts Vladimir Putin's 'sham' democracy

Russia under prime minister Vladimir Putin is a sham democracy, Mikhail Gorbachev has said in his harshest criticism yet of the ruling regime.
"We have everything – a parliament, courts, a president, a prime minister and so on. But it's more of an imitation," the last president of the Soviet Union said.
Gorbachev, who oversaw the , has become increasingly critical of the modern Russian state, accusing its leaders of rolling back the democratic reforms of the 1990s.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of his 80th birthday, Gorbachev criticised Putin for manipulating elections.
In response to the prime minister and former president's comments that he and his protégé, President Dmitry Medvedev, would decide between them who would run for office in March 2012, Gorbachev said: "It's not Putin's business. It must be decided by the nation in elections."
He called Putin's statements a sign of "incredible conceit".
Asked how he thought the regime approached human rights, Gorbachev said: "There's a problem there. It's a sign of the state of our democracy." He was echoing statements made by Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, during a visit to Russia last week.
Gorbachev said United Russia, the ruling party founded with the sole goal of supporting Putin's leadership, was a throwback.
"United Russia reminds me of the worst copy of the Communist party," he said. "We have institutions but they don't work. We have laws but they must be enforced."

...more in The Guardian - BBC
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Mijaíl Gorbachov pide elecciones honestas y una renovación política: El ex presidente de la Unión Soviética acusa a los líderes rusos de practicar una política de "retroceso" ...
Mikhail Gorbachev: Twenty years after the coup that ended his stint as Soviet leader, Gorbachev muses on what he would have done differently ...and denounces that Putin is blocking Russia's progress towards becoming a modernised democracy ...
Mikhail Gorbachev has accused Vladimir Putin of "castrating" Russia's electoral system and said he should not seek re-election as president.

Boris Nemtsov: The Current Political Situation in Russia and Perspective for the Future

11.17.2010, Harriman Institute (Columbia University), New York City, USA.
The Harriman Institute at Columbia University is the oldest academic institution in the United States devoted to the study of the countries of the former Soviet Union, East Central Europe and the Balkans.
Boris Nemtsov (b. 1959) is a leader of the Russian democratic opposition and a former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia.
He was born in Sochi, graduated from Gorky State University and received his Ph.D. in physics.
In 1990 Boris Nemtsov was elected to Parliament as a candidate for the anti-communist "Democratic Russia" movement.
Between 1991 and 1997 Nemtsov served as Governor of Nizhny Novgorod region, where he earned the reputation of a successful free market reformer. He was re-elected as Governor in 1995 with 58 per cent of the vote.
In 1997 President Boris Yeltsin appointed Nemtsov as First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia - a post he occupied until 1998 (in 1997 simultaneously serving as Oil and Energy Minister).
In 1999 Nemtsov became one of the leaders of the "Union of Rightist Forces" party and was once again elected to Parliament. He served as Deputy Speaker of Parliament in 2000 and as leader of the "Union of Rightist Forces" from 2000 to 2004.
In 2004 he actively participated in the Ukrainian "Orange Revolution" and after its success became an advisor to President Viktor Yushchenko (2005-2006).
Nemtsov was nominated by the "Union of Rightist Forces" as its candidate in the 2008 presidential election, but pulled out, citing the lack of conditions for a free and fair vote.
In December 2008 he became one of the leaders of "Solidarity", a new pro-democracy opposition movement which also includes Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Bukovsky, Lev Ponomarev and other prominent figures.
In April 2009 Nemtsov ran for Mayor of Sochi, host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, coming second out of six candidates and establishing the pro-democracy "Solidarity" as the second force in Russian politics, ahead of the Communist Party and Vladimir Zhirinovsky's LDPR.

...more in The Harriman Institute

Mikhail Khodorkovsky verdict ordered from above (Vladimir Putin), reveals courageous judge's assistant.

Natalya Vasilyeva says oil tycoon and Kremlin critic found guilty of theft and money laundering by judge who did not try case.
The guilty verdict against the oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky was ordered from above and written by a judge who did not try the case, a Russian court official who worked on the recent trial has said.
Natalya Vasilyeva, in an interview she claimed was certain to spell the end of her career, said: "I can say that all of legal society understands perfectly well that this is a made-to-order case, a made-to-order trial."
Vasilyeva was assistant to Viktor Danilkin, the judge who in December found Khodorkovsky guilty of theft and money laundering in the second case against the billionaire, who has been in jail on fraud charges since 2003.
The tycoon's lawyers and supporters have repeatedly denounced the trial as a farce, alleging that Danilkin – who extended the prison sentence until 2017 – had been put under pressure by the Kremlin.
Vasilyeva's interview – published in, a respected liberal online news portal, and shown on TV Rain, a cable channel said to be close to the liberal circle around President Dmitry Medvedev – marks the first time someone from the court that tried the case has spoken out against the trial.
Vasilyeva said Danilkin was required to seek approval for every step he made during the 20-month trial with the Moscow city court. That included the writing of the verdict, which was initially set to be handed down on 15 December.
"Danilkin began to write the verdict," Vasilyeva said. "I suspect that what was in the verdict didn't suit the higher authorities. And that's why he got a different sentence, which he then had to read out."
"That the sentence was brought from the Moscow city court, I know for absolute certain," she added.
The reading of the verdict was delayed until 27 December so higher court authorities could write the new verdict, she said.
Danilkin was summoned to the Moscow city court on 25 December and when he returned to his courthouse looked "very stressed," Vasilieva said, citing people who saw him that day. "He might have been physically ill and was clearly very depressed," she said, noting he had earlier shown signs of developing heart trouble.
She said Danilkin had become a changed man after the reading of the verdict. "He's become withdrawn, he's depressed and just sad." ..."I wanted people to understand that a lot of what is told to them is cleaned up and fixed up and doesn't always correspond to reality."
Critics of the Kremlin have held up the case against Khodorkovsky as a prime example of Russia's corrupt legal system. Medvedev, a former lawyer, has vowed to reform it but has taken few concrete steps to do so.
Khodorkovsky's supporters insist the case against him was orchestrated by Vladimir Putin, now prime minister. They have appealed the latest verdict. State prosecutors have hinted that they might seek a third set of charges against Khodorkovsky, which would extend his sentence even further.
Yet in recent weeks, Medvedev has ordered his human rights council, an advisory body, to look into several high-profile cases, including the one against the jailed oil tycoon.
Some analysts have posited a split between the circles surrounding Medvedev and Putin as Russia gears up for a presidential election early next year.
Yury Schmidt, one of Khodorkovsky's lawyers, welcomed the interview. "This is a woman speaking the truth," he said. "I don't see any other reasons for it."
...more in The Guardian / And in Khodorkovsky & Lebedev Communications Center
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'Khodorkovsky' – the unexpected Berlin film festival hit...

The long evil hand of Putin: Khodorkovsky film vanishes again days before its world premiere at the Belinale

German director Tuschi says crew were harassed in Russia. The final edit of a documentary about jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been stolen from the director's office in Berlin, just days before its world premiere.
In what police described as a "very professional break-in", four computers containing the last cut of the film, titled simply Khodorkovsky, were removed from Cyril Tuschi's premises.
The documentary was due to be premiered at the Berlin film festival next week (on Monday 14 February).
Khodorkovsky, a fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was once his country's richest man but has been in jail on fraud charges since 2005 after falling foul of the Kremlin.
Although police have no leads in the case, there is suspicion that the theft is politically motivated and forms part of a Russian campaign against its critics.
"It's like being in a bad thriller," Tuschi told the Süddeutschezeitung. "Someone is trying to scare me and I must admit that they are succeeding."
This is the second time the film has been stolen. A few weeks ago, when Tuschi went to work on the final edit in Bali, his hotel room was broken into and his computer hard drive taken, according to his PR agency.
Now Tuschi has moved out of his Berlin flat and is staying with friends after being warned that he should seek protection.
Asked whether he believed the latest theft was an attempt at intimidation by agents of Putin, Tuschi said: "I don't know – but it would be a huge coincidence given that the material was stolen right at the end of production."
...more in The Guardian / And in the Lantos Foundation /
Watch the trailer of the film Vlast (Power) on the malicious arrest and trial of Mr. Khodorkovsky

Le prisonnier du Kremlin: Mikhaïl Khodorkovsky

Le 19 février 2003, sous l'oeil des caméras, et devant le gotha des hommes d'affaires russes réuni autour du président Poutine, le plus jeune milliardaire du pays, Mikhaïl Khodorkovsky, PDG du groupe pétrolier Yukos, pourfend la corruption qui gangrène la Russie à son sommet. Il accuse nommément des hauts fonctionnaires proches du chef de l'État. L'ambiance est électrique, la réponse du président cinglante et ironique. À 40 ans, Khodorkovsky est alors l'homme le plus riche de Russie. Il ne le restera pas longtemps : huit mois plus tard, il est arrêté, puis condamné à huit ans de prison pour fraude fiscale, une peine qu'il purge en Sibérie. Démantelé, son empire tombe pour l'essentiel dans l'escarcelle de l'État, par l'intermédiaire de la compagnie Rosneft. Aujourd'hui, les journalistes, aux ordres, ne mentionnent même plus le nom de Yukos.

Khodorkovski, le prisonnier du kremlin (partie 1) by Nzwamba

Khodorkovski, le prisonnier du kremlin (partie 2) by Nzwamba dans ARTE Tv / Et dans la web Khodorkovsky & Lebedev Communications Center


Germany launches inquiry into 'poisoning' of ex-KGB agent and his wife, both critics of Putin's tyranny

German state prosecutors yesterday said they had opened a preliminary investigation to establish whether a dissident former Russian KGB Colonel and his wife who emigrated to Berlin three months ago had been poisoned.
The inquiry followed recent reports in the German weekly magazine Focus which said that doctors had discovered dangerously high levels of mercury in the blood of the two emigrés after they arrived in Germany from Russia.
"An investigation has been opened. It is being carried out by a department dealing with politically motivated crimes," a spokesman for the public prosecutors' office in the German capital said.
Focus reported earlier this month that doctors had detected abnormally high mercury levels in the blood of Viktor Kalashnikov, a former colonel in the Soviet KGB, and in his historian wife, Marina Kalashnikov.
Both were said to have suffered serious health problems, with Marina losing half of her hair and Viktor suffering considerable weight loss. Medical experts have recommended that the couple undergo further tests and that their health should be monitored closely, the magazine said.
Mr Kalashnikov is reported to be convinced that the Kremlin is responsible for the couple's health problems. In an interview with Focus, he told the magazine: "Moscow poisoned us."
...more in The Independent - Telegraph

Khodorkovsky trial to deliver verdict on Russian politics
Tycoon hated by Putin faces 14 more years in jail for ludricous allegations made up Putin himself.

The trial of Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky shows the Kremlin preserves a "cynical system where political enemies are eliminated with impunity", US diplomats say in classified cables released by WikiLeaks today.
Attempts by the Russian government to demonstrate the rule of law is being respected during Khodorkovsky's prosecution are "lipstick on a political pig", says a communique to Washington from the US embassy in Moscow in December 2009.

Khodorkovsky, 47, an oil tycoon who was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to eight years in jail for fraud two years later, will appear in court in Moscow today to hear the verdict in his second trial on embezzlement charges. Supporters of the man once Russia's richest say the Kremlin ordered the prosecutions in revenge for his funding of opposition parties.

Khodorkovsky could get up to six more years in jail at the end of his current sentence in October next year, if convicted. His business partner, Platon Lebedev, faces the same punishment.
While US officials have already publicly criticised the trial, which began in March last year, the baldness of the language in the secret cables is striking.
Writing to Washington in December last year, a political officer in the US embassy in Moscow noted that one international legal expert believes the trial judge is trying to give Khodorkovsky's defence lawyers a chance. However, in a withering assessment, the officer adds: "The fact that legal procedures are apparently being meticulously followed in a case whose motivation is clearly political may appear paradoxical.
"It shows the effort that the GOR [government of Russia] is willing to expend in order to save face, in this case by applying a superficial rule-of-law gloss to a cynical system where political enemies are eliminated with impunity."

