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Freedom of conscience and religion, Freedom of expression

Kremlin Donbas Proxies launch Russian-style ‘fight against Ukrainian extremism’

30.06.16 | Halya Coynash
While Russia continues, without any credibility, to deny its undeclared war against Ukraine, the Kremlin’s proxies in Donbas are introducing measures to ‘combat the ideology of extremism and terrorism’ copied straight from the Russian original.
News from the CIS countries

"Christ did not write denunciations!" Protest at mounting repression in Russia

30.06.16 | Halya Coynash
Courageous believers have held a third picket in Moscow affirming that denunciations and prosecutions for ‘offending believers’ feelings’ run counter to Christ’s teachings. Their protest came as Russia’s upper house of parliament passed a law which criminalizes failure to denounce others and makes it possible to prosecute 14-year-olds for taking part in demonstrations.
Freedom of expression, The right to liberty and security

Stark warning of Soviet-style dangers for Ukrainians visiting Crimea

29.06.16 | Halya Coynash
Ukrainian volunteer Natalya Vashchenko advises any Ukrainians travelling to Russian-occupied Crimea to be extremely careful, to avoid any comments on social networks or unnecessary conversations. Her recent experiences with the FSB make her advice well-worth heeding
News from the CIS countries

Human rights activist faces 2-year sentence under Russia’s notorious ‘foreign agent’ law

29.06.16 | Halya Coynash
If convicted of ‘maliciously evading’ compliance with the demands of Russia’s law on ‘foreign agents’, human rights activist Valentina Cherevatenko could face up to 2 years’ imprisonment. Her organization’s problems began after initiating a project aimed at monitoring implementation of the Minsk Agreement on the war in Donbas.
Politics and human rights

Using Democracy as a Weapon

29.06.16 | Brian Whitmore
There was something obscenely ironic about Kremlin officials and surrogates cheering the results of the Brexit referendum, given that a similar democratic exercise could never take place in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Politics and human rights

Kremlin’s Donbas proxies congratulate UK for ’doing what they did’ & voting for Brexit

28.06.16 | Halya Coynash
The Kremlin-backed militants of the so-called ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ [DNR] have congratulated Britons on voting to leave the European Union, and compared Brexit to their ‘referendum’ in 2014.
Freedom of conscience and religion

Russian FSB jails Crimean Muslims, then terrorizes their children

27.06.16 | Halya Coynash
The children of Crimean Muslims imprisoned in Russian-occupied Crimea on fictitious ‘terrorism’ charges have been accosted and frightened by FSB officers who tell them that their fathers are in prison and will stay there
News from the CIS countries

New attempts to force Russian citizenship on Crimean political prisoner Oleksandr Kolchenko

27.06.16 | Halya Coynash
Oleksandr Kolchenko, the Ukrainian civic activist tried together with filmmaker Oleg Sentsov on involvement in a non-existent ‘terrorist plot’, has been refused a visit from the Ukrainian consul with the prison authorities claiming that Kolchenko is a Russian national. Most ominously, he is being put under pressure to sign a Russian passport they have already prepared.
Deported peoples

“When We Return”: Poignant Affirmation on Crimean Tatar Flag Day

27.06.16 | Halya Coynash
The largest Crimean Tatar Flag in the world was unfurled in Kyiv on June 26, marking the 25th anniversary of a profoundly poignant anniversary for Crimean Tatars.
Politics and human rights

Brexit a gift to Putin, the far right & Trump, a blow to democracy

24.06.16 | Halya Coynash
Britain’s parliament is not legally obliged to heed this referendum. It probably will, but should not claim that this is “the voice of the people” when those who will suffer most and the longest had no voice and certain politicians and media misinformed their readers about the critical facts
Deported peoples

Russian propaganda claims soldiers who invaded Crimea were “peacekeeping mission”

24.06.16 | Halya Coynash
A monument to the victims of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars is to appear in Crimea, sculpted by the same artist responsible for the monument to the Russian soldiers used by Moscow to invade and annex Crimea and now referred to as ’peacekeepers’.
News from the CIS countries

