Russia: Press freedom violations May 2019
There were 27 incidents in Russia in May 2019 recorded by Index's monitoring project.
01 Jun 19


Index on Censorship’s Monitoring and Advocating for Media Freedom project tracks press freedom violations in five countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Learn more.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”27 Incidents” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Roskomnadzor organized “prophylactic workshop” for journalists on suicide reporting” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]30 May 2019 – In the Kostromskaya region, Russia’s state media regulator Roskomnadzor organized “a prophylactic workshop” for local journalists on suicide reporting, Zona.Media reported.

About 30 attendees were given a list with examples of what constitutes violations of the 2012 law about information, prohibiting description of means and motives of suicides. Examples included photos that were published on Facebook by Kiril Rubankov, the editor-in-chief of Kostroma.Today.

The examples included suggested distortion of facts. For instance, Roskomnadzor recommended journalists write “fell from a bridge (wanted to swim)” instead of “jumped from a bridge”; “was hit by a train by accident” instead of “jumped in front of a train”; “drown (wanted to swim)” instead of “drowned oneself”; “confused acetic acid with another liquid (for drinking)” or “got poisoned by something unknown” instead of mentioning substances that the person ingested; “suicide was accidental without motive” instead of description of the way one killed himself.


Categories: Soft censorship (government pressure on media groups)

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”St Petersburg governor left news conference without answering a single question” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]29 May 2019 – Alexander Beglov, interim governor of Saint Petersburg left a news conference without answering a single question and avoided journalists, reported. notes that usually Belgov prefers to invite to only loyal journalists news conferences. This time all media outlets were allowed to attend. However, after an introduction speech, Beglov left the conference hall and canceled planned press questions at the last moment. When some journalists tried to follow him, he ignored their questions and walked away.


Categories: Blocked Access

Source of Violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Roskomnadzor demands E1.RU to delete video streams of Ekaterinburg protests” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]29 May 2019 – Ekaterinburg local news website E1.RU received a letter from Russia’s state media regulator demanding to delete from E1.RU YouTube-channel two online video streams from the protests against construction of a church in a park, because of calls for extremist activity and unsanctioned rallies in users’ comments left below the videos, E1.RU reported.

E1.RU decided to delete all several thousands of comments left by YouTube users.


Categories: Legal Measures

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Moscow police opened administrative case against journalist for filming protest rally” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]29 May 2019 – Moscow police opened a case about administrative offence against Denis Styazhkin, journalist with online media outlet SotaVision for filming an unsanctioned protest action, Stayzhkin said on his YouTube channel. The case is opened under the article “Violation of the established procedure for organizing or holding a meeting, rally, demonstration, procession or picketing”

On 30 January, Styazhkin filmed a protest rally Bessrochny Protest, he was live-streaming video of the event and published a news report about it at SotaVision. According to police, the journalist was “filming the rally, therefore he was participating in it”. Styazhking found out about the admistrative case against him by chance, when a human rights activist Irina Yatzenko saw the related documents at Tverskoy district court. The first hearing of the case is planned on 13 June.


Categories: Criminal Charges/Fines/Sentences

Source of violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Students talk show cancelled ahead of episode with opposition activist” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]29 May 2019 – The Higher School of Economics shut down a student talk-show V Tochku.Persona ahead of a new episode with Lubov Sobol, a lawyer working with the Anti-corruption Fund and an opposition candidate at Moscow parliament election, MBH Media reported.

According to Sobol, she agreed to participate in the talk-show two weeks in advance and the filming was planned for 30 May. But a day before the agreed date, one of the talk show producers informed her about the project closure. “I was told that the project was shut down specifically by the university management”, Sobol told Medusa.

The editor-in-chief of V Tochku.Persona, Violetta Poludyuk confirmed that the project was closed without any explanations. The head of education programme of HSE and the head of the talk-show project, Sergey Korzun told MBH Media that the project was temporarily closed just for this academic year “because the exams session has started”. According to the official programme, project’s closure was scheduled for 31, May. However, in previous years summer break closure varied in dates, for example in 2018 the project was closed for summer on 17 June.

