Russia: Press freedom violations June 2019
10 Jul 2019

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.

32 Incidents

Reporter detained in St. Petersburg while covering election registration scheme

29 June 2019 – Kasimir Vranski, a reporter with local media outlet Nablyudateli Peterburga, was detained while trying to enter the office of the election commission of the Yekateringof district, OVD-Info reported. Vranski was assigned to cover the detention of Polina Kostyleva, who was arrested while trying to register as a candidate with the election commission for the upcoming election. She, along with other independent candidates, could not access the commission for several days due to fake queues formed by unknown individuals pretending to be registering as candidates.



Categories: Blocked Access

Sources: Police/State security

Journalist detained in Makhachkala

28 June 2019 – Idris Yusupov, a journalist with the Dagestan local media outlet Novoe Delo, was detained while covering a police raid that occurred next to the Makhachkala mosque, Tangim, Kavkazsky Uzel reported. 

Earlier, Makhachakala Muslims had complained about police raids occurring regularly on Fridays and mass detentions next to mosques. On June 26, Idris Yusupov took part in the series of solitary piquets against the arrest of Chernovik journalist Abdulmumin Gadjiev. 


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation, Blocked Access

Sources: Police/State security

Chechnya judge sued 18 media outlets for defamation

26 June 2019 – Igor Daurkin, a judge in Zavodsky district court of Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic, filed defamation lawsuits against 18 media outlets, Glasnost Defense Foundation reported. 

Daurkin was wrongfully mentioned in an article of Kommersant news outlet, “Regions demand to eliminate gas debts following the example of Chechnya,” which covered the Zavodsky district court decision to forgive Chechnya’s 9 billion rubles (about $143 million) gas debt. Kommersant later corrected the article, deleting the mention of Daurkin, but his name remained in republications of the original Kommersant article in other media outlets.

In his lawsuit against outlet, Daurkin wrote that Kommersant had not only spread false information about him, but also attempted to convince readers that “the judge’s decision was a contagious bad example.” According to Daurkin, the publication caused “social tension in Russia, and a flurry of demands and appeals to forgive gas payment debts.”

The lawyer for Mikhail Benyash said in a blog post that judge Daurkin filed lawsuits against at least eighteen publications throughout the country, including media outlets from Irkutsk, Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Stavropol, Krasnodar, Belgorod and Moscow regions. “If each lawsuit demands 10 million rubles (about $160,000) compensation, like the one against, Daukin would value his moral damage at 180 million rubles ($2.8 million)”, Benyash said.


Categories: Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits

Sources: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party

Taiga.Info fined for link to a video containing profanity

26 June 2019 – A court ruled to fine Siberian regional media outlet Taiga.Info 5,000 rubles ($80) for including a hyperlink to a video of a mass beating of a local college student in their article covering the incident, reported. The video contained profane language.

“We are going to appeal this decision and are currently preparing documents for trial. We believe that hyperlinks leading to third-party Internet resources are not our responsibility. Our case is not the only one like this, but such fines are very rare,” said Taiga.Info editor-in-chief Vasily Volnukhin.


Categories: Criminal Charges/Fines/Sentences

Sources: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party

Novorossiysk mayor’s aide punched local journalist

23 June 2019 – In Novorossiysk, Olga Makarenko, a reporter with the local newspaper NASHA, was punched by an aide to the mayor of Novorossiysk. She was covering an incident at a sewer collector, which resulted in sewer water pouring into a local lagoon, NASHA reported. 

When Makarenko tried to film the incident, she was blocked by an employee of the city’s Vodokanal company, who then grabbed the reporter. At that point, a woman, who turned out to be an aide to the mayor of Novorossiysk, grabbed Makarenko’s smartphone and tried to delete the video of the incident. When Makarenko managed to take her phone back, the woman punched her in the head. Makarenko succeeded to free herself and ran away. The head of Vodokanal subsequently approached her and offered to pay a fine for obstructing journalistic activity. 

Makarenko was hospitalized with a possible concussion and acute vertebral injury. The editorial office of NASHA filed complaints with the police and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.


Categories: Physical Assault/Injury

Sources: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party

Journalist detained at a picket in Makhachkala, other journalists threatened

 22 June 2019 – Shamil Abashilov, editor-in-chief of Dagestani local newspaper Molodezh, was detained in Makhachkala at a picket in support of Abdulmamin Gadzhiev, the local journalist arrested on charges of financing terrorism in what human rights activists believe to be a fabricated case, MBH-Media reported. 