New ’anti-terrorist’ law to unleash terror on Russia and Occupied Crimea

24.06.16 | Halya Coynash
Two and a half years after Ukraine’s Maidan forced the withdrawal of a law introducing sweeping dictatorial powers, Russia has passed a law which seems aimed at terrorizing and silencing civil society with direct impact for Ukrainians in Crimea under Russian occupation.
Politics and human rights

New Russian Fake ‘Ukrainian Separatism’ Season Gets Underway

23.06.16 | Halya Coynash
A fictitious ‘Assembly of Romanians of Bukovyna’ is for the second year running reported to be demanding greater autonomy for ethnic Romanians and complaining that the rights of minorities are violated in Ukraine
The right to a fair trial

Sentenced twice for pro-Ukrainian position in Russian-occupied Crimea

23.06.16 | Halya Coynash
The good news that a court in Russian-occupied Crimea had revoked a politically motivated sentence against Volodymyr Balukh was short-lived. The pro-Ukrainian activist has been tried on exactly the same absurd charges and received an identical sentence.
News from the CIS countries

Beatings and Arson Attacks: Is Online Dissidence Becoming Dangerous in Russia?

23.06.16 | Dmitry Treshchanin, Aleksandr Gorokhov, Claire Bigg
There have been a string of assaults and arson attacks targeting Russians who have openly criticized their government on social-networking sites.

  

Articles

Where is Russia’s ‘Minsk Implementation’ while so many Ukrainians remained imprisoned?

Halya Coynash
Nadiya Savchenko’s release is wonderful, but Western attempts to speak of Russia’s implementation of the Minsk Agreement seem at very best optimistic. There is little or no progress on freeing the other Ukrainians unlawfully held in Russia and a large, and increasing number of Ukrainians, most of them Crimean Tatars, imprisoned in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Crimean Tatar Mejlis Leader Arrested on ‘Extremism’ Charges

Halya Coynash
The charges against Ilmi Umerov, the Deputy Head of the Mejlis, or Crimean Tatar representative assembly clearly identify what Russia understands as ‘extremism’, namely opposition to Russia’s occupation of Crimea. Umerov is accused of “openly calling for the return of Crimea to Ukraine”.

Ukrainian blogger gets long sentence for expressing contentious views

Halya Coynash
Ruslan Kotsaba, a controversial Ivano-Frankivsk journalist and blogger, has been convicted of obstructing the legitimate activities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces by producing a video in which he set out his opposition to mobilization. The Ivano-Frankivsk court did, however, acquit him of the more serious, and absurd, charge of ‘state treason’

How Russia Terrorizes Children & Destroys Lives in Occupied Crimea

Halya Coynash
Safiyeka and Bekir Kuku have not seen their father since armed officers burst into their home in Yalta on Feb 11 and took Emir-Huseyn Kuku away. It is not the first time their father, a lawyer and human rights activist has been detained since Russia’s annexation of Crimea.  This time, however, the children’s Babashka has not come home

Russia bans Mejlis, declares war on Crimean Tatar people while the West watches

Halya Coynash
A Crimean court has formally completed its criminalization of the Mejlis, or self-governing body of the Crimean Tatar people. There have been no serious threats of sanctions or other measures from European structures and western countries although this is a direct attack on the main indigenous people of Crimea

Why are Putin’s Enemies held in Ukrainian Prisons?

Halya Coynash
If Ukraine’s SBU has evidence that Olga Sheveleva, Anastasia Leonova and Pavel Pyatakov were working for Russia’s FSB, they have not revealed it. Yet they are being held in detention on the ludicrous grounds that they could flee to Russia, where each can expect arrest for their opposition to the Putin regime and support for Ukraine

Russia’s Invented ’Terrorism’ and its Crimean Muslim Victims

Halya Coynash
Eight Crimean Muslims, including a prominent human rights activist, are in detention in Russian-occupied Crimea and facing long prison sentences for fictitious ’terrorism’ based solely on claims that they are members of a peaceful organization which is banned in Russia, but not in Ukraine