16 December 2011

Although the Russian authorities did not overreact to peaceful protests in Moscow on 10th of December as we had seen previously (eg. Strategy 31 demonstrations), numerous instances of harassment were seen in Russia’s regions on that date as well as throughout the country, including its capital, on other dates after the elections. The Steering Committee of the EU-Russia Civil Forum is appalled by brutal treatment by the Russian authorities of participants of protests against results of the parliamentary elections in Russia in the recent days, including detention of hundreds of people across the country, sentencing of many participants for unusually long terms of administrative arrest in unfair trials, and denial of medical care to some of the detainees, in particular Sergey Udaltsov whose health condition is in grave danger. We demand immediate release of all people detained in various cities of Russia in the period from December 4 to December 10, 2011 in connection with the rallies protesting the results of the elections to the State Duma and call for respect by the Russian authorities of fundamental freedoms of expression and assembly during the planned protest demonstrations in the coming weeks.

According to reliable sources, at least 569 people were detained in Moscow on December 5, 2011, around 300 were detained in Saint Petersburg on various occasions of protest actions, and several more hundred people were detained across the country during protest demonstrations on December 10. According to information provided by official webpages of Moscow district courts, 228 people detained on December 4 and December 5 have been sentenced to various terms of administrative custody, including political and civil activists Ilya Yashin, Alexey Navalny, Vsevolod Chernozub. One of organizers of protest rally in Moscow on December 5, Igor Gukovskiy was sentenced to 15-day administrative custody for alleged resistance to the police although he voluntarily went with them after the authorized rally was over. In Ryazan, Sergey Ezhov and Konstantin Smirnov, both journalists with the Ryazan edition of Novaya Gazeta newspaper, have been subjected to several days of administrative custody for participating in peaceful protest.

Despite of absence of police harrasment of demonstrators during the large demonstration in Moscow on December 10, the situation was different in many cities acriss Russia. There are reports of people being detained and beaten by the polcie in Syktyvkary, Tula, Perm, Belgorod, Samara, Brjansk, Ryazan, Vladivostok, Rostov-on-Don, Pyatigorsk and other Russian regions on December 10. In Syktyvkar Ernest Mezak, deputy head of local Memorial human rights group, was beaten by the police after his detention on December 10, 2011. He was later hospitalized. In Ulyanovsk and Samara some of organizers of the protest were subjected to preemptive attacks preventing them from participating in the rally.

We express our strongest concern about the health condition and life of Sergey Udaltsov, the leader of the Left Front non-registered party. We demand providing Sergey Udaltsov with the best medical help to minimize the consequences to the dry hunger strike he has kept since December 5 and continuous denial to him of adequate medical help. We are appalled by credible reports about the law enforcement officers putting pressure on doctors resulting in refusal of his proper medical examination and provision of assistance. We demand that all the responsible for his ungrounded detention and subsequent imprisonment as well as denial of medical help be brought to accountability.

All responsible authorities of the Russian Federation must ensure all human rights of the citizens of the country as required by various international obligations the Russian state has signed up to, including freedom of assembly and free expression of people’s will and opinion regardless of their political position, fair trial and medical assistance which is of paramount importance for prisoners, in particular.

More information about life-threatening circumstances of Sergey Udaltsov’s detention and denial of adequate medical help can be found at the following web site:


Steering Committee of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum:

Fraser Cameron (EU-Russia Centre, Brussels, Belgium)
Oksana Chelysheva (FINROSFORUM – Finnish-Russian Civic Forum, Helsinki, Finland)
Yuri Dzhibladze (Center for Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Moscow, Russia)
Alexey Kozlov (Groza, Voronezh, Russia)
Stefan Melle (German-Russian Exchange, Berlin, Germany)
Danuta Przywara (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Warsaw, Poland)
Olga Sadovskaya (Committee against Torture, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia)
Sergey Simak (International Socio-Ecological Union, Samara, Russia)
Natalia Taubina (Public Verdict, Moscow, Russia)
Rostislav Valvoda (People in Need, Prague, Czech Republic)

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