The eyewitness of Abashilov’s detention, his colleague Saida Vagabova, said that the police did not initially explain why Abashilov had been detained. “He [Abashilov] was taken to the Soviet police station. The police said a common phrase – ‘we ensure order’. We, the journalists who were filming it, were told that they would sue us, and that the photos we took should not be published anywhere,” said Vagabova.


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation/Intimidation

Sources: Police/State security

Kremlin cut out mentions of Golunov and protests in Shies from transcript of Putin Q&A show

21 June 2019 – The transcript of president Vladimir Putin’s televised Q&A show, Pryamaya Liniya (Direct Line), published on the official government website, was edited to cut out any mentions of Ivan Golunov, an investigative reporter who was detained on fabricated drug-dealing charges and later released due to public outcry, and Shies, a railway station in Arkhangelsk region that became the center of anti-garbage protests when it became endangered by the decision to build a garbage processing site nearby to resolve the Moscow garbage crisis. 

The question about the Golunov case came from the show’s host, Elena Vinnik, but her words were edited out in the transcription, and any mention of Golunov was deleted. However, Putin’s answer to her question still references Golunov, as he says “….so there should not be cases like with that journalist you mentioned.”

During the show, Putin was also asked about the recently implemented law that criminalized “disrespecting authorities” by the editor of MDK group on Vkontakte social media platform, Roberto Punchvidze. Punchvidze said: “Only a few days ago, in Arkhangelsk region alone, this new law was used to hold six people accountable – six people! – because of the comments in a group on ‘VKontakte’. One woman was fined for commenting on the news about the dump in Shies. I quote her: ‘They are completely brazen’”. 

In the transcript this question was edited to not mention Shies at all. The version posted was: “Only a few days ago, in the Arkhangelsk region alone, this new law was used to hold six people accountable – six people! – because of the comments in the group in ‘VKontakte’. One woman was fined for a comment. I quote: ‘They are completely bummed’”.

Later, The Insider reported that the mention of Shies had been returned to the transcript, but that the mention of Ivan Golunov had not.


Categories: Censorship

Sources: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party 

Court refused to grant journalist access to jailed ex-mayor of Yaroslavl

19 June 2019 – Zamoskvoretsky district court of Moscow ruled against Novaya Gazeta in the lawsuit they filed against the Federal Service for the Execution of Sentences (FSIN), which denied their journalist access to jailed former mayor of Yaroslavl Yevgeny Urlashov, Novaya Gazeta reported. 

In January, a representative of the FSIN twice denied Elizaveta Kirpanova, a reporter with Novaya Gazeta, access to Urlashov on the grounds that the planned interview was “inexpedient”, but could not explain why. The representative suggested that the refusal could have been motivated by messages of the operational situation, and stated that there was nothing that prevented journalists from applying for permission at any other time.

Kirpanova’s defense argued that the refusal to give her access to Urlashov should be prosecuted because it violated the right of a journalist to freely search, receive and disseminate information, and therefore violated the right to freedom of expression (Article 29 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation). In addition, they argued that FSIN violated Part 3 of Art. 24 of the Penal Code of Russia, arbitrarily and unreasonably refusing Kirpanova an interview on a socially important topic and not providing an alternate time for her to visit a prisoner. “The position of the FSIN is to create obstacles to independent journalists’ access to the penal colonies. We intend to appeal the decision,” said Olga Podoplelova, lawyer at the Institute of Law and Public Policy.

Novaya Gazeta claims that FSIN has recently denied its journalists access to colonies and prisoners at least five times.


Categories: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party, Court/Judicial

Sources: Blocked Access

Journalist arrested on terrorism charges in Dagestan

18 June 2019 – Adulmumin Gadjiev, editor of the religion department of the Dagestan local media outlet Chernovik, was arrested on terrorism charges, Chernovik reported.

The Sovetskiy district court in Makhachkala ruled to arrest Gadjiev on two charges – participation in a terroristic organization and financial assistance to terrorism (205.5, part 2, and 205.1, part 4, of the Criminal Code of Russia), punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

The court banned journalists from covering the hearing on Gadjiev’s arrest, citing the secrecy of the investigation as a reason to close the hearing.

Gadjiev was detained on 14 June, 2019. The police searched his home and seized his phones and other equipment. Another figurant in the case, businessman Kemal Tambiev — whose testimonies were used to charge Gadjiev —  said that he had been beaten and tortured by policemen. Gadjiev said that Tambiev later apologized to him when they met in the court, where  visibly bruised Tambiev claimed that he testified against Gadjiev under pressure.

 “The decree on initiation of a criminal case is abstract, and does not specify anything about the crime: neither the time, nor the place, nor the circumstances. It is simply written in the abstract: organized fundraising to finance ISIS. All of the questions were only about a man whom he interviewed in the past”, Gadjiev’s lawyer Arsen Shabanov told MBH Media.

