In 2015, former police officer Yevgeny Chistov was sentenced to 13 years in prison for treason. While Chistov was working in law enforcement in the Moscow suburbs, he passed confidential information about Russia’s police force as well as a number of other government agencies to the CIA. Meduza special correspondent Pavel Merzlikin made contact with Chistov, who is serving his sentence in a prison colony. Told in a combination of reporting and directly transcribed dialogues, this is his story.
On July 30, three days after thousands of his constituents confronted police in an unauthorized downtown demonstration, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin finally spoke out in detail about the protest against local election officials’ refusal to register independent candidates in September’s City Duma race. Appearing on the city’s television network, the mayor directly addressed the upcoming elections and the police response to last Saturday’s protest. Sobyanin made multiple remarks that are either flatly untrue or highly questionable.
On July 31, law enforcement officers raided the homes of two participants in Moscow’s July 27 unauthorized protest, as part of a growing investigation into the organization of supposed rioting. According to the website OVD-Info, investigators came early in the morning to the apartments of Vasily Kuzmin (the leader of the “Left Bloc” movement) and activist Sergey Fomin.
Supervisors have ordered all Moscow police officers to change the information posted on their personal social-media accounts, to make it harder to identify them, according to the website Baza, which doesn’t specify how it obtained this information. Officers have supposedly been instructed to remove any photographs where their faces are visible.
The official explanation for the murder of three Russian journalists in the Central African Republic on July 30, 2018, does not add up, according to a new report by the Dossier Center, released on the first anniversary of the deaths of journalist Orkhan Dzhemal, documentary filmmaker Alexander Rastorguyev, and cameraman Kirill Radchenko.
Police have reportedly opened a felony criminal case against Alexander Savelyev, a journalist who works for the MBKh Media outlet, according to Alexey Pryanishnikov, the coordinator of the Open Russia movement’s human rights project.
The press office for Moscow’s Interior Ministry announced that 3,500 protesters attended the city’s unauthorized demonstration on July 27. Officials say 700 of these people were in fact journalists and bloggers. Police arrested 1,074 demonstrators, claiming that “more than 600 offenders are not Moscow residents.”
As of July 29, forest fires have occupied more than seven million acres in Siberia and Russia’s Far East. A national environmental policy implemented in 2015 has pushed firefighters to let many of the fires burn completely untouched. Meanwhile, smoke has stretched across much of Russia’s enormous landmass, from the Pacific coast to the Volga River region. For more than a week, Russian Instagram users have been posting photos and videos of the results.
On July 29, a group of district courts in Moscow issued jail sentences to Ilya Yashin, Konstantin Jankauskas, and Alexander Solovyov, all of whom have attempted to register as candidates for the Moscow City Duma and been rejected for what they say are political reasons. Dmitry Gudkov and a number of other would-be opposition candidates for the capital’s citywide legislature may also face jail time. All of the candidates have been charged in connection with the mass protest that gripped Moscow on July 27: 1,373 people were arrested during the course of the event. Most of the candidates are also in the midst of an appeal process to have their candidacy applications reconsidered, and the glimmer of hope that process offers was one of the factors driving protesters into the streets on the 27th. Now, some of the opposition candidates’ supporters are worried that their jail sentences may eliminate what little chance they had of winning their appeals to run for office, which is the protesters’ primary demand. We asked Grigory Melkonyants, who co-chairs the “Golos” (Voice) election rights movement, whether those concerns are justified and why. His response is translated below.
Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny has been discharged from Moscow’s Hospital No. 64 and returned to a special detention center, his doctor Anastasia Vasilyeva told the independent TV station Dozhd. Navalny was hospitalized on July 28 with an official diagnosis of a severe allergic reaction, but Vasilyeva and another physician, Yaroslav Ashikhmin, noted symptoms so severe that they became convinced Navalny may have been affected by hazardous chemicals. The doctors faced significant resistance as they attempted to gain access to their former patient, but they managed to collect Navalny’s t-shirt and hair samples for analysis before he was released. As of July 29, the opposition leader’s official diagnosis was reportedly contact dermatitis.