Tag Archives: violence against activists in Russia

“In the Middle of a Reactionary Crowd”: Attacks on Journalists in the Moscow Region

Better late than never, we guess: the New York Times on the wave of assaults on opposition and muckracking journalists in the Moscow Region, including Mikhail Beketov and Yuri Grachev, in 2008–2009, and the “failure” of law enforcement officials to make headway in the investigations of these crimes. Especially touching is the story of Pyotr Lipatov:

Farther up the M-10 Highway is Klin, where an opposition rally was held in March 2009 to protest corruption and increases in utility rates.

As Pyotr Lipatov, editor of an opposition newspaper called Consensus and Truth, was leaving the rally, three men pushed him to the ground and punched him repeatedly on the head. “Even when I was unconscious, they didn’t let me go,” Mr. Lipatov said.

This beating was recorded on video by protesters. Mr. Lipatov’s colleagues used the video to track down the men who beat him. They were police officers.

While Mr. Lipatov, 28, was recovering in the hospital, he said two other police officers visited and urged him to sign a statement saying that he had provoked the attack. He refused. The police then issued a statement.

“According to Lipatov, filming the meeting with his camera, he found himself in the middle of a reactionary crowd, was pushed and fell to the ground,” the statement said. Two videos of the demonstration show a different sequence of events.

Officials later acknowledged that police officers had been involved in the attack, but they still brought no charges. Instead, they raided Mr. Lipatov’s offices, seized computers and brought a criminal extremism suit against him. They asserted that he had sought to foment “negative stereotypes and negative images of members of the security forces.”

Fearing for his safety and more criminal charges, he quit.

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End the Terror Against Social Activists in Russia!

End the Terror Against Social Activists in Russia!

Public Statement on the Attacks against Social Activists

Recently, criminal attacks against the leaders of trade union and social movements have clearly increased. Among the latest such incidents, we should note the attacks against Carine Clément, a member of the working group and a leader of the Union of Coordinating Councils; Alexei Etmanov, leader of the labor union at Ford-Vsevolozhsk; Mikhail Beketov, leader of the movement to defend the Khimki Forest; and Sergei Fedotov, leader of the deceived land shareholders of the Moscow Region. In addition, a great many activists fighting the infill construction that is happening in all our cities have been attacked. There have been murders, in particular, of antifascist activists.

This is not a random phenomenon, but a clear trend: active citizens who try to restore justice and defend their legal rights are more and more often subjected to brute force. With no other arguments at its disposal, the opposite resorts to criminal methods. While it is clear that in each situation it is a different group of people who commissions these crimes, the overall tendency demonstrates that excellent conditions for the further escalation of this brutal method of “social dialogue” have been created in Russia today. These conditions include lawlessness, the lack of criminal liability for violations of the law by state officials or members of the ruling elite, universal corruption, and the hypercentralization of authority in the absence of any form of control from below. Many cases of “political” attacks on activists have still not been investigated, and the guilty parties not be found, which gives the assailants a sense of impunity and thus provokes further crimes.

We say, Enough! Continue reading


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Leader of Deceived Land Shareholders Assaulted in Moscow Region

The Leader of the Movement of Deceived Land Shareholders of the Moscow Region Is Assaulted

The violence against social activists is escalating. We have learned that yesterday, November 13, at 6:45 p.m., Sergei Fedotov, the leader of the movement of deceived land shareholders of the Moscow Region, was attacked.

The incident took place in the village of Mikhalevo (Moscow Oblast), near Fedotov’s workplace. Fedotov was getting into his car when two young men armed with a baseball bats and a spray can ran up to him. One of them managed to spray tear gas into Fedotov’s face before Sergei could close the door and drive away. His glasses saved him.

The movement of deceived land shareholders of the Moscow Region, which represents twenty-eight settlements in Moscow Oblast, has for the last five or six years fought for the restitution of land shares stolen by raiders. The movement’s last well-publicized action was a picket in downtown Moscow on September 5, during which Sergei Fedotov was detained by police.

This was the third in a series of vicious assaults on social activists yesterday. As we have already reported, Mikhail Beketov, an opposition journalist from the city of Khimki, is now in the intensive care ward. On the morning of November 13, he was found unconscious in the courtyard of his home in the village of Starbeevo (Khimki District).

That same day, Carine Clément, director of the Institute of Collective Action, was attacked in Moscow by two young men who used a syringe to inject her with an unidentified substance.

For more information, call: +7-906-099-31-77 (Sergei Fedotov)

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The War on Russian Activists Continues: Mikhail Beketov Beaten Half to Death

Khimki Oppositionist Severely Beaten and Near Death 


 Prominent Khimki oppositionist and a defender of the Khimki Forest is near death. [Mikhail] Beketov, the editor-in-chief of Khimkinskaya Pravda, and a harsh critic of the local authorities, was found beaten half to death in the courtyard of his home (in the village of Starbeevo, Khimki District) on the morning of November 13. He was discovered by a neighbor lady, who immediately summoned paramedics. Drenched in blood and unconscious, the journalist was transported to the surgical department of the Khimki municipal hospital, where he is right now, hovering between life and death. Mikhail suffered severe head trauma and multiple fractures and injuries. According to doctors, these injuries are life-threatening. According to them, the least movement threatens Beketov with instant death.

Mikhail Beketov is primarily known for his articles critical of the Khimki municipal administration. It was Beketov who, in April 2007, drew the public’s attention to the desecration of the war pilots’ grave next to Leningrad Highway.

He has likewise covered in his newspaper the fight for Khimki Forest, which has been going on now for two years.

In May of last year persons unknown blew up his car, while in February of this year he was charged with criminal libel. At the beginning of November, Beketov distributed the new issue of his newspaper, in which he criticized the Khimki administration and reported on the situation with the Khimki Forest, which is scheduled to be cut down. In conversations with friends, Beketov on many occasions confirmed that he had been “threatened by bandits.”

Movement for the Defense of Khimki Forest:+7 495 645 99 02; +7 917 564 86 45; +7 905 784 04 54, 500 82 36



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