...more in The Guardian - The Independent - BBC - France 24 - ABC - El País - El Mundo - La Repubblica - Al Jazeera
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Vladimir Putin bolsters personality cult
More information in the webs: Khodorkovsky & Lebedev Communications Center - Committee to Free Mikhail Khodorkovsky & Platon Lebedev - Amnesty International

by Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Russia's most famous prisoner about premier Vladimir Putin's Questions & Answers session.
The recent Q&A session of our "national leader" was difficult to endure. When everyone knows what is happening in the country even from the media, the feeling that the powers-that-be treat the rest of the country as fools was inescapable. And yet, initial frustration soon gave way to a different feeling. I suddenly realized that I was sorry for this man - not young anymore, but brisk and horribly lonely in the face of a vast and unsympathetic country. It was clear that he could no longer disassociate himself from the establishment, one that was cynically indifferent towards everything but itself. Nobody argued or challenged the leader during the Q&A session. Even so, it was not us that he was trying to persuade. He was persuading himself. That he was always right, that he was in charge. Being smart, however, Putin must have known better. He castigated the opposition which he said would pilfer all of the country if and when given half a chance but he probably thought at the same time that it was during his reign that corruption had soared and made bureaucrats Russia's wealthiest residents. He probably recalled the words of his financier Kudrin that there was no way of investing oil and gas revenues in the national economy so that they would improve things enormously because the so called power vertical was there and waiting to embezzle everything that came within reach. It was his power vertical, Putin's, that the financier had been talking about. At one moment, he would even say that "... when the system does not work, it is surely wrong just to sit tight and do nothing. Better manual control than nothing at all." There was then an inevitable question about Manezh Square in Moscow, Senate Square in St.Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Izhevsk, Solnechnogorsk, Lyubertsy... The leader would have none of it. He snapped something or other about "bearded liberals" but who was he trying to fool? And besides, who did he mean? Limonov? Churov? Or late Solzhenitsyn? He knew better... and we know better. Embittered and enraged teenagers were a signal. Our children see no future for themselves. This is a corollary of his, Putin's, so called stability. Russian kids and kids from the Caucasus. Demonstrative viciousness and insecurity. They are our future. They are the tragic product of the decade of "getting back to the feet" when there is money in abundance but no compassion. He realized it all but he could not admit it in front of TV cameras, could he? He actually said that he was not sorry at all. For anything. This emotion was left to all of us. Love of dogs is the only sincere feeling within the armor of this "national symbol" of the early 2000s. Love of dogs and love of football, and both replaced love of human beings. "Everyone is afraid of you," that was what one of the callers said. A dubious compliment, that one. Do we want Russia to be based on cruelty all over again? Do we want our children showing us what we all should be afraid of? The New Year eve is coming, and best wishes to everyone with it. I wish Putin compassion and tolerance. I wish him love and not fear. Better be loved than feared. No need even to be loved by everyone at all, as long as the feeling is sincere.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky's fate will determine Russia's future direction.

On the eve of a verdict in the latest case against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Boris Akunin, one of Russia's most popular crime authors, interprets the case as the latest episode in an age-old battle between idealists and cynical secret policemen.
I have the deepest sympathy for Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his fellow unfortunate, Platon Lebedev. For me, they are not just symbols or slogans, but living, suffering human beings.
But at the same time, I can see that the legal process, which culminates in Moscow on Wednesday, is not simply a private matter, nor the result of some spontaneous chain of events, but another chapter in the centuries-long confrontation between two competing forces in Russia, a struggle which over the centuries has proven to be a major factor in the breakdown of society, and a key to understanding all the twists and turns of Russia's difficult history.
The first of these two forces I call the "aristocracy," not because the protagonists hail from some form of blue-blooded provenance, but because, going back to the Greek root "aristos", they have striven for noble, high-minded actions and an idealistic school of thought. This force has repeatedly changed its social milieu and its name through the ages: the Decembrists and the Narodniks of the 19th century turned into the intelligentsia and the dissidents of the Soviet period. They changed their political slogans and platforms, but the struggle remained the same, a struggle for human dignity, that benchmark indicator of a country's level of civilisation.
The second force I shall call the "arrest-ocracy" because its guiding principle over the years was based on arrest: the denial of freedom and the silencing of free speech. The names of this movement also changed as the decades have gone by: the imperial Third Section, the Okhrana, the Cheka, NKVD and the KGB. Today, they call it Vladimir Putin's "vertical of power".
These two antagonists have repeatedly gone head to head over the past 200 years, and in virtually every episode the arrest-ocrats have prevailed. After all, time and again they have been able to deploy police, prisons and power – in the form of the army – on their side.

But in 1991 the arrest-ocracy suffered a stunning defeat, not a terminal one but shattering by the standards of what went before.
Throughout the decade that followed, the arresto-cracy went on the counter-attack, trying to turn back the tide of time. The centuries-old civil war was far from over.
There is nothing surprising about the fact that today the head of the arrest-ocratic party is a former KGB officer with his own team of people who like him come from the special services. This is predictable and entirely logical. But what is striking is that the aristocrats, the party of human dignity in today's Russia, are represented not by a Solzhenitsyn or a Mandela but by a former billionaire. Although this is perhaps no more striking than the fact that his predecessor as the figurehead of the aristocractic movement was the father of the atomic bomb and a man who was three times named a Hero of Socialist Labour, Andrei Sakharov. History just loves paradoxes.
Two and a half years ago, when the Russian edition of Esquire asked me to interview any person I found interesting, I immediately said: "The most interesting person for me today is Khodorkovsky". Over the next few months, we exchanged letters. I asked questions, the prisoner of Siberia replied. And gradually I became aware that my curiosity for my subject was changing, at first into a deep sympathy, and latterly into a growing admiration for the sheer force of personality of this individual. Yes, Khodorkovsky has been very unlucky in his fate, but we, his compatriots, have been unbelievably lucky: the party of human dignity is today embodied by an individual who conducts himself in a model fashion and does not bend or break under pressure. I do not rule out even that the pitiless machine of oppression will break itself on his resolve.
The sentence, which will be handed down once the verdict is announced, will not just decide the fate of two people. It will determine whether Russia will be dominated by an "aristocratic" or "arrestocratic" dynamic into the second decade of the 21st century. It will determine the direction the country will take: forwards and upwards, or once again downwards.
...more in The Guardian - The Moscow Times - The Sidney Morning Herald - The Independent - BBC - The Economist
/ And in the websites: Khodorkovsky & Lebedev Communications Center - - Mikhail Khodorkovsky Society
Jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky warns UK on renewed alliance with Russia

Eduard Limonov interview: Political rebel and Vladimir Putin's worst nightmare.

Marc Bennetts meets Eduard Limonov, the 1970s New York punk, incendiary novelist and possible future leader of Russia.
I first became aware of Eduard Limonov, modern Russia's most uncompromising writer and politician, during an extended visit to Moscow in the mid-1990s. Back then he was the firebrand head of the National Bolshevik Party, a direct-action movement that sought to fuse the ultra-left and the ultra-right in opposition to the catastrophic reign of President Boris Yeltsin. Addressed by his young, streetwise followers as "vozhd", or "leader" – the term used by Stalinists for Uncle Joe – his party's instantly recognisable flag was an explosive mix of Nazi and communist imagery.
The National Bolshevik Party was outlawed in 2007 after a series of spectacular political stunts, including the seizure of the Kremlin's reception office. Limonov, who turned 67 this spring, is today one of the leaders of the country's tiny opposition movement, part of an uneasy, on-off alliance with a handful of liberal reformers and veteran human-rights activists. He also plans to run for the presidency in 2012, when Vladimir Putin is widely expected to seek a third term.
I meet the taciturn youth who will take me to see Limonov at the entrance to one of Moscow's many branches of Mothercare. It's an incongruous start to our meeting, but for a man who embodies much of the chaos and contradictions of his post-Soviet homeland, it somehow seems apt.
Limonov opens the door to the sparsely decorated apartment he uses as a base and ushers me through the corridor into a white-walled room. With his glasses, greying moustache and goatee, he resembles no one so much as Leon Trotsky. In keeping with the "dress code for the future" he outlined in one of his more than 40 books, he is clad in black from head to toe.
My notebook contains a sprawling list of questions (I forced myself to stop after the sixth page), but I am unsure where to start. Limonov has, quite simply, seen it all.
An avant-garde poet forced out of the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s after refusing to inform for the KGB, Limonov ended up in New York, where he hung out with the Ramones and Richard Hell & the Voidoids at the legendary CBGB punk club. "In New York I found the same kind of people – non-conformists, painters, poets, crazy underground musicians – that I had left in Moscow. I even wore Richard Hell's ripped T-shirt for a long time," he recalls, when I ask him about his punk past. "I still listen to that music, of course. Everyone likes to hear the music of their youth."
But he laughs away the suggestion that punk has influenced his confrontational political philosophies and strategies. "I am wiser now, I have matured – and anyway, how can one be a punk after 60? That would be silly."
It was during his stay in the States that he penned It's Me, Eddie, the fictional memoir of deviant immigrant life that would earn him international acclaim. Not to mention everlasting notoriety at home for its depictions of gay sex with a homeless black man, an unthinkable thing for a Soviet writer to have written. A massive success in Europe, Limonov eventually moved to France, where he was granted citizenship in 1987.
..."Europeans are so timid they remind me of sick and elderly people," he begins. "And Europe is like one big old people's home. There is so much political correctness and conformity there that you can't open your mouth. It's worse than prison. That's why there is no culture in the west anymore. Just dying screams.
"In Russia, fortunately, the people still have some barbarian spirit. But Europeans and Americans are just dying, sick invalids." He looks across the table at me for a reaction. I sympathise with what he is saying: while life in Russia may not be easy, it is, at least, never dull. But something stops me agreeing with him, and instead I voice an ironic, "Thanks."
"That's how it is!" Limonov laughs. "That's the reality! They want to dominate the world with their high-tech military devices, but there is no individual collective might and spirit. Look what they did to Iraq, they come with their fucking boots and…" he shakes his head in exasperation. "It's criminal negligence at the very least."

Limonov's dislike of the west is mutual. He has been persona non grata in western literary circles since he was filmed shooting a machine gun into a besieged Sarajevo in the company of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. The incident, captured by Bafta award-winning director Pawel Pawlikowski in his Serbian Epics documentary and shown at Karadzic's trial at the Hague, cost Limonov publishing contracts in both Europe and the US.
But he reacts furiously when I bring up the issue. "That schmuck," he says. "I was shooting at a firing range, and that guy put in an extra frame to make it look like I was firing at buildings. I've been saying this for 15 years."
I'm unsure of how to react to this, as well as to his assertion that he was "always a freelance journalist" during the conflict in Bosnia. I later dig up an extract from his 2001 Book of the Dead where he appears to admit – the sentence is ambiguously phrased – spraying the city with machine-gun fire. I then come across an article where he explicitly states that he "fought" in Bosnia from "February to May 1993". I send him the quotes and call later for a comment. He is beside himself with rage and barks down the phone that he regrets having had anything to do with me. "It wouldn't have been a Limonov interview without a bit of shouting," a fellow journalist comments. the complete interiew in The Guardian
read also Monumental Foolishness by Keith Gessen

A Mafia state. Con Putín a la cabeza las élites rusas imponen su ley de excesos y corrupción.
Arms deals, racketeering – Putin accused of running 'mafia state'

"Los pasos graduales [dados por las autoridades para hacer frente a los abusos] han sido ineficaces hasta ahora", concluye la Embajada estadounidense en Moscú en 2009.
Dos periodistas rusos conversaban con diplomáticos estadounidenses el pasado febrero en Moscú. Hablaron de la corrupción, de los negocios de Yelena Baturina, la esposa del alcalde Yuri Luzhkov (relevado a fines de septiembre), y de las implicaciones de este en el sistema de estructuras delictivas o cleptocracia que, según ellos, controlaba la capital. "La gente a menudo ve a funcionarios que entran en el Kremlin con grandes maletas y guardaespaldas", explicaba uno de los interlocutores suponiendo que las maletas estaban "llenas de dinero". Su colega se mostraba escéptico, y opinaba que sería "más fácil abrir una cuenta secreta en Chipre". El sistema de protección mafioso (krisha o tejado, en ruso) resultaba obligado para todos los negocios de Moscú, decía, y añadía que la krisha ofrecida por la policía, el Ministerio del Interior y el Servicio Federal de Seguridad (SFS) estaba ganándole el terreno a los grupos criminales tradicionales, ya que los servidores del Estado tenían más recursos y estaban, a su vez, "protegidos" por la ley. Todas estas opiniones -con la etiqueta de "secreto"- fueron a parar al Departamento de Estado, al FBI y la CIA.
A juzgar por los despachos fechados en Moscú y en otras capitales de la antigua Unión Soviética, los diplomáticos ofrecen al Departamento de Estado una amplia gama de opiniones sobre los temas de su interés, ya sean las relaciones del presidente Dmitri Medvédev y el jefe del Gobierno Vladímir Putin, la estabilidad del régimen o los vaivenes de la democratización en Rusia. El servicio exterior norteamericano vigila los sectores estratégicos rusos, como la exportación de hidrocarburos, y las ramas de la economía donde Rusia compite con intereses norteamericanos o donde estos compiten con los europeos. Por eso, siguen la actividad de Rosatom, el consorcio estatal responsable de la energía atómica en Rusia y de Atomstroyexport, la constructora de centrales nucleares, así como los pedidos de Boeing en relación con los de Airbus. Desde Moscú, los norteamericanos están atentos a Pekín y recogen la desazón de los políticos rusos, como Luzhkov, ante la potencia china. Desde la periferia del antiguo imperio, vigilan los pasos de Rusia y también de otros países, hasta el punto de que sus diplomáticos en Turkmenistán van a charlar con los camioneros a los cafés de la frontera con Irán y son felicitados por Washington por captar el estado de ánimo de los "iraníes de a pie".
...Con gran aplomo, atribuyen conexiones con la élite política rusa a organizaciones delictivas en Rusia, en Bulgaria o en Tailandia o en España. Los diplomáticos mencionan los esfuerzos de Medvédev, pero siguen más el desarrollo de la corrupción que la lucha contra este mal. En 2009, cuando Transparency International pone a Rusia en el lugar 146 de su lista de países percibidos como más corruptos (en 2008, estaba en el puesto 147), la embajada concluye que "los pasos radicales [contra la corrupción] pueden amenazar el estatus quo, pero los pasos graduales han sido ineficaces hasta ahora".
Los despachos transmiten los chismorreos que atribuyen a Vladímir Putin estar implicado en negocios opacos y muy lucrativos. También recogen opiniones que serían incorrectas aplicadas a un político occidental. El comisario de Exteriores de la UE, Chris Patten, en abril de 2004 en Bruselas, elogia a Putin por su labor a favor de Rusia, pero afirma tener "serias dudas" sobre su carácter. "Parece un hombre totalmente razonable cuando habla de Oriente Medio o de la política energética, pero cuando la conversación deriva hacia Chechenia o el extremismo islámico, los ojos de Putin se transforman en los de un asesino", dice.
...más en El País - Al Jazeera - The New York Times - Le Monde - Die Spiegel - The Guardian - The Independent - Democracy Now
Y en la web de
Read also:
Un fiscal español vincula a la mafia rusa con el Kremlin

Stated controlled media kept silent on WikiLeaks revelations that US diplomats see Russia as a criminal state

Yet again: another journalist beaten with impunity guarantee by Putin's regime

Local reporter is beaten up in Moscow two days after a leading journalist was severely injured in a brutal attack.
A Russian journalist has been beaten up in Moscow, the capital, two days after a brutal attack on a reporter for a major newspaper shocked the country.
Anatoly Adamchuk, a reporter for the Zhukovskie Vesti, a suburban newspaper, was beaten up early on Monday, leaving him with head wounds, one of his colleagues said.
"He was attacked by two unknown individuals and hit on the back of his head and then hit again when he was on the ground," Sergei Grammatin told Moscow Echo radio.