Chernovik’s editorial office called the charges against Gadjiev ‘absurd’. “The accusation that Gadjiev financed terrorism is absurd and the police’s statement that ‘Gadjiev is suspected of transferring money to the accounts of [exiled Russian Islam preacher] Abu Umar from Sasitli village’ is twice as absurd. Gadjiev did not have any contacts with Umar – he nearly had no contacts at all”.

“We will fight to drop every absurd charge against Gadjiev, and will demand to bring to justice to those who openly fabricate accusations and empty criminal cases that break people’s lives”, Chernovik said in a statement published in its official Telegram channel.


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation

Sources: Police/State security

Ivanovo journalist Sergey Kustov remains under investigation for almost three years

            17 June 2019– Sergey Kustov, the editor-in-chief of the Ivanovo-based media group Bars, published an open letter asking investigators to either give the documents on his case to a court or close the case, Kommersant reported. 

            Kustov was detained in August 2006 on charges of commercial bribery. According to the investigation, he received 4 million rubles ($64,500) from then-deputy governor of the Ivanovo region, Vitaly Ilyushkin, for “actions aimed at creating a positive image of the [ruling] political party [United Russia] and its candidates”.

            Kustov believes that his case is motivated by the desire for revenge for his journalistic activity: “The prosecution was provoked by the former deputy governor of the region, Vitaly Ilyushkin, both for personal revenge against me for criticizing him in the media, including his corrupt activities, and for the purpose of carrying out a raider seizure of the Bars TV channel”, Kustov claimed. Kustov also believes that the case was fabricated by the head of the regional department of  the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bulayev.

            Kustov spent the first two months after his detention under house arrest, but was released on a 4 million rubles bail ($64,500). Kustov told Kommersant that he took out a loan for his bail and has already accumulated 700,000 rubles of debt ($11,110). Kustov claims that the investigators’ inaction lasted between  August 2016 to December 2018. Currently, his case is undergoing a third investigation, as the prosecutor’s office refused three times to give the documents to the court. “They all already understand that it is unlikely the case will reach the court, and they have told me this openly in the Investigation Committee. But everything rests, as far as I understand, in the hands of the head of the regional department of the Investigative Committee, [Alexander Bulayev], who believes that the case cannot be closed and will remain until the last”, Kustov told Kommersant.


Categories: Criminal Charges/Fines/Sentences

Sources: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party, Police/State security

Founder of Kaliningrad-based newspaper charged with arbitrariness, after spending 593 days under arrest on extortion charges

            17 June 2019 – Igor Rudnikov, an ex-deputy of the Kaliningrad parliament and the founder of the Kaliningrad-based newspaper Novye Kolesa, was charged with extortion, punishable by up to 10 years in jail, which would have made his case the most severe prosecution of a journalist in Russia. However, the court changed his charge to a much lighter one “arbitrariness”, punishable by a maximum of only6 months, which the Rudnikov’s defense believes was due to public outcry for the release of Ivan Golunov. Eventually, Rudnikov was found guilty and charged with 550 hours of public labor. The journalist, who had been under arrest for 593 days, was released in the courtroom. 

            Rudnikov was arrested on 1 November 2017 because of a complaint by the head of the Kalinigrad regional department of the Investigative Committee, Viktor Ledenyov. According to Ledenyov, Rudnikov demanded $50,000 to stop publishing defamatory articles about Ledenyov. 

The publication at the heart of the case, “Paradise life of general Ledenyov”, reported on the lavish lifestyle of the state official, whose declared yearly income was 75 times less than the cost of his luxurious property. On 1 November, police stormed the newspaper’s office and detained all of the journalists present for over 7 hours. At the same time, police stormed Rudnikov’s apartment and took him to the editorial office, where he fainted. He was taken to a police station unconscious two days after the court ruled to arrest him. Rudnikov has maintained his innocence, claiming that his case was revenge for the published article.

            While Rudnikov was under arrest in spring 2018, policemen seized all copies of the print edition of Novye Kolesa. After this, the editorial office decided to stop issuing print newspaper and focus on the website.  On 1 February 2019, the Kaliningrad court shut Novye Kolesa down on the orders of Roskomnadzor, the Russian state media regulator. 


Categories: Criminal Charges/Fines/Sentences, Court/Judicial

Sources: Police/State security, Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party 

New attempts to hack Telegram accounts of Ekaterinburg journalists

            17 June 2019 – The Telegram accounts of Rinat Nizamov, the head of a network of online local media in Ekaterinburg, Hearst Shkulev Digital, and Axana Panova, the founder of the regional media outlet, faced hacking attempts, editor-in-chief Dmitry Kozelev reported in his Telegram-channel.

