Galina Yuzefovich, Meduza’s resident literary critic, reviews three post-apocalyptic narratives, including an audio series that is the first of its kind in Russia.
In what’s become the only legal option for citizens who wish to protest without enduring the cumbersome, time-consuming process of obtaining a city permit, Muscovites lined up for a “solitary picket” outside the presidential administration building on September 18 to take turns standing in silence, holding banners in support of Pavel Ustinov, the actor who was recently sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for allegedly injuring a National Guardsman at a protest on August 3.
In a meeting with Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin agreed to consider reforms to Russia’s election laws. The president said officials need to look at how the political system’s “existing tools operate in real life,” in order to determine where improvements are needed “for the benefit of Russia’s people.”
Dozens of Russian Orthodox Church clergy have released an open letter defending election protesters who have been arrested or sentenced to prison time in the so-called “Moscow case.” The letter, which was published on the outlet Pravoslavie i mir (Orthodoxy and the World), had 42 signatories at the time of this writing.
Moscow’s Meshchansky Court has begun hearing the case against 26-year-old computer programmer Aidar Gubaidulin. He stands accused of attempted violence against a police officer: During Moscow’s July 27 protest, the programmer threw a plastic water bottle in the direction of a group of officers and National Guard troops who were beating other demonstrators. The bottle missed the officers, but Gubaidullin is nonetheless being held in a pretrial detention center, and he may receive a lengthy prison sentence. Meduza spoke with Aidar Gubaidullin’s brother, Ildar, about the case.
The crew of a poaching vessel from North Korea has attacked a Russian border patrol ship in the Sea of Japan, the FSB reported to the wire service TASS. Three Russian servicemembers were injured as a result.
In the Russian Baltic outpost of Kaliningrad, a former school principal is on trial. Lyudmila Osipova had led the region’s prestigious Lyceum Number 49 for 30 years when, in 2017, a scandal unfolded.
Every year, Russian courts issue about 1,000 sentences under Article 286, Part 3 of Russia’s Criminal Codex. While there is no formal definition of “torture” in Russian criminal law (which makes government torture very difficult to track), it is Article 286, Part 3 that punishes violent overreach by government officials and members of the military. While 1,000 convictions per year may sound like a lot, that number has been gradually declining: In 2009, more than 1,800 convictions were issued under the statute, while in 2018, that number sank to less than 800. While acquittal rates in all Russian criminal cases are extremely low, they are relatively high in Article 286 cases. A new report by attorney Maxim Novikov, who works with the human rights group “Zona Prava” (Rights Zone), adds hard to find-context to those statistics and many others. The report, titled “Violence by Security Forces: Crime Without Punishment,” examines more than 250 court rulings as well as judicial statistics. Because some rulings were redacted to exclude information about torture or the compensation civilians received, Novikov used 109 rulings as the primary basis for his report.
The producer Timur Bekmambetov has created a zombie apocalypse series for Snapchat, the popular American social platform in which photo or video messages are deleted from the receiver’s device after they are viewed. TASS reported that the series, Dead of Night, is shot for a vertical screen from the perspective of a young woman recording the apocalyptic events around her as she attempts to survive.
Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) has reportedly obtained a complete list of the Moscow residents who were registered to vote online during the city’s limited run of a new Internet election system on September 8. The list includes 12,000 names (9,810 people ultimately submitted online ballots) as well as contact information.