"He has head wounds and light concussion. Now he is at home and recovering."
...more in Al Jazeera

Another journalist brutally assaulted

A leading Russian journalist has been badly beaten outside his apartment in Moscow, prompting President Dmitry Medvedev to order a police investigation.
Russia is one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists, and his colleagues say they are certain Saturday's attack on Oleg Kashin was politically motivated.

His editor said the attack was probably linked to Kashin's coverage of banned opposition groups.
Kashin was left with a fractured jaw, broken legs and fingers, and severe concussion.
... more in Al Jazeera - El Mundo - France 24 - El País - La Repubblica

Lea también :
Russian reporter left in wheelchair by attack is convicted of defaming official. Mikhail Beketov had accused mayor of corruption. Case linked to weekend beating of another journalist
Global newspapers to Russia's president - start protecting journalists:
The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum have jointly called on Russia's president to ensure that widespread attacks on journalists are aggressively prosecuted.
Their letter to Dmitry Medvedev follows the attempted murder of newspaper reporter Oleg Kashin and the fact that there have been 19 unsolved murders of journalists in Russia (as I wrote about at length on Monday).
"We are alarmed at the culture of impunity that surrounds attacks on journalists, which stifles criticism and can lead to self-censorship.
We respectfully remind you that it is the duty of the state to provide an environment in which journalists are able to carry out their professional duties without fear of violence."
Kashin, a reporter for the business daily Kommersant, suffered a fractured jaw, broken legs and injuries to his skull after being beaten outside his Moscow apartment building on Saturday.
His editor, Mikhail Mikhailin, said that the attack was retribution for articles written by Kashin, who had recently covered anti-Kremlin protests and extremist rallies.
...more in The Guardian - The Huffington Post - France 24
El presidente Medvedev revoca la ley que restringía el derecho de manifestación

Eyes of the world are on the malicious trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed Russian oligarch, a politically-motivated farce.

Once Russia's richest man with an oil empire worth more than £9 billion, the 47-year-old oligarch cut a lonely figure in a Moscow courtroom on Tuesday as he uttered his final words before a verdict which is expected next month.
Dressed in a polo shirt and a faded black suede jacket, Mr Khodorkovsky and an associate have been on trial for more than a year and a half defending themselves against charges that they stole oil worth almost £17 billion from Yukos, their own oil company, between 1998 and 2003.
Mr Khodorkovsky, who is widely viewed as a personal enemy of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, was melancholy yet defiant. "Millions of people are watching this case hoping that the rule of law will triumph in the country," he told the courtroom. "I do not want to die in prison but my beliefs are worth my life." He said he harboured little hope that he would be acquitted even though he has described the charges against him as absurd.
...more in The Telegraph - The Guardian - BBC - France 24 - El País - Al Jazeera

Se revindica el Art 31. de la Constitución que garantiza Libertad de expresión pero Putín no lo respeta

Ceñida por un amplio cordón de autobuses policiales, la Plaza Triunfalnaya de Moscú se convirtió este domingo en el escenario de la primera manifestación opositora autorizada en años por las autoridades capitalinas.
"¡Rusia sin Putin!", "Llegó la hora de cambiar el poder" o "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido" fueron algunas de las consignas que se podían oír en la céntrica plaza, dominda por una escultura colosal del poeta Vladimir Mayakovski, y donde se dieron cita varios cientos de personas, activistas y periodistas.
Manifestantes provistos con caretas del primer ministro, Vladimir Putin, repartían folletos y se dejaron fotografiar por los periodistas (casi tan numerosos como los manifestantes).
Boris Nemtsov, ex primer ministro liberal, hizo acto de presencia en la plaza, sobre la que ondeaban decenas de banderas con el logotipo de 'Solidaridad', la plataforma que une a los dispares grupos de la oposición rusa. "Esta manifestación es nuestro éxito común", dijo a los presentes Ludmila Alexeeva, la octogenaria defensora de derechos humanos que dirige el Grupo de Helsinki.
...El Mundo - The Guardian - DEMOTIX
Read also : Mikhail Gorbachev´s critical analysis of Putinism is worth listening to

El cáncer de la corrupción institucional bajo la tiranía de Putín y sus servicios secretos

It's national police day in Russia, a holiday supposed to honour and celebrate the country's security forces.
But one former member of the police won't be marking the occasion after he was sacked for making an internet video about corruption within the forces.
In the video he talks of widespread corruption, and says it's impossible for Russian police officers to survive without taking bribes.
Andrew Potter reports in Al Jazeera.

Jonathan speaks to a Russian journalist who is one of few people in his profession to speak the truth about the corruption in his country. Compelling video from BBC show Russia: A Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby. Watch more high quality videos on the BBC Worldwide YouTube channel here:

Dmitry Medvedev, the man assured to be elected as Russia's next president on Sunday (March 2008), has made the battle against corruption a top priority. One of the worst regions affected is Russia's Far East. Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull has been traveling across Russia to find out what problems the new president will face. He reports from the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok. It is a city mired in poverty despite being rich in mineral resources.

Russian Mayor, Mrs Tatyana Kazakova, Irks Security Agency, and Suffers

Tatyana Kazakova, mayor of Listvyanka, inmprisoned for years by the FSB (succesors to the KGB) for questioning their development of a private resort on Lake Baikal.
On the edge of this Siberian village is a resort with a veiled guest list and armed guards at the front gate. When local officials have expressed unease about what goes on inside, the reply has always been the same: do not interfere.
Two and half years ago, the village’s mayor, Tatyana Kazakova, had enough. A major construction project at the resort had exposed a hot water main, threatening the heating supply for the entire village as temperatures plunged to 30 degrees below zero.
Ms. Kazakova was not a typical bureaucrat. She was one of the most successful businesswomen in this vast region, a real-estate magnate with a blond ponytail who represented a new breed of Russian entrepreneur.
She filed a lawsuit against the resort, and asked the regional prosecutor to open a criminal inquiry.
A criminal inquiry was indeed opened — against Ms. Kazakova.
The resort belongs to the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., and the F.S.B. arrested her and had her prosecuted.
She is now on trial in a case that has already become a disquieting example of the power of the security agency in today’s Russia.
More than 25 agents have delved into every aspect of Ms. Kazakova’s life, carrying out what they have termed a “counterintelligence operation.” Masked special service officers with automatic weapons have raided her associates’ homes. More than 250 witnesses have been interrogated, and 67 volumes of evidence have been amassed, according to the trial records.
Even a prominent Kremlin official has declared that Ms. Kazakova is being persecuted, and so has the human rights ombudsman here in Siberia, who is a government official. Yet the F.S.B. remains largely untouchable.
“Why are they doing this, who fears me?” Ms. Kazakova, 47, asked in a letter that she passed to her lawyers last year. “Why are they keeping me in jail, when I pose no threat?”

...more in The New York Times - San Francisco Examiner / And in the blog of Robert Amsterdam

Jodorkovsky comienza una huelga de hambre indefinida, al continuar injustamente detenido por Putin

El ex presidente de la petrolera Yukos protesta por las recientes decisiones judiciales que le mantienen en la cárcel. Mijaíl Jodorkovsky , el multimillonario ex presidente de la desaparecida petrolera Yukos, se ha declarado en huelga de hambre en la cárcel en protesta por las recientes decisiones judiciales que le mantienen en prisión. Jordorkovski fue sentenciado en 2005 a ocho años de privación de libertad, pero antes de que cumpliera la condena, las autoridades rusas comenzaron el año pasado un nuevo juicio en su contra . El magnate fue condenado oficialmente por delitos económicos, pero él sostiene que ha sido perseguido por razones políticas. Como explican liberales y expertos, su pecado fue haberse atrevido a financiar a la oposición al entonces presidente y hoy primer ministro Vladímir Putin.
El lunes Jordorkovski escribió una carta al jefe del Tribunal Supremo, Viacheslav Lébedev, en la que hace notar que la decisión tomada el viernes pasado por el Juzgado Jomóvnicheski de Moscú de prolongar su estancia en prisión ignora olímpicamente las recientes modificaciones introducidas en el Código Procesal Penal, que permiten salir en libertad bajo fianza a las personas acusadas de delitos económicos mientras dure el juicio en su contra. Estas modificaciones fueron aprobadas a iniciativa del presidente Dmitri Medvédev.
Jodorkovski explica en la carta que sabe que numerosas decisiones judiciales tomadas últimamente son un directo sabotaje a la ley que impulsó Medvédev y que su huelga de hambre continuará hasta que se le informe que el presidente ruso ha recibido una información detallada de cómo se está incumpliendo esa ley.
Aunque en su carta el magnate no cita casos concretos, todavía está fresca en la memoria de los rusos la muerte en prisión, el mes pasado, de Vera Trífonova, una empresaria acusada de fraude que estaba encarcelada en Matróskaya Tishiná en espera del comienzo de su juicio. Anteriormente, en noviembre, había fallecido en esa misma cárcel moscovita el abogado Serguéi Magnitski, al que se le acusaba de evasión de impuestos.
...más en El País - The Guardian - The Independent - Al Jazeera / Y en la web Khodorkovsky & Lebedev Communications Center

Time in Moscow -

"El único Estado duradero es áquel en que todos las personas son iguales ante la Ley"

"L'Américain lutte contre les obstacles que lui oppose la nature ; le Russe est aux prises avec les hommes. L'un combat le désert et la barbarie, l'autre la civilisation revêtue de toutes ses armes : aussi les conquêtes de l'Américain se font-elles avec le soc du laboureur, celles du Russe avec l'épée du soldat.
Pour atteindre son but, le premier s'en repose sur l'intérêt personnel et laisse agir, sans les diriger, la force et la raison des individus.
Le second concentre en quelque sorte dans un homme toute la puissance de la société.
L'un a pour principal moyen d'action la liberté ; l'autre, la servitude."
Alexis de Tocqueville

Noticias : Europa :: RUSIA



Putin afianza su dictadura manipulando los resultados electorales: solo 30% de los ciudadanos votaron al no poder hacerlo por la oposición que fue impedida fraudulosamente de presentarse a las elecciones: Las elecciones celebradas el domingo en casi toda Rusia -75 de 83 regiones- demuestra, según el Gobierno, que a pesar de la crisis económica la población apoya la gestión de sus dirigentes. El partido Rusia Unida, del que el primer ministro Vladímir Putin es líder, obtuvo cerca del 80% de los votos en las municipales y el 77% en las regionales. Verdad es que según la oposición, no hubo elecciones sino una farsa. Solidárnost, el movimiento opositor radical, no logró inscribir a ni uno solo de sus candidatos, bajo el pretexto de que las firmas recolectadas de acuerdo a la exigencia de la ley electoral para poder participar eran falsas. Tampoco pudo competir el liberal Mijaíl Kasiánov, que fue jefe de Gobierno bajo el primer mandato presidencial de Putin, quien llamó al boicoteo de los comicios. Claro que la baja participación -oficialmente de un 35,5% aunque en algunas partes, como en Moscú, fue mucho menor- no es algo que preocupe al Kremlin, ya que fue derogado el artículo que exigía una cuota mínima de votantes para reconocer las elecciones como válidas. También durante la reforma de las leyes electorales se eliminó la posibilidad de votar contra todos que antes existía. ...más en El País - The Guardian

July / Julio

Obama Meets with Russian Opposition: On Tuesday July 7th, US President Barack Obama met with representatives of the Russian opposition in Moscow. The lunch meeting, which took place in the Ritz-Carlton hotel, brought together a wide group of politicians not connected with the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. Notables on the invite list included Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, United Civil Front leader Garry Kasparov, Right Cause chairman Leonid Gozman, and Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin. Each representative was given five minutes to speak. Topics of discussion included the new trial against jailed Yukos oil company bosses Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, and the US missile defense system.