            Earlier, at the end of May, seven journalists who were covering the mass protests against the construction of a church in a local park in Ekaterinburg reported similar hacking attempts to their Telegram accounts. 

            On 25 May, the founder of Telegram messenger, Pavel Durov, accused Russian authorities of the hacking attempts on the accounts of four journalists who covered the mass protests.


Categories: DDoS/Hacking/Doxing

Sources: Unknown

Police check Sota.Vision reporter on extremism

17 June 2019 – St.Petersburg police is conducting an investigation of Sota.Vision reporter Petr Ivanonv on suspicion of extremism, Sota.Vision reported.

According to Ivanov, policemen came to his home while he was absent and asked his parents about him and his whereabouts. A day later, a policeman called Ivanov’s father and told him that his son had to come to a police station for “a talk”, explaining that The Centre for Combating Extremism within Federal Security Service had requested to question the journalist about extremism.

Ivanov believes that the investigation may be connected to his coverage of protests by the Vesna movement.


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation

Sources: Police/State security

Meduza journalists summoned for questioning regarding Golunov case

17 June 2019 – Police summoned for questioning journalists at the Latvia-based news outlet Meduza, colleagues of the outlet’s investigative reporter Ivan Golunov, who was charged with drug dealing and later became a witness in drug-dealing case, Meduza reported. Golunov believed that his persecution was connected to his unpublished investigation on ties between top secret service officers and shady funeral businesses.


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation

Sources: Police/State security

National broadcasters ignored mass protests in Moscow

13 June 2019 – Four main national broadcasters that are directly or indirectly controlled by the government ignored mass protests in Moscow in support of Ivan Golunov and against criminal cases fabricated by police, where over 540 people were detained, Afisha.Daily reported.

There was no mention of the protests or mass detentions in newscasts from the news outlets Perviy, Rossiya 1, NTV and Ren-TV.


Categories: Self-censorship

Sources: Employer/Publisher/Colleague(s)

40 journalists detained in Moscow at rally in support of Ivan Golunov

12 June 2019 – 40 journalists were detained in Moscow at rally in support of Ivan Golunov, according to OVD-Info.

Among the detained journalists are:

Iliya Zhegulev and Andrey Pertsev, reporters for Medusa

Leonid Marantidi, a videographer for Medusa

Veronika Kutsylo, the editor-in-chief of MBH-Media

Vasiliy Polosnkiy, a reporter for the independent broadcaster Dozhd TV

Alexandr Chernyshev, a producer for the German media outlet Der Spiegel

Vitaly Petlevoy, a reporter for the Vedomosti newspaper

Evgeny Snegov, a reporter for the Ekho Moskvy radio-station

Andrey Mozzhukhin, a reporter for

Sergey Dik, a reporter for the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle

Daniil Primak, a photographer for Afisha.Daily

Nikita Grinin, a journalist for Novaya Gazeta

Mikhail Shevelev, a journalist for MBH-Media

Yury Zhalin and Roman Dorofeev, journalists for the Kommersant newspaper

Yan Potarksy, a journalist for Moloko Plus magazine

Pavel Yablonsky, a reporter for The Village

Anna Narinskaya, a publicist

Varvara Babitskaya, an editor for

Andrey Kovalev, a journalist for ROMB

Semen Sheshinin, the editor-in-chief of Batenka,Da Vy Transformer

Andrey Urodov, a journalist for Takie Dela

Anastasia Lotareva, the editor-in-chief of Takie Dela

Nadin Lakhbabi, a producer of Dozhd TV

Elizaveta Tyurina, a SMM-editor for Dozhd TV

Anastasia Chumakova, a reporter for Telegram-media Baza

Tatyana Voronova, a journalist for the international news agency Reuters

Petr Parkhomenko, a reporter within Kommersant FM

Emmanuel Grinchamp, a reporter for the Swiss newspaper Le Temps

Mikhail Kazinik, a journalist for Arzamas

Yulia Koshelyaeva, a freelance journalist who has written for Mel, Yod, Profil, Spektr, etc.

Konstantin Cherrnozatonskiy, a journalist who has written for Afisha, Kommersant, etc.

Ruslan Shaveddinov, a tv-host of the Navlny-live YouTube channel

Tatyana Malkina, a prominent journalist and the founder of Otechestveniye Zapiski magazine, who was detained with her daughter, Agata Gilman

All of the journalists were detained despite carrying valid press-cards, although some lacked written editorial assignment confirmation. Some journalists were released quickly after detention, while others were taken to police vans and police stations. All of the journalists mentioned were released after several hours without any charges.