Sobol believes the closure of the talk show was ordered by HSE dean Yaroslav Kuzmenkov, who is also running for Moscow city parliament. “Dean Kuzminkov is very scared that I would talk about Moscow city parliament election and those who runs with support from the ruling party – a member of HSE academic council Valeria Kasamara and Kuzminkov himself. Kuzminov uses his administrative resource to shut down such show”, Sobol told Medusa, also accusing Kuzmenkov of involving HSE students in his political activity.

Kuzmenkov said that the project was already suspended in spring and the head of the project decided not to resume it in its current form. He also denied that Sobol was invited, saying that HSE did not send her an official invitation, “because inviting a politician running an active campaign for Moscow city parliament would be a violation of the university’s rules, that prohibit political activity inside the university”. The press service of HSE also said that invitation of new guests for the talk show was suspended in March because of the upcoming change of the show’s concept. The head of education programme of HSE and the head of the talk show project, Sergey Korzun told Medusa that the guests invitations are agreed jointly by him and students and Sobol was not invited at all, because the show was suspended. “It reminds me of a informational provocation, which could be stage by the campaign management of Sobol to hype on her plans to run for Moscow city parliament”, Korzun said.

Daria Fomenko, a student of HSE and a producer of the show V Tochku.Persona, told Medusa that despite a break in February caused by problems with the filming studio, the talk show continued to invite guests and publish talks with them on the show’s YouTube channel (the last episode was published on 21 May).

The talk show V Tochku.Persona has been produced for three years. In March 2018 it hosted Dmityr Peskov, the press officer of the president Vladimir Putin. Later the record of the episode with Peskov was deleted on his request.


Categories: Censorship

Source of violation: Employer/Publisher/Colleague(s)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Arkhangelsk journalist fined twice for the same protest coverage” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]28 May 2019 – Dmitry Sekushin, an environmental activist and reporter with local media outlet Svobodnaya Rech, was detained and charged with violation of mass actions rules for the second time for covering the same protest on 7 April 2019, reported.

On 14 May Sekushin was detained for the first time and charged with repeated unsanctioned rally participation, punishable with fine of 200,000 roubles (around 3,055 USD). In a police station the journalist felt sick and was hospitalized. Two weeks later, as soon as Sekushin left the hospital, a police major met him outside and demanded he go to a police station again, where Sekushin was charged for the same protest for the second time – for the following demonstration.

All together the journalist has to pay 400,000 roubles (around 6,110 USD) for covering the protest against sanitation reform, despite the fact that he was accredited with Svobodnaya Rech and had a press badge.


Categories: Criminal Charges/Fines/Sentences

Source of violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Police seized print copies of regional communist party’s newspaper” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]28 May 2019 – In Novomoskovsk, Tula region, police stopped a car of distributors of Tulskaya Pravda, newspaper of regional communist party, and seized printed copies without any explanations, OVD-Info reported.

According to Vera Serebrovskaya, press-secretary of regional communist party, the incident took place at 2am, when the car was travelling from a printing house in Dzerzhinsk. The car was stopped by traffic patrol service officers. Later other policemen arrived, including the head of the regional criminal search department. He ordered a seizure of the newspaper copies. Police did not seize printed copies of other media oultets that were transported in the same car. Later the seized copies were delivered to the police station in Novomoskovsk. According to Serebrovskaya, the were registered with an inspection protocol, nota seizure protocol.

The seized issue of Tulskaya Pravda was dedicated to sanitation reform and its criticism; it also included a publication of the agreement between Moscow and Tula regions about close cooperation in the field of waste disposal, which suggests that Moscow garbage could potentially be sent to the Tula region.

According to Serebrovskaya, a few days before the seizure, a representative of the local branch of the ruling party United Russia called the printing house and offered money for information on the date of printing of the next issue of Tulskaya Pravda. The printing house’s employees refused to disclose such information.

Earlier in May, police seized Tulskaya Pravda copies several times and accused one of the newspaper’s distributors of “production and distribution of extremists materials”.