During his talk, Garry Kasparov presented Obama with a list of opposition figures who have been persecuted and killed recently, as well as a list of prisoners serving politically-motivated sentences in Russia. (Download Kasparov’s full statement in PDF format here.) “The US president is prepared to establish relations, not just between the White House and the Kremlin, but between the American people and the Russian people,” Kasparov said at a press-conference after the meeting. “In my address, I said that the situation with human rights has become worse since Dmitri Medvedev came to power,” Kasparov went on. “I turned over a brief list of the Russian opposition figures who have been arrested, assaulted or killed in recent years.” ...more in El País - The Other Russia - MSNBC

Marzo / March

La Rusia del tirano Putín y su "presidente" Medvédev inicia un nuevo juicio contra sus presos políticos Jodorkovski y Platón Lébedev: La agencia Interfax informa que todas las calles alrededor del edificio del Tribunal han sido cortadas y se han colocado puestos de control de la Policía para impedir el acceso a cualquier persona que no demuestre que trabaja o vive en la barriada. La Fiscalía acusa a los dos directivos de Yukos de haber robado, entre 1998 y 2003, 350 millones de toneladas de petróleo a su propia empresa y de haber blanqueado después el dinero obtenido con la venta. La defensa ha tachado de "absurdas" tales imputaciones, ya que, en el periodo en cuestión, Yukos extrajo menos crudo del que supuestamente fue sustraído. En declaraciones a este periódico, el líder opositor Borís Nemtsov dijo el sábado que el nuevo proceso “no tiene nada que ver con supuestos delitos ni con el ejercicio de la Justicia”. Según sus palabras, el primer ministro ruso, Vladímir Putin, tiene miedo de que, si es puesto en libertad, Jodorkovski “le exija la devolución de su patrimonio o se dedique a la política”. El antiguo propietario de Yukos, compañía desmantelada y repartida entre varias empresas estatales, ha declarado a través de su abogado que el juicio “será un espectáculo interesante”. La oposición rusa le considera el preso político “número uno” del país. Jodorkovski fue detenido el 25 de octubre de 2003 y acusado de cometer varios delitos económicos. Él y Lébedev fueron condenados en 2005 a 8 años de prisión y enviados a un penal de Siberia. Según las leyes rusas, al haber purgado la mitad de la pena, podrían haberse beneficiado del régimen abierto, pero las autoridades penitenciarias se han negado aduciendo “mala conducta”. El verdadero pecado de Jodorkovski fue financiar partidos de oposición y cuestionar la línea de Putin. Nemtsov cree que “mientras Putin conserve poder, Jodorkovski continuará encarcelado”. ...más en ABC - BBC - The Telegraph - Khodorkovsky & Lebedev Communications Center - Committee to Free Khodorkovsky and Lebedev

February / Febrero

The end of Russia?
by historian Yury Afanasiev
On its present course, Russia is doomed, claims the distinguished historian, Yury Afanasiev. Why did reform change nothing? Why has the wheel of history turned back to autocracy? 500 years of oppression are reaching a terrible climax. In this important, excoriating essay, he challenges his people to face the truth about their history ... read the full essay in Open Democracy / and in our page LEA / ARTÍCULOS

Miles de rusos protestan contra la política económica del Gobierno de Putin: Los enfrentamientos en Moscú concluyen con una feroz represión y varias decenas de arrestos. Miles de personas desafiaron ayer gélidas temperaturas invernales y salieron a la calle en diversas ciudades de Rusia, desde Moscú hasta Vladivostok (en la costa del Pacífico), en una jornada de protesta por la gestión económica del Gobierno de Vladímir Putin. Las autoridades dieron permiso a los mítines del Partido Comunista, que en la práctica actúa como oposición leal, pero no a otras convocatorias de organizaciones más críticas, como Otra Rusia (OR) de Gari Kaspárov, o Nosotros. Aunque la geografía de las manifestaciones fue extensa, ninguna de ellas fue especialmente numerosa, si se comparan con las de los años ochenta del pasado siglo, que sacaban a la calle a centenares de miles de personas en contra del monopolio comunista del poder, o las de los años noventa, cuando las convocatorias ya reunían a decenas de miles. El escritor Eduard Limónov, líder del prohibido Partido Nacional Bolchevique (PNB), fue arrestado cuando intentaba subirse a la estatua del poeta Vladímir Mayakovski, en el centro de Moscú, para dirigirse a varias decenas de conciudadanos. Por su parte, Román Dobrojótov, de Nosotros, fue detenido y sancionado con cinco días de arresto administrativo por participar en un piquete junto a la sede del Gobierno ruso. A lo largo de la jornada en Moscú se produjeron escaramuzas entre la policía y militantes del PNB y Nosotros. Según el Ministerio del Interior, fueron arrestadas 41 personas, pero un portavoz del PNB afirmó que habían sido detenidos hasta 60 "nazbol", tal como son llamados los seguidores de este partido que gusta de actuaciones provocativas. Ante mil personas, el líder comunista Guennadi Ziugánov afirmó que la crisis económica ha puesto de manifiesto la bancarrota de la política gubernamental. ...más en El País - The Other Russia - The Guardian - El Mundo - The Times - France 24 - The Independent

January / Enero

El regimen totalitario de Putin asesina otra periodista y a un abogado de derechos humanos que osaban trabajar por la justicia y la libertad de información:

Fue asesinado a tiros en Rusia un abogado de derechos humanos llamado Stanislav Markélov, quien patrocinaba a la familia de una joven chechena muerta en 2000. En el atentado también hirieron a la periodista Anastasia Baburoba, quien falleció poco después en el hospital. Serguéi Markélov, abogado de la familia de una joven chechena asesinada en 2000 por un coronel del Ejército ruso, ha muerto tiroteado en el centro de Moscú, según han informado fuentes policiales. El asesino se acercó por detrás y disparó en la nuca a Markélov, para luego hacer lo mismo con la periodista Anastasia Baburoba, quien falleció horas después en el hospital al que fue trasladada tras el ataque. Markélov, de 34 años, acababa de ofrecer una rueda de prensa, a la que asistió la periodista asesinada, en la que pidió que se reanudase la persecución judicial contra el ex coronel Yuri Budánov, condenado en 2003 a 10 años de cárcel por el secuestro y asesinato de la joven chechena Elsa Kungáyeva, y que la semana pasada quedó en libertad tras cumplir más de la mitad de su condena. "Es un asesinato por encargo relacionado con el caso Budánov [...]. Él me había dicho que había recibido amenazas", ha declarado el presidente del Centro de Derechos Humanos de Chechenia, Minkaíl Ezhíev. La muerte de Kungayeva originó una oleada de protestas en la república, al denunciar su familia que había sido violada y asesinada por soldados rusos ebrios. Budanov fue arrestado y condenado a diez años de prisión, la pena más alta impuesta a un oficial ruso por crímenes cometidos en Chechenia. Pero fue liberado el pasado jueves, lo que provocó protestas en la república rusa. La líder de la organización pro derechos humanos Grupo Helsinki de Moscú, Liudmila Alexéyeva, ha mostrado su ira por el asesinato del abogado, y ha declarado que el crimen "retrata totalmente" el estado del sistema judicial en Rusia. "Yuri Budánov, que cometió un delito grave contra una persona, está en libertad, mientras que [el fundador de la quebrada petrolera Yukos] Mijaíl Jodorkovski y Svetlana Bajminá [jurista de la petrolera], que no mataron a nadie, no pueden obtener la libertad anticipada", ha agregado. "Lo que ha pasado es simplemente escandaloso", ha declarado Tanya Lokshina, directora de Human Rights Watch en Moscú, que ha comparado el crimen con el asesinato en 2006 de la periodista Anna Politkovskya, muy crítica con el Kremlin. "Éste es un país donde el asesinato de los que defienden los derechos humanos ha pasado a formar parte de la rutina cotidiana", según la abogada de la familia Politkovskya. Amnistía Internacional ha condenado también el crimen y ha pedido a las autoridades rusas que se lleve a cabo una investigación "completa y objetiva" porque "silenciar a quien defiende los derechos humanos y trabaja en defensa de la ley es absolutamente inaceptable". ...publicado en Urgente 24 - The Times - The Other Russia - The Guardian - The Independent - France 24 - Le Figaro - El País

El reformista Kiril, entronizado como XVI Patriarca de la Iglesia Ortodoxa Rusa: El metropolita de Smolensk y Kaliningrado, Kiril, ha sido entronizado hoy como el XVI Patriarca de la Iglesia Ortodoxa Rusa (IOR) durante una fastuosa ceremonia celebrada en la Catedral de Cristo Salvador de Moscú. "Axios, Axios, Axios!" (digno, en griego), cantaron los centenares de clérigos presentes en el templo tras la consagración de Kiril, que sustituye al recientemente fallecido Alexis II, que estuvo al frente de la IOR desde 1990. El nuevo patriarca, procedente de una familia de sacerdotes de Leningrado (hoy San Petersburgo), era considerado como el más reformista de los dos candidatos que se sometieron ayer al voto secreto de los 702 delegados (entre ellos 72 mujeres) en un cónclave formado por sacerdotes, monjes y feligreses en la catedral de Cristo Salvador de Moscú. Kiril obtuvo 508 votos (72%) frente al metropolita (arzobispo) Kliment, el administrador jefe de la Patriarquía, que logró 169 (24%). Para ser elegido se necesitaba el 50% más uno de los votos. Filaret, el metropolita de Minsk, tercero en una votación previa el domingo, retiró su candidatura en nombre de la unidad y a favor de Kiril. El cónclave discurrió en un clima solemne y reunió a delegados de 64 países, desde Turkmenistán a Canadá. ...más en El País - The Guardian - France 24 - The Times - MSNBC - El Mundo - Le Figaro

Russian Democrats Unite in New Anti-Kremlin Movement named Solidarity: Garry Kasparov and other members of the Russian opposition met Friday and Saturday, finalizing a new movement which aims to peacefully dismantle what they describe as the illegitimate regime ruling Russia. Around 200 delegates from over 40 Russian regions met in Khimki, on the outskirts of Moscow, electing a leadership council, finalizing the group’s name, and selecting a song by Russian rocker Victor Tsoi as the movement’s anthem. The group is named Solidarity, after the Polish movement which helped free that country from communism. Kasparov, who chairs the United Civil Front party, said it was impossible to reform the Putin-Medvedev regime, and that it needs to be completely dismantled. The economic and financial crisis was putting Russia “on the edge of catastrophe,” Kasparov said, adding that the Russian authorities would have trouble keeping power as economic problems grew. Independent politician Boris Nemtsov urged participants to actively engage trade unions as a lever of influence. Rising unemployment as part of the economic crisis, Nemtsov said, was creating a new base of people who were more inclined to being politically active. Solidarity encompasses Russian democrats of various stripes, including former members of the Union of Right Forces (SPS) party, human rights activists, and members of the Yabloko party. Human rights defender Valeriya Novodvorskaya called on the group to avoid past mistakes, and to cut close ties with leftist radicals and communists. Delegates were met by hecklers from pro-Kremlin youth groups on both days of the meeting. The protesters lit smoke bombs and threw leaflets. Some dressed like monkeys and hurled bananas into the air. In a particularly sickening and cruel stunt, delegates arriving at the conference Friday found a group of youth releasing dying and wounded sheep into the street. The animals, wearing hats and shirts with the word “solidarity” on them, were violently thrown on the road from a bus. While the hecklers would not identify which group they represented, one of the Solidarity delegates recognized the young men as members of the pro-Kremlin Young Guard movement. ...more in The Other Russia - Al Jazeera - Radio Free Europe - The Times - Deutsche Welle