Journalists Elizaveta Nesterova and Ilya Azar, who were among the organizers of the rally, were also detained and later charged with “participation in unsanctioned action that caused traffic disturbance”, punishable by up to 15 days in jail.

UPDATE: On 14 June, the editor-in-chief of the Takie Dela media outlet, Anastasia Lotareva, and the head of special projects for Takie Dela, Sergey Karpov, were fined  10,000 rubles ($155) each for violating the rules of public gathering.


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation, Criminal Charges/Fines/Sentences

Sources: Police/State security

Oblastnaya Gazeta editor-in-chief accused police of breaking his office door

12 June 2019 – Dmitry Polyanin, the editor-in-chief of the Ekaterinburg-based regional newspaper Oblastnaya Gazeta, accused policemen and officials from the regional department of information policy of breaking into his office. He posted photos of the broken door to his Facebook page.

According to Polyanin, policemen and regional officials who control the region-owned Oblastnaya Gazeta came to search the office while he was absent, broke the door to his office and seized documents, without providing a list of the seized items. The vice-governor of the Sverdlovsk region, Sergey Bidonko, called the incident “a regular check on the spending of state funding”.

Until recently, Oblastnaya Gazeta had an exclusive contract to publish the legal actions of the Sverdlovsk regional government.




Nevskiye Novosti fired reporter for supporting Ivan Golunov

11 June 2019 – St. Petersburg based news agency Nevskiye Novosti dropped its contract with freelance reporter Oleg Dilimbetov after he made a public comment in support of Ivan Golunov, an investigative journalist who was detained on fabricated drug-dealing charges.

Nevskiye Novosti published a statement saying that it considers unprofessional the “emotional statements of the journalist [Dilimbetov], who did not understand the situation or see the criminal case documents”.

On the same day, 11 June, Ivan Golunov was released and his case was closed. Two top policemen were fired for multiple process violations incurred during the journalist’s arrest.


Categories: Loss of Employment

Sources: Employer/Publisher/Colleague(s)

Snob office vandalized in Moscow

10 June 2019 – The editorial office of the Snob media outlet was vandalized, the editor-in-chief of Snob, Ksenia Chudinova, reported.

Security cameras recorded a moment around midnight when a seemingly drunk intruder broke into the office and went directly to Chudinova’s desk, where he smashed furniture and took her desk computer and a laptop. Afterward, he went downstairs and vandalized the office of another company. He then left the office, threw Chudinova’s computer away on the street and gave the stolen laptop to passers-by. Chudinova assessed the overall damage to be 500,000 rubles ($7,932), and police assessed the damage to be 90,000 rubles ($1,427). Chudinova could not connect the attack to any conflicts regarding Snob publications.

The police later detained a suspect, identifying him as a 24-year-old man from a post-Soviet country. His motives were not clarified.


Categories: Attack to Property

Sources: Known private individual(s)

Investigative journalist detained in Moscow on suspicion of drug dealing

UPD: 11 June – Ivan Golunov has been released and all charges against him dropped, and an investigation is ongoing. Golunov’s sentence of house arrest was never overruled, however he is ot required to remain on house arrest due to the closure of his case. 

6 June 2019 – A special reporter for Medusa known for his investigative reporting, Ivan Golunov was detained in Moscow on suspicion of attempted of drug dealing, Medusa reported.

According to Golunov’s lawyer, Dmitry Julay, Golunov was detained around 14:30 near Tsvetnoy Bulvar metro station. Several policemen stopped him and searched his backpack, finding a package with an unknown substance. Golunov said that the package did not belong to him. Another package and a scale were reported to have been found in Golunov’s apartment. Golunov was taken to a police station and told that he was suspected of attempting to sell mephedrone. He denied the accusations.

Golunov asked for examinations to be conducted of his hands and nails to determine if he had touched or consumed drugs, but police refused to do so. They also refused to conduct an examination of Golunov’s backpack. After his detention, Golunov was denied his right to call his lawyer or any friends or colleagues for more than 12 hours. According to the Golunov, police  punched and kicked him during his interrogation at the police station. He was also denied the right to call an ambulance.

The press-service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow told BBC Russian that the police found five packages of a powdery substance in Golunov’s backpack, and later found three more packages of the substance and a scale in his apartment. Golunov is suspected of illegal production and trade of drugs in high volumes, punishable by up to 20 years in jail and a ban on particular professional activities.

Golunov is known for investigative journalism, and has written about topics such as the businesses of a relative of Moscow vice-mayor, the embezzlement of state funds through contracts on street decoration, micro-credit companies’ schemes for illegal evictions, and shadowy funeral businesses. According to BBC Russian, before his detention, Golunov was working on an investigation about the ritual business in Moscow.