Categories: Attack to Property

Source of violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Banker sues Kommersant for the article about embezzlement” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]28 May 2019 – Russian banker Valdimir Kvasnyuk, who was named by Kommersant as one of the owners of Promsberbank that lost a license in 2015, filed a defamation lawsuit against Kommersant, RNS reported.

Kvasnyuk said the article was false and defamatory. The piece — “Loans written off on Kaluga land. The case about the embezzlement in Taurus bank submitted to the court”  — was published on 21 Janury 2019 on the Kommersant website and in the print version of the newspaper. The article described the embezzlement of 235 million roubles (3,5 mln USD) from Taurus bank with fake land deals in the Kaluga region. According to the paper the scheme involved Promsberbank and Kvasnyuk was named as one of the three people, who was giving orders to provide knowingly bad loans to a number of firms for the purchase of land; as a result the deals were not closed and the money disappeared. Officially Kvasnyuk is involved in the case as a witness.

Georgy Ivanov, the head of Kommersant legal department, said that they did not receive notice of a lawsuit by Kvasnyuk, but earlier the banker sent them a complaint demanding to delete the article.

The hearing of the case is planned on 25 June 2019.


Categories: Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits

Source of violation: Known private individual(s)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Journalists barred again from covering Novoe Velichie trial” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]27 May 2019 – Journalists were barred from covering the trial of the extremist organization Novoe Velichie (“New Greatness”). Defendants claim the charges were fabricated by secret services, reported.

According to Zona.Media reporter, the journalists were not allowed to be in the courtroom and the video streaming organized by the court was of a poor quality and the journalists could not hear anything.


Categories: Blocked Access

Source of violation: Court/Judicial[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Roskomnadzor demands to delete YouTube video about Ekaterinburg protest” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]27 May 2019 – Nikolay Bondarenko, a member of Saratov regional parliament from Communist party, recieved a request from Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor to delete video about Ekaterinburg protests from his YouTub channel Dnevnik Deputata (Eng: Deputy Dairy), Zona.Media reported.

Bondarenko received a letter, saying that the General Prosecutor’s Office decided on 21, May to restrict access to the video named “Fight with police in Ekaterinburg! Riot police, National Guard”

because of  calls for extremist activity in users’ comments left below the video. In the video Bondarenko was speaking about the protests in Ekaterinburg against construction of a church in a park and showing some footage of the scuffles of the activists  and policemen.

Bondarenko deleted the video.


Categories: Legal Measures

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Dagestan journalist summoned for questioning, put on “prophylactic” black-list” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]27 May 2019 – Idris Usupov, reporter with Dagestan regional weekly newspaper Novoe Delo, was summoned for questioning due to being registered in “prophylactic” black-list, which existence the Russian authorities deny.

In his Facebook post Usupov said that he was traveling to Saint Petersburg for social media marketing course and already after returning to Makhachkala received a phone call from St Petersburg Center to Counter Extremism: “You were visiting us, while you are registered in prophylactical list in the category “extremist” – we received a document about it from Dagestan colleagues”.

In March, Usupov was also detained for “prophylactical talk” in Moscow airport due to request from “regional colleagues”, as policemen explained it. Earlier he got detained several times for filming mass detention of Muslims near Makhachkala mosques.

Dagestan Ministry of Internal Affairs claim that they do not register people in prophylactic lists and all the order about it from the past were destroyed.  


Categories: Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits

Source of the violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Man with a knife attacks newspaper office after his article about Stalin was not published” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]27 May 2019 – A man with a knife attacked the office of Rodina, official newspaper of Communist party in Stavropol region, the governor of the region Vladimir Vladimirov reported.

The editor-in-chief Nikolay Bondarenko and three employees of the local headquarter of the Communist party were injured, two of them, Viktor Zinovyev and Vladimir Taziy, are members of the editorial council of Rodina newspaper. 

The attacker was detained, he turned out to be 72-year old , who has been registered with a local psychiatric institution since 2012. According to Baza, his name is Konstantin Sidneev and he was announced missing on 22,May while disappearing on his way to a library. 