Putin wants to reinforce his totalitarian power for ever: his plans could ensure Vladimir Putin back in the Kremlin for two six-year terms as early as next year. President Dmitry Medvedev moved yesterday to entrench the current Russian leadership's grip on power by proposing a presidential term that would extend the stint in office from four to six years. Medvedev said the extension was necessary to guarantee stability and help Russia deal with huge global challenges. But critics said the proposal was further evidence of Russia's alarming and rapid drift towards authoritarianism. This morning's Vedomosti newspaper, citing Kremlin sources, said that Medvedev could resign from his post as early as 2009 - paving the way for Vladimir Putin, currently the prime minister, to come back to the Kremlin. Putin stepped down as president in May, when he handed over to Medvedev, his handpicked successor. Under this scenario Putin could get his presidential job back next year and then serve two six-year terms, Vedomosti suggested. In his first state of the nation address yesterday, Medvedev also said he was deploying nuclear missiles in western Russia to "neutralise" the Pentagon's missile defence system - and lambasted the US for its "arrogant course" and "unilateralism". Speaking hours after Barack Obama was voted in as the next American president, Medvedev said Russia would site short-range Iskander nuclear-capable missiles next door to Poland, in Russia's Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad. The Iskander missiles would be targeted at the US's missile defence and radar bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, Medvedev said. Russia would also install radio-jamming equipment to sabotage the US weapons, he added. The US insists its system is aimed not at Russia but at Iran. Medvedev's threat - with its echoes of cold war-style confrontation along the frontiers of eastern Europe - is likely to be an early foreign policy headache for Obama, as his fledgling administration seeks to improve ties with the EU. The Democrats are ambivalent about the Bush administration's expensive defence plans in Europe. But if Obama dumps the project he risks accusations of weakness and caving in to Russian bullying. ...But the most striking part of Medvedev's speech concerned constitutional themes - and his proposal to extend not only the presidential period in office but also the parliamentary term for Russia's state Duma, from four to five years. Medvedev, who took over as president from Putin in May, did not say when the changes would be implemented. This morning Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said he "did not see" Putin returning as president next year. He told Vedomosti: "In 2009 the term of the current president will continue." The paper, however, suggested that Medvedev could enact unpopular social reforms before quitting, citing the constitutional changes to justify his early exit. Analysts suggested that the most obvious beneficiary of the move would be Putin, who could return as president next year or in 2012 - and then extend his stint in power to 2024. Russia's present ruling team would remain in power indefinitely, they added. ...more in The Guardian


L'avocate d'opposants russes "empoisonnée": Karina Moskalenko, avocate comptant parmi ses clients des opposants de premier plan au Kremlin, a déclaré avoir découvert ce week-end du mercure dans sa voiture lors d'un séjour à Strasbourg. Une avocate comptant parmi ses clients des opposants de premier plan au Kremlin a affirmé mardi avoir découvert ce week-end du mercure dans sa voiture lors d'un séjour à Strasbourg. Karina Moskalenko a déclaré sur les ondes de la radio Echo de Moscou que cette découverte l'avait empêchée de se rendre dans la capitale russe pour participer au procès de trois personnes soupçonnées d'être impliquées dans le meurtre en 2006 de la journaliste et opposante Anna Politkovskaïa. "On ne met pas du mercure dans votre voiture pour améliorer votre santé", a expliqué l'avocate, qui passe le plus clair de son temps dans la capitale alsacienne et a notamment défendu l'ex-PDG de Ioukos Mikhaïl Khodorkovsky, condamné à la prison en Russie pour fraude et évasion fiscale."Je suis aussi très inquiète parce qu'il y avait des enfants dans la voiture", a-t-elle dit sans dire où vont ses soupçons. "Je crois que c'était peut-être une mise en garde pour la bonne raison qu'il y avait une grande quantité de mercure. Comment ne pas le remarquer ?" Le procureur adjoint de Strabsourg, Claude Palpacuer, a annoncé l'ouverture d'une enquête, ajoutant que l'avocate et sa famille avaient été priées de subir des examens médicaux pour vérifier le risque de contamination. "Les circonstances ainsi que son passé sont tels que Me Moskalenko est inquiète", a déclaré le magistrat à Reuters.A Paris, Reporters sans Frontières a dénoncé dans un communiqué ce qu'elle appelle "une apparente tentative d'empoisonnement au mercure sur le territoire français". "Je ne sais pas s'il s'agit d'une tentative pour m'intimider ou pour m'intimider", a-t-elle déclaré à l'ONG. RSF précise que c'est le mari de l'avocate russe qui a découvert par hasard, en nettoyant sa voiture dimanche, des billes d'un liquide argenté en grande quantité semblable à du mercure sous les tapis de sol. Moskalenko a déclaré à RSF avoir immédiatement porté plainte auprès de la police de Strabsourg et avoir subi, avec ses enfants, des examens médicaux après avoir présenté "(...) des symptômes d'empoisonnement". dans France 24

La impunidad de Putin para intimidar y matar a periodistas: Presiones, boicot, amenazas, torturas e incluso la muerte, eso es lo que le espera a los periodistas críticos en Rusia. ONG y expertos critican el silencio de Occidente ante esta violación de los derechos humanos. Magomed Yevloyev murió en Ingusetia el 31 de agosto tras recibir un disparo en la cabeza mientras se encontraba bajo custodia policial. Telman Alishayev, reportero de la televisión Islamic TV en Dagestán, falleció un día después no muy lejos de allí, después de ser tiroteado cuando estaba en su coche. Ese mismo día, Milosav Bitokov, editor de un semanario en una región del sur de Rusia, fue apaleado cerca de su casa e ingresó en un hospital con varias fracturas y herido de gravedad. También a finales de agosto, Zurab Tsechoyev, editor del sitio web de derechos humanos Mashr, fue secuestrado y torturado durante horas por las fuerzas de seguridad rusas. Unas semanas antes, Roza Malsagova voló hasta París con sus tres hijos para pedir asilo tras las presiones y amenazas sufridas. La lista podría seguir varios párrafos más. Todos ellos eran periodistas y todos han sufrido esta violencia ante la indiferencia y el silencio de la Unión Europea y los gobiernos occidentales. Todos han pagado, algunos con su vida, su crítica al gobierno ruso y al nulo respeto que por las libertades y los derechos humanos muestran Vladimir Putin y su sucesor Dmitri Medvédev. Ante la presión más o menos directa ejercida por el sistema creado por Putin hay dos opciones: el silencio, acompañado o no del exilio, o amenazas, torturas, persecuciones, boicots y, si el periodista se empeña en seguir siendo molesto, la muerte. El caso de Yevloyev es ilustrativo. En 2001 creó el sitio, muy crítico con la política de Rusia en el Caucaso y en especial con el aliado de Putin en la zona, el presidente de Igusetia, Murat Zyazikov. Además de ser el propietario de esta web, Yevloyev tuvo ideas tan poco 'apropiadas' como organizar la campaña Yo no voté, que denunciaba el fraude masivo por el que Medvédev fue apoyado en la región. Moscú dice que votaron el 98% de los ingusetios, pero Yevloyev consiguió firmas de más del 2% de la población asegurando que no habían participado en los comicios. ...más en El País - Urgente 24 - The Independent


Gorbachev launches political party with Russian billionaire, the Independent Democratic Party: Former Soviet leader joins forces with businessman to campaign for legal and economic reform. The former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, is to launch a new political party with a Russian billionaire, Alexander Lebedev. Lebedev, a businessman and banker whose company, National Reserve Corps, controls more than 30% of the Russian national carrier, Aeroflot, announced the launch today and said the party would campaign for legal and economic reform. Other policies are a stronger role for parliament, "less state capitalism" and the expansion of Russia's independent media. Lebedev and Gorbachev between them own 49% of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which employed the reporter Anna Politkovskya, a fierce critic of the Kremlin who was reknowned for exposing human rights abuses in the Chechen conflict. Her death in October 2006 was said to bear the hallmarks of a contract killing. "I would call the new party project undoubtedly nonconformist, with one simple thought: We cannot develop further as a country without independent political institutions," Lebedev told the Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti. Lebedev, a former state duma deputy who describes himself on his blog as a "capitalist-idealist", said Gorbachev was the driving force behind the new group, which has provisionally been named the Independent Democratic party. "He gave our people freedom but we just can't learn how to use it," wrote Lebedev on his website. Lebedev said there would be "no extremists" among the party's prospective membership. He suggested that economists and members of the right-wing SPS party, which played a role in Russia's transition to a market economy, would be welcome to join. He said he would not bankroll the party, but that it would be financed by "non-state sources". Gorbachev, 77, won the 1990 Nobel peace prize for allowing the previous year's largely peaceful revolutions across the eastern bloc, which saw the fall of communism in Europe. ...more in The Guardian - The Washington Post - The Australian - BBC

Agosto / August

La policía del tirano Putin asesina otro editor ruso crítico con las autoridades: Magomed Yevloyev fue arrestado al regresar de un viaje y murió en el hospital poco después. El dueño de una página de noticias de Internet crítica con las autoridades de la República de Ingusetia, en el Cáucaso Norte, en Rusia, ha muerto tras ingresar en el hospital con una bala en la cabeza poco después de ser arrestado por la policía en el aeropuerto en la tarde de ayer. Según su abogado, los agentes detuvieron a Magomed Yevloyev al pie del avión en el que acababa de regresar a Nazrán, capital de la región, y lo metió en un coche. "Mientras conducían, recibió un disparo en la sien... le arrojaron fuera del coche junto al hospital", ha explicado el abogado. "Fue descubierto ahí y rápidamente lo llevaron a la mesa de operaciones, que es donde ha muerto", ha añadido. La policía ha dado versiones distintas sobre el incidente. Un portavoz de la oficina del Fiscal General ruso, Vladimir Markin, declaró que los agentes buscaban al editor para interrogarle y que se produjo un incidente que culminó con el disparo que éste recibió en la cabeza. "Se está llevando a cabo una investigación preliminar en el incidente que ha desembocado en la muerte de M. Yevloyev", explicó el portavoz. La BBC cita fuentes policiales que aseguran que Yevloyev trató de agarrar la pistola de uno de los policías mientras era conducido al coche y que recibió el disparo en el forcejeo. La agencia rusa Interfax citó una fuente anónima que afirmaba que el editor recibió el disparo por accidente y que se había abierto una investigación criminal por falta de cuidado.
Terrorismo de Estado y asesinatos de periodistas en la Rusia de Putin:
Ingushetiya, el medio digital propiedad de Yevloyev, ya había sido objeto de varios intentos de cierre por su cobertura crítica y exhaustiva de la brutalidad policial con que el presidente ingús, Murat Zyazikov, ex general del antiguo KGB, dirige la república caucásica. Ingusetia es una república pobre, de mayoría musulmana y fronteriza con Chechenia en la que una guerrilla de baja intensidad ha provocado que las autoridades desaten una campaña de acoso a los jóvenes musulmanes que precisamente había venido denunciando en los últimos meses. El medio dispone de un blog en lengua inglesa donde es posible consultar la cobertura realizada en los últimos meses. Rusia está en el puesto 144 en el índice de libertad de prensa de Reporteros sin fronteras, por detrás de países como Sudán, Singapur y Afganistán y seguida de Túnez, Egipto y Ruanda. Es el noveno país en el índice de impunidad para asesinar periodistas elaborado por el Comité para la Protección de los periodistas. Precisamente el sábado pasado, un grupo de personas se reunía en Moscú para conmemorar el 50 cumpleaños de la periodista Anna Politkovskaya, asesinada a tiros en la puerta de su casa el 6 de octubre de 2006. Plitkovskaya había denunciado las atrocidades del ejército ruso en Chechenia y la corrupción de las fuerzas de seguridad y de las autoridades rusas. ...más en El País - France 24 [English] - France 24 [Français] - The Guardian - Le Monde

Junio / Juin

Le prisonnier de Putin, Khodorkovski reçoit un soutien de France: Le député UMP Hervé Mariton a rencontré à Moscou la mère de l'oligarque emprisonné. Le sort de l'ex-magnat russe du pétrole Mikhaïl Khodorkovski, emprisonné depuis près de cinq ans, est redevenu un sujet diplomatique depuis l'entrée en fonction de Dmitri Medvedev. Lundi, un geste de soutien à la famille Khodorkovski, certes discret, est venu de France. La semaine dernière, Angela Merkel avait évoqué ce dossier sensible avec le président russe, en visite à Berlin. «Les questions concernant l'exécution des peines et la grâce ne doivent pas faire l'objet de négociations entre États», avait alors déclaré le nouveau maître du Kremlin. Il en va de la «souveraineté». Alors que la diplomatie française est toujours restée circonspecte sur l'affaire Ioukos (nom de la société de Khodorkovski) soucieuse de ne pas irriter inutilement le Kremlin, un député de l'UMP a rencontré lundi à Moscou Marina Khodorkovskaïa, la mère de l'ex-homme le plus riche de Russie devenu forçat en Sibérie. Hervé Mariton, étiqueté villepiniste, a pris cette initiative à titre individuel, mais il préside le groupe d'amitiés France-Russie. Il a pris soin d'en informer l'ambassade de France. L'ancien patron de Ioukos (démantelée l'an dernier au profit de la firme Rosneft contrôlée par l'État) a été condamné en 2005 à huit ans de prison pour fraude fiscale et risque un second procès pour détournement massif de fonds. dans Le Figaro


La OSCE no podrá supervisar las presidenciales rusas debido a la censura impuesta por el despota Putin: La organización denuncia las trabas impuestas por Moscú al trabajo de los observadores. La Organización para la Seguridad y la Cooperación en Europa (OSCE) ha anunciado hoy que no supervisará las elecciones presidenciales rusas del 2 de marzo en protesta a las trabas impuestas al trabajo de los observadores. “La Federación (Rusa) ha creado limitaciones que no son propicias para llevar a cabo la observación electoral”, ha indicado Christian Strohal, director de la Oficina para las Instituciones Democráticas y los Derechos Humanos (ODIHR) de la OSCE. “Lo que es válido para cada elección también es válido para ésta: la transparencia fortalece la democracia, la política de puertas cerradas la debilita”, ha subrayado. La ODIHR, encargada de evaluar los estándares democráticos en los comicios, ha mantenido una disputa con los responsables electorales rusos sobre el tamaño y las fechas de inicio de la misión de observadores para supervisar las presidenciales rusas. El anuncio se ha producido poco después de que la Asamblea Parlamentaria de la OSCE hubiera declinado una invitación para supervisar esos comicios. “Hicimos todos los esfuerzos de buena fe para desplegar nuestra misión, incluso bajo las condiciones impuestas por las autoridades rusas”, ha asegurado Strohal. Rusia, ha indicado el diplomático austriaco, estableció “severas restricciones sobre la composición y duración de la misión, de forma contraria a las anteriores elecciones supervisadas en Rusia”. ...más en El Mundo - El País