Galina Timchenko, CEO of Medusa, and Ivan Kolpakov, its editor-in-chief, published the following statement: “We are convinced that Ivan Golunova is innocent. Moreover, we have reason to think that he is being prosecuted for his journalistic activity. We know that in recent months Vanya had been receiving threats; we know which upcoming publication the threats were related to; we can guess who they were from. Medusa will be closely watching every action of the investigators in Golunov case. We will find out who is behind the prosecution of Vanya, and will make this information public. We will defend our journalists with every available means”.

Planting drugs on activists or independent journalists is a well-known police tactic to fabricate criminal cases. For example, in March, Oyub Titiev, the head of Memorial, a Chechen human rights organization, was sentenced to four years in a penal colony for possessing drugs. In 2016, Zhelaudi Guriev, a reporter for Caucasian Knot, was arrested in a similar case over marijuana possession and sentenced to three years in jail.


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

Sources: Police/State security

Russian Bandy Federation officially prohibits journalists to criticize judges and sports officials

6 June 2019 – The Russian Bandy Federation adopted amendments to the rules of national competitions, censoring journalists who cover games, reported.

The document, dated 14 May, contains the following paragraph: “Media representatives are prohibited from commenting, discussing and / or speaking negatively about the judging of championship matches, the officials of the Russian Bandy Federation and its Clubs, participants in the Championship and the Championship as a whole, as well as provoking such comments or discussions”. According to the document, journalists who do not comply with these rules can be deprived of accreditation and banned from covering the Championship.

The document also introduced new rules for the process of press accreditation. From now on, every journalist’s accreditation must be supported by a specific club, and if the journalist publishes something negative about the game, the club he/she accredited will be fined 100,000 rubles ($1,586). Moreover, the updated rules disqualify or ban from the competitions players who are suspected by the Russian Bandy Federation of “discrediting the Federation” by criticizing it in the media.


Categories: Censorship

Sources: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party

Editor-in-chief of got his car smashed

6 June 2019 – Dmitry Kozelev, the editor-in-chief of the Ural regional media outlet, found his car smashed and an unknown man sleeping in the front seat, Kozelev reported in his Telegram-channel. He suspected it was a regular hooliganism until he asked the man who he was. The man replied “I am for the park”, referring to mass protests against the construction of a church in a local park, which had been widely covered by

The intruder appeared drunk or otherwise intoxicated, and claimed that the car was his and he had not broken the back window. He then walked away. He was soon detained by police and identified as local 25-year old Evgeny Bratsun. A security camera video showed Bratsun attacking several cars before Kozelev’s, and then specifically targeting it,breaking the back window with a trash bin. The motives of the attack were not clarified by the police. Bratsun said he did not remember how he got into Kozelev’s car.

Journalists at had previously faced hacking attempts due to critical coverage of the planned construction in the park.  Kozelev himself was pressured by police to delete an image of a policeman, whose complaint spurred a criminal case against one of the protesters.


Categories: Attack to Property

Sources: Known private individual(s)

Over 20 journalists denied accreditation for St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

6 June 2019 – Over 20 journalists were denied press accreditation for the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, Open Media reported.

According to Open Media’s source among the organizers of the forum, the barred journalists did not pass the Federal Protective Service check that is protects high-ranking state officials.

Among the barred journalists was RBC editor Tymofey Dzyadko, who found out that he was denied a press accreditation without any explanation after he had already arrived to St. Petersburg.


Categories: Blocked Access

Sources: Police/State security

German journalism student fined and expelled from University for interview with eco-activists

05 June 2019 – Lukas Latz, a German exchange student from at Saint Petersburg State University, was fined, questioned and then expelled from the university for reporting on Chelyabinsk environmental activists protesting factory construction, OVD-Info reported.

According to Latz, on 28 May, he was visited by two policemen who told him that he had violated immigration rules by interviewing environmental activists while being in Russia on a student visa. Latz explained that the interview was conducted for his studies, specifically his thesis about the environmental movement in Russia. The policemen told him that he had to pay two fines 2,000 rubles each ($30). The next day after he was summoned to the police station, although he had not received an official note The policemen called him several times and told him to come to the police station urgently. After he paid the fines, he was questioned at the police station about his articles in the German media about Chelyabinsk environmental activists. He was specifically asked if he considered the environmental activists “extremists”, and if he covered Russian politics, after the police cited his mentions of the ruling party in his articles.

The same day, Latz was urgently summoned by his curator at Saint Petersburg State University and asked to sign back-dated documents about the conditions of his stay in Russia.