The investigators believe, that the motive of the attack was a refusal to publish the attacker’s article. According to Baza, it was dedicated to Josef Stalin, the leader of the Communsit party Gennady Zuganov and the former presidential candidate from the Communist party Pavel Grudinin. Accodring to regional parliament member Viktor Lozovoy, the editors did not refuse to publish it, but postponed discussion of the article until the editorial council meeting.

The attacker pledged guilty.


Category: Physical Assault/Injury

Source of violation: Known private individual(s)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Khakasia official assaulted TV reporter because of questions on housing for wild fires victims” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]27 May 2019 – Ivan Litomin, reporter of Vesti.Dezhurnaya Chast news programme at state owned Russia 24 channel was physically assaulted and thrown to the ground by Sergey Zaytsev, the head of Shirinsky district in Khakasia region, Russia 24 reported.

Accompanied by a filming crew of two people, Litomin was interviewing Zaytsev, asking questions about the official’s luxurious mansion and about poor-quality houses provided by the government to those, who lost their houses in 2015 wild fires. Zaytsev was talking to the journalist in high voice and then tried to take away Litomin’s microphone, grab him and threw him down to the ground, shouting “Go away, I’m telling you, out from here”. After that aids of Zaytsev pushed the journalist out of the official’s office and were trying to prevent and an accompanying cameraman from filming.

After the video of the incident went viral, Evgeny Revenko, the secretary of the ruling party United Russia, a member of which Zaytsev is, publicly apologized; United Russia excluded Zaytsev. The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case on obstruction of journalistic activity.

Zaytsev himself called the incident “a planned provocation” of the journalists and claimed that Litomin fell by himself. “They broke into my office outside of working hours and started immediately accusing me, calling me a corrupted thief, telling that I have criminal past and asking if I am ashamed of being the head of the district. It lasted 10 minutes. It was impossible to talk to the journalist. I tried to push him out of my office. He was actively protesting. How can it be an assault, when three big men broke into my office, where I was alone, and two of them were physically stronger than me?”, Zaytsev told RIA Novosti. The official filed a complaint to police, asking to prosecute Litomin under the article “Offence to a representative of the government”.


Categories: Physical Assault/Injury; Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Federal Tax Service threatens to jail owner, demands to remove caricatures and articles” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]27 May 2019 – Boris Maltsev, the owner of a specialized accounting media outlet, with a monthly audience of 3 million visitors of mostly accountants and entrepreneurs, reported threats from Federal Tax Service (FNS) because of caricatures on state officials.

Maltsev said that in one day last week three tax inspections came to check his companies and he was summoned to Krasnodar department of Federal Tax Service (FNS) to “provide explanations regarding entrepreneurial activity”. When he came to FNS department the day after, the tax officers started questioning him as a witness, he refused to testify and suggested to send an official subpoena.

Later the same day, he got a call, saying that the tax officers “received an order” to jail Maltsev for a year and they had enough information on him to do so. To prevent this, the caller demanded to remove four caricatures on state officials published by Maltsev did so, and then received another demand to remove 96 collages from and one image published at his personal page at Vkontakte social network. Maltsev did so too, and then received a new demand – to delete at least 5 articles published at and follow a set of rules.

The rules were: 1) not to publish caricatures on acting state officials, including Federal Tax Service officials, not to use state symbols and officials names of state institutions in such caricatures; 2) not to criticize the work of Federal Tax service’s information systems, including AIS Nalog 3, and not to mention facts about failures in work of such systems, unless it was published in official press-releases by FNS; 3) not to hurt the reputation of state institutions, including FNS, by criticizing their actions and decisions.

At this point, Maltsev realized that following these rules would mean to destroy He refused to delete the mentioned articles and follow the mentioned rules. After that he started recieving several calls per day, demanding to delete the articles and follow the rules, and Matsev decided to publish a story about these threats.

According to Maltsev, two years ago the critique of FNS at already drew the attention of tax officers to his companies and they became a target of a series of a year-long tax checks, however no violations were found.