Putin y el fundamentalismo de una nueva Bizancio
Un influyente sacerdote ortodoxo, próximo a Putin, adoctrina sobre el "peligro del antiguo imperio" si Rusia se abre a los valores democráticos de Occidente. El archimandrita y prior de un monasterio ortodoxo Tijon Shevkunov, considerado cercano al presidente de Rusia, Vladímir Putin, fustigó a Occidente por su codicia y tendencia a las reformas en un documental estrenado el jueves en el canal estatal de la televisión rusa. Putin es un "cristiano ortodoxo practicante" y Tijon le ha acompañado en sus visitas a monasterios de provincias y en citas religiosas en el extranjero. Algunos medios rusos mantienen que el archimandrita, representante de una corriente conservadora, es también el padre espiritual del presidente. En todo caso, el sacerdote dispuso de más de una hora en un espacio televisivo privilegiado. Diplomado en cine, Tijon escribió el guión y fue protagonista del documental El desmoronamiento del Imperio. La lección de Bizancio. Formalmente, la cinta está dedicada al Imperio Romano Oriental, desaparecido con la toma de Constantinopla (hoy Estambul) por los turcos en 1453. Sin embargo, Tijon utilizó Bizancio como excusa para hablar de la Rusia actual. "El odio vengativo de Occidente hacia Bizancio y sus herederos, totalmente inexplicable incluso para ellos mismos, hasta un muy profundo nivel genético, aunque parezca paradójico sigue hasta ahora. Sin comprender este hecho sorprendente pero indudable, nos arriesgamos a no comprender no sólo la historia lejana sino la historia del siglo XX e incluso del XXI", afirmaba Tijon, que atribuyó la decadencia bizantina a la traición a dos principios: la identificación entre el Estado y la religión y la observancia de las tradiciones conservadoras y autóctonas del Estado fuerte y centralizado. Dejando volar su fantasía por la historia, el sacerdote aplicó de forma mecánica los problemas de Rusia a Bizancio para sacar conclusiones actuales. Tijon se refirió a los oligarcas bizantinos residentes en Roma y estudiantes bizantinos ricos en aquella ciudad (una alusión a Borís Berezovski y al papel del Reino Unido como tierra de acogida de rusos) y también a un oligarca encarcelado en la periferia del imperio (en alusión a Mijaíl Jodorkovski). En un recorrido por Venecia, Roma y Estambul, el archimandrita Tijon, en sotana y con una cruz al cuello, acusó a Occidente de despojar a Bizancio de sus riquezas e imponerle sus reformas (el Ejército profesional y el ingreso en la Organización Mundial de Comercio de la época). Tijon representó al adversario ideológico como una máscara veneciana y también como cerdos en plena comilona. "El documental de Tijon es un instrumento de propaganda que parte de la idea de Rusia como fortaleza acosada para aglutinar a la sociedad sobre una base antioccidental", señala el analista Vladímir Pribylovski, según el cual quienes aventan ese estado de ánimo con fines políticos "tienen dinero, vivienda, cuentas corrientes e hijos estudiando en Occidente". La cinta se enmarca también en los intentos de la Iglesia ortodoxa por lograr más protagonismo. Una de las preocupaciones de la Iglesia hoy es que el favorito del Kremlin, Dmitri Medvédev, resulte demasiado prooccidental. Según el padre Tijon, un "gran problema" de Bizancio fue "el cambio frecuente de orientación política". Con el cambio de emperador, señalaba, a menudo, cambiaba también radicalmente la orientación del imperio y eso debilitaba al país. "Hubo incluso un periodo cuando los emperadores cambiaban cada cuatro años como media" y en esas condiciones era difícil realizar "proyectos estatales de envergadura que exigían muchos años de trabajo consecuente". ...lea el artículo en El País

Jodorkovski, víctima del totalitario Putin, inicia una huelga de hambre en la cárcel de Siberia

El ex presidente directivo del grupo petrolero ruso Yukos, Mijail Jodorkovski, comenzó el martes una huelga de hambre en solidaridad con el ex vicepresidente de la compañía Vasili Aleksanian, encarcelado y enfermo de sida, comunicó en su página web oficial. "Me he enterado de que unos investigadores lo habían interrogado sobre mí y le habían pedido que suministrara pruebas que vienen bien a la acusación (...) a cambio de ayuda médica", escribe Jodorkovski en una carta dirigida al fiscal general Yuri Chaika. "Me encuentro ante una elección moral imposible: reconocer los crímenes que no cometí y salvar la vida de un hombre, pero rompiendo de esta forma la vida de inocentes que serán designados como cómplices míos", agregó. "Es por ello que me salgo del marco del procedimiento y os informo que inicio una huelga de hambre", según la carta, con fecha de 29 de enero. El responsable del departamento de aplicación de penas en Chita (Siberia Oriental), donde Jodorkovski purga su condena, amenazó con "castigar" al prisionero si "se negaba a comer". "Si la negativa a comer no está justificada, Mijail Jodorkovski será castigado por violación del orden interno", declaró Yunus Amayev, citado por la agencia Interfax.
...Jodorkovski, que al frente de la petrolera Yukos llegó a ser el hombre más rico de Rusia, fue condenado a ocho años en 2005 por cargos semejantes a los que penden sobre Alexanián en un juicio considerado por muchos como la venganza del Kremlin por su ambición política. Yukos fue fragmentada y nacionalizada en parte. Alexanián, el jurista jefe de Yukos, fue obligado a comparecer ayer ante el tribunal que lo juzga en Moscú. La semana pasada, ante el Supremo, acusó a la fiscalía de forzarle a dar testimonio falso contra Jodorkovski a cambio de tratamiento médico. El Supremo, no obstante, rechazó su solicitud de ser trasladado a una clínica fuera de la prisión. Las autoridades rusas ignoraban hasta ayer las peticiones del Tribunal de Derechos Humanos de Estrasburgo en ese sentido. Durante las seis horas que duró ayer el juicio contra Alexanián tuvo que ser llamada una ambulancia para atender al acusado, según la abogada Yelena Lvova. "Esto es simplemente un crimen a sangre fría. No participé en los episodios de los que se me acusa", dijo Alexanián antes de la sesión.

Según Lvova, Alexanián no está sometido a ningún tratamiento, pero según Alla Kuznetsova, una responsable del servicio penitenciario, se le da tratamiento en la clínica infecciosa de la prisión Matrosskaya Tishina. En las prisiones rusas hay 40.000 enfermos de sida y 44.000 enfermos de tuberculosis, según datos oficiales. El sistema penitenciario sufre de una crónica falta de presupuesto que afecta a las condiciones de reclusión. La población penal, de 883.200 personas el 1 de enero de este año, ha ido en aumento desde 2004, pero no llega a los 980.151 reclusos que había en 2001. El 40% de las instituciones penitenciaras fueron construidas en la época de Stalin y muchas de las cárceles urbanas son del siglo XVIII y están en estado ruinoso. ...más en El País - Globovision
Visite la web de apoyo a Mijail Jodorkovski
Y apoye al Comité internacional para Liberar a Mijail Jodorkovski y Paton Lebedev [The Committee to Free Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev].


La policía de Putin detiene otra vez al campeón mundial de ajedrez Garry Kaspárov, canditato por una Coalición Cívica a la Presidencia de Rusia: El ahora líder de la oposición "Otra Rusia" encabezaba una marcha de protesta contra el presidente ruso, Vladímir Putin, cuando fue retenido. El líder opositor y ex campeón mundial de ajedrez, Gari Kaspárov, ha sido arrestado hoy por la policía moscovita, junto a varios manifestantes opositores al gobierno de Vladímir Putin, después de que fuerzas antidisturbios dispersaran violentamente la manifestación que encabezaba hoy en Moscú. La protesta había congregado a unos 3.000 manifestantes, pero 150 de ellos intentaron atravesar el control policial para dirigirse a la sede de la Comisión Central Electoral donde tenían previsto enunciar un comunicado contra el Gobierno de Putin, según las autoridades. "Deberíamos superar el miedo sobre el que se sostiene en este régimen", ha afirmado el candidato presidencial por el grupo La Otra Rusia. "Para Putin, el país no es más que una fuente de riqueza", ha lamentado el ahora líder de la oposición y cabeza visible en las llamadas "Marchas de los Disidentes", organizadas el pasado año contra el Gobierno del presidente ruso. La Otra Rusia es una agrupación que reúne a los opositores al Kremlim, desde los partidarios del libre mercado a los anarquistas, y acusa a Putin de haber destruido las libertades personales y la libertad de prensa desde que subió al poder en 2000.
La agrupación también afirma que las elecciones de la Duma, programadas para el 2 de diciembre, están injustamente inclinadas hacia el partido pro Putin, Rusia Unida. Los manifestantes han coreado consignas contra el presidente ruso. “No a las elecciones. Por Rusia. Contra Putin”.
El miércoles pasado, Putin cargó contra la oposición a la que ha acusado, de la misma manera que hacía la dictadura, de recibir el patrocinio de gobiernos extranjeros.
...más en El País - El Mundo
Y en la web La Otra Rusia (en inglés y ruso)

Los servicios secretos tomaron el poder en Rusia con Putin:

Yuri Felshtinski presentó ayer en el Club Diario de Mallorca el libro 'Rusia dinamitada', que escribió conjuntamente con Aleksandr Litvinenko, el antiguo miembro del KGB envenenado con polonio en su exilio de Londres. Felshtinski aseguró que la impresión de que "Rusia era una nueva democracia" ha saltado por los aires y que el sustituto de Vladimir Putin será peor porque habrá sido colocado en el poder directamente por los servicios secretos.
...más en Diario de Mallorca

Rusia impide a la OSCE vigilar las elecciones legislativas de diciembre: El director de la Oficina de Defensa de la Democracia y Derechos Humanos de la OSCE (Organización para la Seguridad y Cooperación en Europa), Christian Strohal, informó que no podrá desplegar observadores internacionales en las próximas elecciones al Parlamento ruso, a celebrarse el 2 de diciembre próximo, por las "continuas restricciones impuestas por el Gobierno de Rusia". En un comunicado de prensa, Christian Strohal, director de la Oficina de Defensa de la Democracia y Derechos Humanos, organismo de la OSCE, explicó que los continuos retrasos por parte de Moscú en la autorización a los observadores y en la concesión de visados, hace imposible desplegar a su personal durante la jornada en que se celebrarán las elecciones legislativas. La organización pidió al Kremlin desplegar veinte expertos y cincuenta observadores en territorio ruso, lo que no fue posible por la falta de visados para los enviados de la OSCE. En su comunicado, Strohal también lamentó la falta de cooperación y apoyo de la Federación Rusa, que restringió sustancialmente los términos de la misión propuesta por la OSCE para poder estar presente durante el desarrollo de las elecciones a la Duma del próximo mes de diciembre. Por su parte, el portavoz de la Oficina de Defensa de la Democracia y Derechos Humanos, Urdur Gunnarsdottir, aseguró que "no podremos enviar a nadie, ya es demasiado tarde para poder desplegar eficazmente nuestra misión en territorio ruso". La Organización para la Seguridad y Cooperación supervisa los procesos electorales de los países europeos dentro de sus funciones normales, tal y como hizo recientemente en Polonia y Suiza. ...más en Libertad Digital


El Arte censurado por Putin: Dos de las obras previstas en la exposición Sots art: art politique en Russie, inaugurada en París, han visto prohibida su exportación temporal por el actual Gobierno ruso. En una, dos policías se besan. En la otra, aparecen Hitler, Stalin y Mao como grandes esperanzas de la humanidad. El sots art, equivalente soviético -y después, ruso- del pop art americano sólo que con una dimensión política explícita, se apropia de las imágenes y los lemas del discurso político para convertirlos en grotescos. El movimiento nació en 1972 en el apartamento de dos moscovitas, Vitaly Komar y Alexandr Melamid, y estuvo perseguido durante más de una década hasta la llegada de la perestroika. ...más en diario El País

Gorbachov crea un movimiento en defensa de la libertad: El ex presidente soviético Mijaíl Gorbachov, impulsor de la perestroika, acaba de fundar un movimiento político que ha bautizado con el nombre de Unión de Socialdemócratas de Rusia. El objetivo de la agrupación es "luchar contra las tendencias negativas" y la corrupción existente en el país, según manifestó el hombre que trató de reformar la Unión Soviética. ...el nuevo movimiento considera que "las posibilidades de elección democrática y de competición política son limitadas" y que "los socialdemócratas han decidido unirse para luchar por la libertad". La Unión de Socialdemócratas no participará en las elecciones parlamentarias que se celebrarán el 2 de diciembre ni en las presidenciales de marzo. Para poder participar en elecciones en Rusia hay que tener la condición oficial de partido político, y para obtenerlo hay que reunir una serie de condiciones.
...más en diario El País