Two weeks later, on 14 June, he was expelled from Saint Petersburg State University and ordered to leave the country in five days. Latz is appealing his expulsion with a lawyer.


Categories: Criminal Charges/Fines/Sentences

Sources: Police/State security

Rosderzhava reporter detained in Moscow, his colleague questioned and menaced

4 June 2019 – Boris Ivanov, a reporter with Rodershava media outlet who reports on the abuses of power by policemen and judges, was detained near his home in Moscow, OVD-Info reported.

According to Ivanov, the policemen did not identify themselves or explain the reason for his detention. The police twisted the journalist’s arm and took away his phone. Ivanov was taken to the Tverskoe police station. Ivanov’s colleague, Anton Yadrov, a reporter with the local media outlet Krasnaya Moskva, tried to enter the police station as Ivanov’s defender but was violently ejected from the building by a policeman.

After the arrival of Ivanov’ lawyer, the policemen released the journalist without any charges.


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation

Sources: Police/State security

Police asked editor-in-chief to delete a photo of policeman

4 June 2019 – The Ministry of Interior Affairs in Ekaterinburg asked Dmitry Kolezev, the editor-in-chief of, to delete a photo featuring police major Evgeny Krukov from his Instagram account, Zona.Media reported.

Kolezev published a photo of Krukov from a protest against the construction of a church in a local park to accompany a story about Krukov’s lawsuit against one of the protesters, Stanislav Melnichenko, for insulting a representative of authority. In the photo, Krukov is dressed in plain clothes and has no signs of being a police officer, which accompanied a caption asking how protesters would know that he was a policeman. 

According to Kolezev, he received a phone call from a man who introduced himself as police major Evgeny Krukov and asked Kolezev to delete the photo, or at least to cover Krukov’s face. Kozelev also received a similar request in the form of an Instagram message from the account “uvdekb”, supposedly an account of Ministry of Interior Affairs in Ekaterinburg.

Kozelev refused to delete the photo. He wrote in his Telegram-channel, “You want a criminal case, but don’t want a photo. Well, sorry. He should bear some burden of publicity. Otherwise, he wants to perform as a victim, but doesn’t want to be a public figure. We need to know our heroes”.


Categories: Intimidation

Sources: Police/State security

Journalists barred again from covering Novoe Velichie trial

4 June 2019 – For the second time in one week, journalists were barred from covering the trial of the extremist organization Novoe Velichie (“New Greatness”), the charge of which the defendants claim was fabricated by secret services, reported. 

According to a Zona.Media reporter, the journalists were not allowed into the courtroom, and the video streaming the proceedings, which was organized by the court, was of such poor quality that the journalists could not hear anything. A similar situation ocurred at a previous hearing of the trial, on 27 May.


Categories: Blocked Access

Sources: Court/Judicial

Kommersant threatened with lawsuit on disclosure of state secrets; deletes publication in question

3 June 2019 – State news agency TASS reported that the Kommersant newspaper may be sued for disclosure of state secrets, citing an anonymous source close to the courts. 

According to the source, a lawsuit had already been filed in court to charge Kommersant with article 7, part 13.15 of Russian Criminal Code, “Use of mass media, as well as telecommunication networks, for disclosure of information that constitutes a state secret or other secret protected by law”, punishable by a fine up to 1 million rubles (15,360 USD).

On 5 June, Kommerant deleted the article “Su-35 will reinforce Egyptian power”, about the $2 billion contract for Russia’ to export several dozen Su-35 fighter jets to Egypt. The article was published in March, and was allegedly the publication at the heart of the lawsuit about disclosure of state secrets, Radio Svoboda reported.

In March, Rosoboronexport, Russia’s sole state intermediary agency for military exports and imports, denied that the contract with Egypt had been approved. Kommersant published an update citing the previously published article, based on two sources from the top management of companies in the military industry.

In April, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the USA will sanction Egypt if it buys Russian jets, since Rosoboronexport has been sanctioned by America since last year.


Categories: Censorship, Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits

Sources: Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party 

Production company sues YouTube blogger over film review

3 June 2019 – The film production company Kinodanz filed a copyright lawsuit against YouTube blogger Evgeny Bazhenov, the creator of the channel BadComedian, over his review on the film Za Graniyu Realnostu (“Beyond Reality”), Bazhenov reported in a video posted to his channel. 

Kinodanz claims that Bazhenov used more than the acceptable amount of footage from the film, which revealed the film’s plot and lead to a decrease in views on legal platforms. Kinodanz demanded compensation of 1 million rubles (15,360 USD) and the removal of the video from YouTube. Bazhenov argued that Russian laws do not define the acceptable amount of footage for review purposes, and believes that the lawsuit is related to his criticism of the films by Kinodanz, which were produced with Ministry of Culture sponsorship and were unpopular among audiences. 