Categories: Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits; Intimidation

Source of violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Telegram founder confirms attempts to hack accounts of four journalists; three more claimed hacking attempts” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]25 May 2019 – The founder of Telegram messenger app, Pavel Durov, accused Russian authorities of attempts to hack the accounts of four journalists, who were covering the mass protests against a church construction in a local park in Ekaterinburg.

“It reminds us that the authoritarian governments will stop at nothing to violate the privacy of their citizens”, Durov wrote, saying that the hacking attempts failed due to the two-steps authentication.

Earlier attempts of hacking Telegram-accounts were reported by Dmitry Kolezev, the editor-in-chief of Ural website;  Nataliya Vakhonina, the editor-in-chief of news agency Mezhdu Strok’ based in Nizhny Tagil; Anton Olshannikov, the editor-in-chief of; Ludmila Savitskaya, reporter with MBH Media and Radio Svoboda; Andrey Varkentin, the author of Telegram-channel Glavny Kanal Ekaterinburga; Dmitry Andreev, reporter with Medusa website; Platon Mamontov, director of communications agency Magic Inc.


Categories: DDoS/Hacking/Doxing

Source of violation: Police/State security; Unknown[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Yugorsk local official threatens journalist over article about him” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]23 May 2019 – Anton Pantin, journalist with Yugorsk local media outlet Tochka News, filed a complaint to police about threats from Alexander Bekker, member of Yugorsk city parliament from the ruling United Russia party, MBH Media reported.

“I believe that these threats are connected to the investigations about members of the city parliament. They do not like that I am publishing these materials”, Pantin said. According to him, Bekker told him in obscene and brutal way that he would rape and injure the journalist, if he does not stop writing about him. Pantin gave MBH Media the record of the call from Bekker, saying “If I hear one more time that you wrote something about me, I will f**k you, I don’t know how, but everything happens”. The deputy also promised to “cut the face” of Pantin.

Pantin said that he takes Bekker’s threats seriously as he is a powerful and affluent man, and asked police to open a case about obstruction of journalistic activity. 


Categories: Intimidation

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Lipetsk journalist fined for offending prosecutor” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]23 May 2019 – Lipetsk court fined Dmitry Pashinov, a journalist with local Pravda newspaper, 30,000 roubles (around 458 USD) for offending prosecutor Andrey Pazhetnykh, OVD-Info reported.

The journalist has also spent 13 days in remand prison, although, he was charged under article 319 of the Criminal Code “Insulting a representative of the goverment” does not imply any detention. Because of jail time, the court said Pashinov did not need to pay the fine. 

Pashinov calls his case “an attempt to put pressure on press freedom” and believed that the trial was controlled by prosecution: the judge rejected around 30 defence motions. Pashinov, who pleaded not guilty, said he will appeal the court’s ruling.  

Pashinov is known for independent investigations and has had personal conflicts with Pazhetnykov. The journalist believes that the reason of the conflict is that he filed multiple complaint about Pazhetnykov’s actions or inaction related to checks initiated on Pashinov’s reports. When the journalist came to Pazhetnykov’s office to check the progress on one of such checks, the prosecutor tried to push the journalist out of the office and squeezed his hand by the door. Pashinov called the police, but Pazhetnykov said that the journalist insulted him and filed a complaint against him.


Categories: Criminal Charges/Fines/Sentences

Source of violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Roskomnadzor initiates administrative case against Taiga.Info for ‘profanity'” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]21 May 2019 – Russian state media regulator Roskomnadzor’s department in Siberian Federal District notified local website about an administrative offence report and summoned the media outlet’s editor-in-chief for “explanations and (or) drawing up a report of administrative offence”, reported. It may lead to the loss of the site’s media license.  

Roskomnadzor found violations in three articles published after 15 May about a collective beating of a student of a local college, citing the video record of the incident, in which one person said “Kill him, *****”. published a quote with stars instead of a swear-word and included a hyperlink to a video of the incident. Roskomnadzor accused the media outlet of “production and distribution of media materials containing profanity”.