Escalada de tensión entre la Casa Blanca y el Kremlin
Rusia redobló su apuesta contra EE.UU.
Putin señaló que defenderán "sus propios intereses" y develó la creación de misiles nucleares; insistió en poner fecha a la retirada de las tropas en Irak | Exterior | Jueves 18 de octubre de 2007
> Ir a la nota

Un general ruso denuncia los abusos del círculo de poder que rodea a Putin: Un responsable de los servicios secretos rompe el silencio y alerta de una guerra interna. Por primera vez, un alto cargo de Rusia, el general Víktor Cherkésov, petersburgués y allegado del presidente, Vladímir Putin, ha reconocido en público que la casta de los servicios de seguridad que gobierna el Estado, y a la que él pertenece, está enfrentada en una guerra intestina, que puede llevar a Rusia por el camino de las "peores dictaduras latinoamericanas". Cherkésov, que dirige el Servicio Federal de Control de Estupefacientes y fue jefe de los órganos de seguridad de San Petersburgo, tomó la iniciativa de publicar ayer un extenso artículo en el diario Kommersant. ...En él, el general exhortó a los miembros de los servicios secretos en el poder (la "corporación", según su terminología) a elegir entre asumir con disciplina militar la responsabilidad histórica de sacar al Estado ruso de la crisis de los años noventa o hundirse en la corrupción y aprovecharse del poder para enriquecerse. "No puede haber ganadores en esta guerra", escribe Cherkésov. "Hay demasiado en juego". ...Cherkésov prefiere la palabra "corporación" a "casta" para denominar la élite gobernante, formada por funcionarios de seguridad o chequistas, pero subraya que "ni siquiera a una casta le está permitido todo". "Una casta tiene sus normas, sus reglas. Una casta se destruye desde dentro cuando los soldados comienzan a convertirse en mercaderes", afirma. El artículo se inserta en la compleja lucha por el reparto de poder en el Kremlin cuando acabe el mandato presidencial de Putin y es también un alegato defensivo de Cherkésov tras el arresto de Alexandr Búlbov, uno de sus colaboradores inmediatos y de otros funcionarios de su departamento, que, a petición de la fiscalía, ayudaban a investigar dos grandes escándalos de contrabando de la época Putin en los que están implicados altos cargos de Seguridad, Aduanas e Interior.
...más en diario El País

¿Por qué Putin no encuentra los asesinos de la periodista Anna Politkóvskaya?:

Un año del crimen de la periodista rusa Anna Politkóvskaya, símbolo de la libertad de expresión de Rusia, fue asesinada hace un año, el mismo día en que Putin celebraba su 54 cumpleaños (su propio regalo). Del culpable de este despiadado crimen, que sin duda fue un aviso para todos los periodistas que trabajan en el país, aún no se sabe nada. Fue abatida a tiros en la escalera de su domicilio de Moscú el 7 de octubre de 2006. Dmitri Murátov, el director de Nóvaya Gazeta, el periódico donde trabajaba la periodista, asegura que la voluntad del presidente Vladímir Putin es "fundamental" para que la investigación -torpedeada desde varias instituciones del Estado-, pueda llegar a los promotores del crimen. ...Murátov colabora con el equipo investigador, dirigido por el fiscal de instrucción Piotr Garibián, y confía en su rigor profesional. No obstante, el periodista teme que "la gran política se mezcle" a la hora de determinar quién ordenó el crimen. Murátov afirma que el "criminal está en Rusia", aunque el fiscal general, Yuri Chaika, diga que el hombre que pagó y encargó el crimen está en el extranjero. ...El director de Nóvaya Gazeta está al corriente del sumario y conoce la envergadura de los intereses gremiales y políticos que, lejos de la vista del público, convergen (o chocan) en el caso de su colega asesinada. El periodista informado está -por ley- obligado a guardar silencio y puede ser procesado, si divulga lo que sabe. Tal vez por eso, Murátov parece hacer equilibrios en la cuerda floja cuando habla de la investigación. En ella ha habido progresos y también retrocesos. Hoy por hoy, las sospechas apuntan hacia una complicidad entre delincuentes y funcionarios de órganos de seguridad. "Existe una comunidad criminal de gente con galones, perteneciente a los cuerpos de seguridad y policiales, que están al servicio de una banda criminal", dice el periodista. En esta "comunidad delictiva", las "gentes con galones" utilizaron los recursos destinados a luchar contra el terrorismo o la delincuencia (base de datos, escuchas telefónicas, vigilancia) al servicio de los "bandidos" y fueron "recompensadas" por la ayuda. ...más en diario El País

34 esqueletos en un sótano de Moscú reviven el Gran Terror soviético: La policía señala que los restos podrían pertenecer a víctimas de las purgas políticas de Stalin. ... Más de un millón de opositores al poder soviético fueron ejecutados durante el Gran Terror, que alcanzó su clímax en 1937, cuando la policía secreta del NKVD se deshizo de una media de 1.000 personas al día. Las víctimas procedían todos los estratos sociales, desde líderes bolcheviques, oficiales del partido, mandos del ejército, “elementos étnicos peligrosos” y campesinos ricos. En Moscú se conocen varias fosas comunes de las víctimas de las purgas, incluyendo el paredón de fusilamiento de Butovo, donde cayeron cerca de 20.000 víctimas, pero a veces se encuentran cuerpos fuera de estas zonas. El historiador de la arquitectura Aleksei Klimenko asegura que el emplazamiento del nuevo hallazgo indica que fueron víctimas del Terror de Estado. “Tras la revolución fue un cuartel del Ejército Rojo y luego pasó a ser propiedad de la Lubianka”, señaló. “La NKVD prefería no ejecutar condenas en sus locales pero este lugar se encontraba a una distancia muy cómoda”. Nikolai Petrov, un investigador de Memorial, una organización dedicada a mostrar la represión política soviética, ha señalado que la comisión militar del Tribunal Supremo, que era la que dictaba las sentencias de muerte, también estuvo ubicada en un lugar próximo. ...Rusia ha intentado saldar las cuentas con el legado del Gran Terror, una cuestión espinosa que ha empeorado por el hecho de que, para muchos rusos, Stalin sigue siendo una figura heroica y un patriota, de quien se dice que o bien desconocía las ejecuciones o bien que los apoyó para conseguir un bien mayor. El presidente Vladímir Putin señaló, perversamente, en junio que los rusos no deben sentirse culpables por la era de Stalin porque “en otros paíes ocurrieron cosas incluso peores”. Otros políticos se le han sumado en el elogio del líder soviético. “En un tiempo en el que Stalin está siendo rehabilitado (por Putin y sus secuaces del siniestro KGB) y considerado como un héroe, esto nos recuerda el verdadero horror de aquellos días”, añadió Nikolai Petrov. ...más en diario El País


Kaspárov, elegido candidato único de la oposición a la Presidencia de Rusia: El ex campeón mundial de ajedrez luchará por sustituir a Putin al frente del Kremlin en los comicios de marzo de 2008. El político liberal y ajedrecista Gari Kaspárov ha sido elegido hoy como el candidato común de la oposición en los comicios presidenciales de marzo de 2008, cuando se elegirá al sucesor del actual jefe del Estado, Vladímir Putin. Kaspárov, líder del Frente Cívico Unido, ha sido escogido entre un total de seis candidatos durante un congreso federal de la coalición opositora La Otra Rusia, a raíz de los resultados de las elecciones primarias celebradas en varias regiones del país. ...más en diario El País - y en la web La Otra Rusia (en inglés y ruso)


Golpeados y detenidos representantes europeos y activistas que se manifestaron por la igualdad de los homesexuales en Moscú: El desfile gay que estaba programado para ayer en Moscú no pudo realizarse, ya que, al igual que el año pasado, las autoridades de la capital lo prohibieron. Sin embargo, un grupo de homosexuales se presentó ante la sede del Ayuntamiento para solicitar por escrito al alcalde Yuri Luzhkov que levantara la prohibición. Los gays no pudieron entregar el documento, pues fueron agredidos por nacionalistas y ortodoxos radicales, lo que motivó la intervención de la policía, que detuvo a unas 20 personas. ... La policía antidisturbios rusa detuvo el domingo en Moscú a varios diputados europeos y a un líder de la comunidad homosexual del país cuando preparaban la marcha del 'Orgullo Gay', sobre la que se abalanzaron con violencia ultraortodoxos y militantes de extrema derecha. ...más en diario El País - informaciones Terra Y pulse sobre la pantalla para ver cuando un extremista agrede al activista británico Peter Tatchell


Enemy of the state
Mikhail Trepashkin's investigations into crimes the Russian state does not want examined have made him a target.

Former FSB colonel Mikhail Trepashkin is serving a four-year sentence in a prison-camp in Sverdlovsk Region.
He is in solitary confinement, in a cell so damp that he has developed severe breathing difficulties. An asthma sufferer, Trepashkin now suffers up to three fits a day and can hardly sleep for lack of air. He has consistently been refused medical attention by the prison administrators, despite repeated requests by his lawyers and human rights activists for him to be examined by independent specialist doctors. While Trepashkin gasps for breath, barely able to speak to his lawyer, the prison authorities tell the world he is in good health.
The deterioration of Trepashkin's condition, and the deliberate manner in which the Russian authorities have sought to hide it from view, should cause grave concern. The tragic deaths of Alexander Litvinenko and Anna Politkovskaya are proof that enemies of Putin's Russia cannot expect to have long lives. There is a real danger that Trepashkin will be added to the list.
But who is this man whom Russia's rulers are bent on literally asphyxiating? Trepashkin was one of a group of FSB officers who, in a 1998 press conference, announced that they had been instructed to carry out a series of assassinations, but had refused to follow orders they regarded as criminal. Litvinenko was also among them, fleeing Russia in 1999 and finding refuge in the UK - though this didn't save him from the deadly polonium-flavoured cup of tea that took his life in November 2006.
Trepashkin resigned from the FSB in 1998, stayed in Russia and became a lawyer. He took part in the independent commission investigating the 1999 explosions in apartment buildings in Moscow and other cities, representing the Moscow victims in court. He tried to help those who felt themselves to be double victims - of both terror and the state, since it was the state that preferred to ignore their pain and sorrow. Moreover, though the authorities ascribed all blame for the Moscow bombing to Chechen separatists, Trepashkin did not hesitate to claim FSB complicity in the explosions.
In October 2003, a week before he was due to appear in court representing the family of one of the victims of the 1999 bombings, Trepashkin was arrested. The day before, he had contacted relatives of hostages held in the Dubrovka Theatre in 2002, telling them he wished to give them information relevant to their case. The police accused him of illegal possession of firearms - though he had a gun licence, and bullets "found" during a search of his flat didn't match his gun.