“The situation is absurd, because every film [by Kinodanz] was produced using funding from the Ministry of Culture. That is, we – the taxpayers – pay for an attempt to censor critics”, Bazhenov said. 

After public outcry, Kinodanz announced that it was ready to settle with Bazhenov.


Categories: Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits

Sources: Corporation/Company 

Ekaterinburg journalist detained for visiting department of bailiff service

3 June 2019 – Anton Bulgakov, a journalist for the online media source Zakon I Poryadok, Pryamoy Efir (“Law and Order, Live Stream”), along with three human rights activists, was detained in Ekaterinburg for visiting a department of the bailiff service to inquire about the illegal eviction of a family, OVD-Info reported. 

Bulgakov and the human rights activists brought to the bailiffs a court decision prohibiting the eviction of a mother of two whose mortgaged apartment was sold to new owners. The head of the bailiff service called the police, and Bulgakov and the human rights activists were detained without any explanation. They were taken to a police station, where all four were charged with “disobeying police officers”. They were detained for six hours, and taken to a Leninsky court, which returned their cases to the police.  Bulgakov and the human rights activists were again taken to the police station, and were left there overnight without food and water. 

The next morning they were taken to the court again, and their lawyers filed several motions asking to use witnesses and videotapes, and to give them time for preparation. All cases were postponed, and Anton Bulgakov’s case will be heard on 17 June. 


Categories: Arrest/Detention/Interrogation, Criminal Charges/Fines/Sentences

Sources:  Police/State security, Court/Judicial

Research institute filed defamation lawsuit against Kommersant

3 June 2019 – The research institute Masshtab filed a defamation lawsuit against Kommersant over an article about the embezzlement of state funds through a contract with the Defense Ministry, RNS reported. 

The article “New episode arises around Voentelekom” was published on 22 October 2018, and reported that according to Kommersant’s sources, a check by prosecutors found that Masshtab and another research center charged the Defense Ministry with artificially high prices on telecommunication equipment, embezzling 275 million rubles (4,22 mln USD). The intermediary contractor between the research centers and the ministry was the state company Voentelecom, whose management was affiliated with the management of the research centers. Masshtab is also a part of the Automatica group, which is owned by the state corporation Rostech.

According to the head of the Kommersant legal department, Georgy Ivanov, Masshtab demanded the refutation and removal of the article, though no financial compensation was requested.  


Categories: Subpoena / Court Order/ Lawsuits

Sources: Corporation/Company, Government/State Agency/Public official(s)/Political party

Krasnodar investigative blogger shot and stabbed

 1 June 2019 – Vadim Kharchenko, a Krasnodar-based blogger and creator of the YouTube channel “Lichnoe Mneniye” (“Personal Opinion”), was assaulted and shot at by two unknown men, he reported in his video blog.

Kharchenko reported that, about two weeks ago, he had received a call from an anonymous man who introduced himself as a policeman willing to give him a flash-drive with evidence that local policemen had tortured detainees and fabricated criminal cases against innocent people, planting drugs on them and filing fake protocols. Kharchenko agreed to meet the alleged whistle blower on 1 June. That day, the man called again saying that he had to leave the area urgently by plane and the only possible meeting place was near the airport in late evening. Kharchenko agreed, but the man did not come to the meeting. On his way back to his car, somebody called Kharchenko’s name and when he turned around, shot him twice. When Kharchenko ran towards the shooter and tackled him, another man kicked him. The first attacker shouted: “Cut him”, and the second man stabbed Kharchenko in the liver and right arm. While Kharchenko tried to battle the second attacker, the first one shot him again in the back. Both attackers then ran away, shouting, “Vadim, leave [the town]”. Kharchenko went to a hospital and documented his injuries – three gunshot wounds, two cuts and a head injury.

Kharchenko believes that the attack was motivated by the posts on his YouTube channel, which has over 180,000 subscribers, but does not know who could be behind the attack. Kharchenko has criticized local authorities, reported and commented on protests and politically motivated  detentions of activists, and has conducted investigations into alleged abuse of police power.

Krasnodar police launched an investigation of the incident.

In summer 2018, Kharchenko lost his job at a private security firm because of his blogging, and his car was destroyed. In 2017, he was assaulted twice — first, he was hit by a car, second, an unknown man hit him on the head with a metal tire lever and stabbed him with a 11-cm nail. Neither attacker was found.


Categories: Physical Assault/Injury

Sources: Unknown

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