“It remains unclear what Roskomnadzor saw in the text. Our editorial office meticulously follows the media law and has a right to demand similar behavior from the controlling institutions”, said Vasily Volnukhin, the editor-in-chief of

Earlier Sergey Averyaskin, a member of pro-government All-Russia People Front and the director of local architectural construction college, where the victim of collective beating was a student, wrote in his Facebook that he would file a complaint to Roskomnadzor about publications on the incident by and another local media outlet NGS.

“Today at the media forum of All-Russia People Front in Sochi, I am meeting the head of Roskomnadzor to talk about over the top actions of some of our regional media. NGS, and some other yellow press… they pissed me off”, Averyaskin wrote. He also published an image of buttocks on legs with a sign “Towards adventures!” and a caption “Greetings to Tayga”.


Categories: Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits

Source of violation: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party; Known private individual(s)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Ministry of Interior Affairs sues reporter and media outlets over publication on sexual harassment in police” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]20 May 2019 – The Chelyabinks department of Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) sued, Komsomolskaya Pravda-Chelyabinsk, Sibirsko-Uralskaya Mediacompania and reporter Larisa Zhukova for an article about sexual harassment in the Chelyabisnk police force.

Zhukova recorded former police officer Lubov Gerasimova, who described how she was sexually harassed by a police regiment commander and then abused and forced to quit after rejecting him. When she reported harassment to higher management, the commander openly threatened her and received a promotion. The recording was published by on 2 November 2018.

On 8 November 2018 the Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that it conducted the check of mentioned facts and found them false. MVD sued Lubov Gerasimova for defamation, demanding 80,000 roubles of compensation (about 1,230 USD). After that Gerasimova publicly apologized and accused Zhukova of making up the story, and MVD decided to sue the reporter herself and media that published or picked up the story.  

Zhukova published unedited audio recordings of her talk with Gerasimova on Facebook, claiming that she has other proof of her story too.


Categories: Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits

Source of violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Two Kommersant journalists fired over publication about Federation Council’s speaker” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]20 May 2019 – Kommersant’s reporter Ivan Safronov and deputy editor of the politics department Maxim Ivanov were fired over a publication about expected changes in the Federation Council, the journalists said in Facebook posts.

The publication “People To Make Speakers From” was published on 17, April and suggested that, according to the sources, the speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko could soon be replaced with the head of Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergey Naryshkin. The journalists were told that the decision to terminate their contracts was made by Kommersant’s stakeholder, who exactly it was and what caused displeasure with the mentioned publication was not disclosed.

Kommersant belongs to oligarch Alisher Usmanov, the owner of USM Holdings and the 9th richest man in Russia, according to Forbes.

Vladimir Zhelonkin, the chief-editor and general director of Kommersant, told BBC Russian Service that he personally made a decision of firing Safronov and Ivanov because the mentioned publication “was not written within the standards” of Kommersant. He refused to provide any further explanations.

An anonymous source in the Kommersant editorial office told BBC Russian Service that after the article in question was published, there were discussions about possible firing of Zhelonkin himself. Another source said that Matvienko complained about the mentioned publication to Kommersant’s owner Usmanov and after that the newspaper’s politics department had an urgent meeting.

At least 11 other journalists of Kommersant, including all 10 journalists of the politics department, publicly announced that they will quit the newspaper to show protest against firing of Safronov and Ivanov.


Categories: Loss of employment

Source of violation: Employer[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Photographer assaulted by policeman during protests in Ekaterinburg” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]15 May 2019 – Vladimir Zhabrikov, a photographer with news agency, was kicked by a policeman, who threatened to “take away your lenses”. Zhabrikov had a press badge on him.

Categories: Physical Assault/Injury

Source of violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Journalist detained during protests in Ekaterinburg” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]15 May 2019 – Vladislav Postnikov, civil activist, who was live-streaming from a protest for social media group Tipichny Ekaterinburg, was brutally detained by police. When he showed his press card to police maior Svetlana Babinova, she told him “Shovel this card into your ass”.

Her words were recorded by Postnikov’s live-stream. Later he was also denied a right to call his lawyer from the police department; policemen told him that he didn’t need a lawyer.