However, the main charge preferred was that Trepashkin had been "divulging state secrets". To whom did he reveal these secrets? To one of his former colleagues, FSB colonel Shebalin. The treatment these two officers received was strikingly different: though both had retired in 1998, Trepashkin was declared to be in possession of state secrets, while Shebalin was regarded as an uninformed civilian. The same case, the same year, but entirely different interpretations.
In July 2005 Trepashkin was taken to colony-settlement #13 in Sverdlovsk Region to serve his four-year sentence. But in August that year, the courts decided to release Trepashkin early, on account of good behaviour. Many in Russia sighed with relief - the country did have independent judiciary after all. Trepashkin started making plans for the future, and even made a short trip to Ukraine. Friends and acquaintances advised him not to return, dimly sensing that there may simply have been an "error" in the routine functioning of the machinery of reprisals.
Trepashkin's freedom lasted just 18 days. On his return to Russia, he was once more detained. No one knew his whereabouts until he showed up in the same penal colony. This time it had been decided to keep him in custody until the decision to free him had been reversed. The judge who had made the original decision was reprimanded; the chief officer of the prison colony, who had recommended Trepashkin's release, was demoted; the prosecutor who had supported the motion to release him was dismissed. With a different judge in place, the machinery resumed its normal operations. There would be no more errors in implementing the order to lock up Trepashkin.
To avoid any risk of Trepashkin once more being eligible for early release, the court postponed the final hearing of his case until March 2006. By that time, the prison colony administration had painted Trepashkin as a persistent rule-breaker. In November 2005, for instance, Trepashkin failed to greet the prison psychologist - a clear breach of the rules. In December 2005 Trepashkin was taken to a punishment cell: he had asked permission to bring 5ml-tester of perfume into the colony. In January 2006 he was reprimanded twice: firstly, for verbally insulting a prosecutor while hearing the response to his appeal - though the "witness" to this supposed outburst subsequently withdrew his testimony - and secondly, for disrespect towards the prison colony's doctor; though it was the doctor who had shouted at Trepashkin, refusing to treat his asthma. In February 2006, Trepashkin was put into a punishment cell for submitting an appeal to the prosecutor's office via his lawyer.
The pattern of persecution culminated on 15 March 2006, when Trepashkin appeared in court accused of "habitual and persistent" violation of prison rules. His lawyers tried to appeal against all these claims, but the judge simply postponed consideration of the case indefinitely - without providing any justification.
The judge also refused to accept a number of appeal the defence tried to submit. Russia's human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin deigned to intervene - a rare event - asking that Trepashkin be transferred to hospital; but to no avail. An appeal by Trepashkin's colleagues from the Moscow bar cast doubts on the lawfulness of his detention and conviction; the judge refused to take this into consideration either.
Trepashkin's health is now seriously deteriorating. One of his lawyers, Liubov Kosik, saw him on 19 March and said his condition is worse than ever before. A few days earlier Trepashkin had a fit in her presence, but when Kosik called for medical assistance, she was told he could not be sent to a hospital without authorisation from the military prosecutor's office. Trepashkin is currently not receiving any anti-asthma medication. On the contrary, to stop the fits, he is being given hormone injections in large doses - which, according to several specialists, could have serious consequences for his health, including the risk of his developing diabetes.
There are other dangers to Trepashkin in colony #13 besides the threats to his health. There have been numerous instances where the colony administration encouraged convicts to attack those prisoners who in their opinion deserved further punishment. Several convicts have dared to give testimony to the widespread maltreatment and brutal bullying that takes place there.
Immediately after the judge's verdict on 9th March, Trepashkin was taken to the colony's cells, despite requests from his lawyers to leave him in the settlement area for the weekend. His lawyers have appealed the court ruling, but have little hope that the charged against him will be dropped. According to his lawyer, "It won't happen until those whose crimes Trepashkin was investigating are no longer in power in Russia. Litvinenko's murder and the slow annihilation of Trepashkin are just new crimes to add to their criminal record. Their constant denial of medical treatment for Trepashkin and his suffering testify to it".
...published in The Guardian / more information in the following webs: DISBELIEF FILMS / Amnesty International / The European Court of Human Rights / Nominated to the SAKHAROV PRIZE FOR FREEDOM OF THOUGHT by Gerard Batten, MEP / the blog of Robert Amsterdam / The Independent / The Telegraph / El Mundo



El veneno, un arma habitual del Kremlim para asesinar criticos del corrupto Putin: ...En los años 30 del siglo pasado, cuando Stalin regía con mano de hierro los destinos de la Unión Soviética, el profesor Grigori Mayranovski fundó con ese fin un laboratorio secreto. Simultáneamente y también bajo el patronato del NKVD (predecesor del KGB), desarrollaba investigaciones similares un laboratorio bacteriológico encabezado por el profesor Serguéi Múromtsev. Condenado a 10 años de prisión en 1951 durante una campaña contra el "cosmopolitismo", que principalmente hizo estragos entre intelectuales de origen judío, Mayranovski escribió al jefe de la NKVD, Lavrenti Beria: "De mi mano fueron aniquilados más de una decena de enemigos del poder soviético, incluidos nacionalistas de todo tipo". Liberado en 1960, el 'Profesor Veneno' murió de muerte repentina, lo que hace sospechar a los historiadores de que fue víctima de algún producto de sus propias investigaciones. ...más en diario El Mundo - Crónica mundial de la Infamia.

in solidarity with «Strategy-31»
Article 31 of the Russian Constitution grants Freedom of assembly, but Putin's regime does not, it represses, silences, kills any constitutional freedom or political opposition.
Thus every 31st Day of a month, let's protest in front of the Russian Federation Consulate of your City

If you live in London the protest is at 5 Kensington Palace Gardens - corner with Bayswater Road, London, W8 4QS next this Sunday the 31st at 6pm
nearest tubes: High Street Kensington, Notting Hill Gate, or Bayswater

Everyone who values Democratic freedoms may wish to support the Russian civic movement for the Freedom of Assembly, enshrined in Article-31 of the Russian Constitution. Thus you are invited to the rally which is going to be held at 6pm on Sunday, July 31st, opposite the Russian Consulate in Bayswater Road.
It has been two years since men and women in Russia started trying to use their constitutional right at least on the 31st day of the month, but each time they have been beaten up, dragged to police buses, detained, fined and arrested. This has been happening on Triumphalnaya Square in Moscow, near Gostiny Dvor in St. Petersburg and at numerous other places in Russian cities and towns. This is going to happen again in Russia on July 31st as well.
Let us support those who fight for their rights inside their own country!
Let us attract the attention of people in Britain to what is happening in Russia!
Let us show the Russian authorities that the protest movement against their actions is spreading all over the world!
Let us gather at 6 pm on July 31st in front of the Russian Consulate!
Every person counts and makes a difference.
...more in The Other Russia - Strategy 31

Human Rights in Russia

Free Ales Bialiatski!

por la Democracia en Rusia

Please support the civil Coalition for Democracy in Russia, lead by Garry Kasparov

Y apoye también la liberación de Mijail Khodorkovsky

Envenenada por Vladimir Putin

Es la mañana del 1 de septiembre. Resulta difícil creer los informes que llegan de Osetia del Norte: un colegio de Beslán ha sido tomado. Tengo media hora para hacer la maleta mientras pienso frenéticamente en cómo llegar al Cáucaso. Y se me ocurre otra cosa: buscar al líder separatista checheno Aslán Masjádov, hacer que salga de su escondite, que se entreviste con los secuestradores y que les pida que dejen en libertad a los niños.
En el aeropuerto de Vnukovo, un montón de periodistas intentaba subir a algún avión que se dirigiera al sur, al tiempo que se retrasaban los vuelos. Obviamente, hay gente que desearía retrasar nuestra salida. Utilizo el móvil para hablar sobre el propósito de mi viaje: "Buscar a Masjádov", "convencer a Masjádov".
Hacía mucho que no hablábamos abiertamente por teléfono, dando por hecho que las líneas estaban pinchadas. Un hombre se presenta como directivo del aeropuerto: "Le pondré en un vuelo a Rostov". En el interior del autobús, el conductor me dice que los servicios secretos rusos, el FSB [Servicio Federal de Seguridad], le han ordenado ponerme en el vuelo a Rostov. Al subir al avión, mi mirada se cruza con la de otros tres pasajeros: ojos maliciosos que miran al enemigo. Pero no les presto atención. Así me miran casi todos los agentes del FSB.
El avión despega. Pido una taza de té. El viaje por carretera de Rostov a Beslán dura muchas horas, y la guerra me ha enseñado que es mejor no comer. A las 21.50 tomo el té. A las 22.00 me doy cuenta de que debo llamar a la azafata, pues estoy a punto de desmayarme. El resto son recuerdos borrosos: la azafata llora y grita: "¡Vamos a aterrizar, sujétense!".
"Nos alegramos de que haya vuelto", me dice una mujer que se inclina sobre mi cama en el hospital de Rostov. La enfermera me dice que cuando me trajeron estaba "casi desahuciada". Luego susurra: "Querida, han intentado envenenarla". Las pruebas realizadas en el aeropuerto han sido destruidas, por órdenes que han venido "de muy arriba", dicen los médicos.
Mientras, el horror de Beslán continúa. Algo extraño está pasando en esta ciudad el 2 de septiembre: ningún funcionario habla con los familiares de los rehenes, nadie dice nada. Los allegados acosan a los periodistas. Les ruegan que les pidan a las autoridades algún tipo de explicación. Los familiares de los rehenes se encuentran ante un vacío informativo. Pero, ¿por qué?
Por la mañana, también en el aeropuerto, Andrei Babitsky queda detenido con un pretexto engañoso. Las autoridades también impiden viajar a Beslán a este periodista, famoso porque siempre lleva sus investigaciones hasta el final y habla abiertamente en los medios.
Se dice que Ruslán Aushev, ex presidente de Ingushetia rechazado por Moscú por pedir una resolución de la crisis chechena, de repente ha entablado negociaciones con los terroristas en Beslán. Ha entrado solo al colegio porque el personal de los servicios especiales responsables de las negociaciones no ha logrado ponerse de acuerdo en 36 horas sobre quién debía entrar primero. Los milicianos han entregado tres bebés a Aushev y posteriormente han liberado a 26 niños y a sus madres. Sin embargo, los medios intentan silenciar el valiente comportamiento de Aushev: no hay negociaciones, nadie ha entrado en el colegio.
El 3 de septiembre los familiares de los rehenes están en medio de un apagón informativo total. Están deseperados: recuerdan lo ocurrido en el asedio al teatro Dubrovka, donde 129 personas murieron cuando los servicios especiales lanzaron gas en el edificio y pusieron fin al pulso con los secuestradores. Recuerdan que el Gobierno mintió.
El colegio está rodeado por hombres con rifles de caza. Es gente normal y corriente, padres y hermanos de los rehenes que han perdido la esperanza de obtener ayuda del Estado; han decidido rescatar ellos mismos a sus familiares. Este ha sido un problema constante en los últimos cinco años de la segunda guerra de Chechenia: la gente ha perdido toda esperanza de obtener protección del Gobierno, y de los servicios especiales no espera otra cosa que ejecuciones extrajudiciales. Por tanto, intenta defenderse a sí misma y a sus seres queridos. Pero la defensa propia conduce a los linchamientos. No puede ser de otra manera. Tras el asedio al teatro Dubrovka en 2002, los rehenes hicieron un descubrimiento espantoso: hay que salvarse uno mismo, porque el Estado sólo puede contribuir a tu destrucción.
Y ahora ocurre otro tanto en Beslán. El Gobierno sigue mintiendo. Los medios fomentan las posturas oficiales. Llaman a esto "adoptar un posición amistosa con el Estado", lo que significa la aprobación de las medidas que toma Vladimir Putin. La prensa nunca le critica. Sucede lo mismo con los amigos del presidente, que son por casualidad los directores del FSB, del Ministerio de Defensa y del Ministerio del Interior. Durante los tres días de horror en Beslán, los medios informativos amistosos con el Estado no se atrevieron a decir en voz alta que los servicios especiales podrían estar haciendo algo mal. No se atrevieron a sugerir a la Duma y al Consejo de la Federación (Parlamento) que harían bien en convocar una sesión especial para examinar la crisis de Beslán.
La noticia principal es que Putin vuela de noche a Beslán. Le vemos dando las gracias a los servicios especiales; vemos al presidente Dzasójov, pero no se dice nada de Aushev. Es un ex presidente caído en desgracia porque instó a las autoridades a no prolongar la crisis de Chechenia. Putin no menciona el acto heroico de Aushev, y los medios permanecen en silencio.
El 4 de septiembre, un día después del terrible desenlace de Beslán, el país está conmocionado ante el impresionante número de víctimas. Y aún hay muchos desaparecidos, cuya existencia niegan los funcionarios. Todo esto fue tema de unos artículos brillantes y muy atrevidos publicados en el diario Izvestia bajo el titular: "Silencio en las altas esferas". La reacción del Gobierno fue rápida: Raf Shakírov, director del periódico, fue despedido. Izvestia pertenece a Vladimir Potanin, magnate del níquel, que durante todo el verano ha estado temblando por miedo a correr la misma suerte que Mijail Jodorkovski, el hombre más rico de Rusia, en la actualidad detenido y acusado de fraude.Sin duda intentaba ganarse el favor de Putin. El resultado ha sido que Shakírov, un gestor de talento, ha quedado fuera de juego, como un disidente de nuestros días sólo por desviarse ligeramente de la línea oficial.
Se podría pensar que los periodistas han organizado protestas a favor de Shakírov. Por supuesto que no. El Sindicato de Periodistas Rusos y el Sindicato de Medios Informativos no han dicho ni pío. Sólo si uno es leal al Gobierno es tratado como uno de los nuestros. Si esta es la postura de los informadores respecto a la causa que servimos, es el fin del principio fundamental de trabajar para que la gente sepa lo que ocurre y tome las decisiones correctas.
La tragedia de Beslán ha demostrado que las consecuencias de los apagones informativos son desastrosas. Los ciudadanos rechazan a un Estado que los deja en la estacada e intentan actuar por su cuenta, tratan de rescatar a sus seres queridos y de ejercer su propia justicia sobre los culpables. Más tarde Putin declaró que el drama no tenía nada que ver con la crisis de Chechenia, de modo que los medios dejaron de cubrir los hechos. Así es que Beslán es como el 11-S: se trata de Al Qaeda. No se ha vuelto a mencionar la guerra de Chechenia. Es absurdo, pero ¿no sucedió lo mismo en la época soviética, cuando todos sabían que las autoridades decían tonterías pero se pretendía que el emperador iba vestido?
Estamos retrocediendo a marchas forzadas hacia el abismo soviético, hacia un vacío informativo que significa la muerte por nuestra propia ignorancia. Sólo nos queda Internet, donde la información aún circula libremente. En cuanto al resto, si uno quiere seguir trabajando como periodista, ha de mostrar un servilismo total hacia hacia Putin. De lo contrario, puede encontrarse con la muerte, una bala, un veneno o un proceso, lo que nuestros servicios especiales, perros guardianes de Putin, consideren más oportuno. ...publicado en El Mundo

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English version from Babelfish.