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation

Source of Violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Photographer assaulted during protests in Ekaterinburg” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]14 May 2019 – Anna Mayorova, photographer with news agency, suffered a tear gas attack while covering protests in Ekaterinburg against the construction of a church in a local park, reported. Mayorova did not see who sprayed the tear gas.

Categories: Physical Assault/Injury

Source of violation: Unknown[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”FSB officers visit parents of Open Media journalist” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]8 May 2019 – Two men who self-identified as FSB officers came to the Moscow apartment of the parents of Yulia Koshelyaeva, a journalist working for Open Media, the website reported.

The journalist’s mother, who was alone in the apartment at the time, refused to open the door. The men said that they had to talk to Yulia Kosheleva about her alleged membership in a terrorist organization Narodnaya Samooborona (the organization with such name is absent in the list of terrorist organizations maintained by Russia’s justice ministry). The men refused to show a subpoena for Kosheleva and and left a phone number and an address of FSB department, where they said Kosheleva had to come for questioning.

“I don’t know what they could come for. I was a member of group chats of Narodnaya Samooborona, because I was gathering information for articles about the organization. I have nothing to do with it”, Kosheleva said referring to open chat that has over 670 members.

Narodnaya Samooborona emerged in media, after an MSU student said that he was detained, tortured and forced to admit he was a leader of this anarchists’ organization. Kosheleva was covering the developments of this case for Open Media.


Categories: Intimidation

Source of violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Simferopol journalist arrested for 10 days for refusing to undergo medical examination” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]8  May 2019 – In Simferopol, journalist of local news outlet Primechaniya Evgeniy Gayvoronskiy was arrested for 10 days for refusing to undergo medical examination during his detention on 26, March, Novaya Gazeta reported. Previously Gayvoronskiy was arrested for 12 days for drugs usage in relation with the same detention.

Earlier in March Gayvoronskiy’s house was searched and his documents, notebooks, phones and computers were seized.

Gayvoronskiy is known for investigations about Yalta mayor Andrey Rostenko.

Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation

Source of violation: Police/State security[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Distributors of communist newspaper detained in Tula” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]

8 May 2019 – In Tula, five members of communist party of Russian Federation were detained while distributing party’s regional newspaper Tulskaya Pravda, OVD-Info reported. Policemen said they were acting by “the order from the management”.

Police seized 7,000 copies saying that the newspaper will be checked for extremist materials, despite the fact that for the seizure of printed copies a court decision is needed. The police also said that the detained activists will be checked for illegal trade, but later released all the activists without any charges.

Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation; Attack to Property

Source of violation: Police/State security


[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Three journalists detained at opposition rally in St. Petersburg” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]

1 May 2019 – At least three journalists were detained while covering a sanctioned opposition rally in Saint Petersburg, OVD-Info, Zona.Media and MBH-Media reported.

Freelance photojournalist who works under the name George Markov and photojournalist with St. Petersburg-based online news outlet Dva Stula Oleg Nasonov were brutally detained despite identifying themselves as press.

Makarov was also beaten by police. According to him, he got beaten with rubber buttons in the ribs and the head, his arm was bleeding. He was held at a police station for 2.5 hours and then was hospitalized without a protocol about any violations.

Nasonov was charged with violating public order and released after about four hours of detention. He will be required to appear in court and may be fined between 10,000 and 20,000 rubles ($152 to $305) if found guilty

In a separate incident journalist with local online broadcaster Sota Vision Petr Ivanov was detained as well. Ivanov, who is under 18 years old, was also held in a police station. He was told that he was detained for violating traffic rules as he was walking in a traffic lane, Rosbalt reported

UPDATE: 2, May – St Petersburg police is searching photographer George Markov, who was beaten and detained while covering 1 May demonstration, Zona.Media reported. The policemen came to Markov’s apartment when he was not home, however Markov’s neighbours let the police in and said that they were questioned about Markov. The photographer also said in Twitter that he received multiple phone calls from a deputy head of the police department №76, who demanded Markov to come to the police department to testify about the 1 May demonstration, threatening to otherwise come to the journalist.

Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation; Physical Assault/Injury

Source of violation: Police/State security

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