Mass reprisals against protesters in support of Navalny

Mass protest in Moscow in support of Alexei Navalny

After the actions in support of Navalny, the isolation wards and special detention centers were overcrowded

The Kremlin denies that repression is being used in the country against citizens who supported opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who was recently sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.

«There are no repressions, there are measures taken by the police in relation to violations of the law, participants in illegal actions», – said the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov.

According to human rights activists, the number of people detained during the three rallies in solidarity with Navalny exceeded ten thousand people. Many of them were injured physically, some were seriously injured. The detentions have become the most massive in the modern history of Russia. Special detention centers and pre-trial detention centers in Moscow were overcrowded. People are tormented for hours in paddy wagons.

Peskov placed all responsibility for what was happening on the detainees themselves. According to him, the situation was not provoked by law enforcement officers, but «participation in unauthorized actions».

At the same time, the press secretary did not comment on the court decision to arrest the editor-in-chief for 25 days. «Media zones» Sergey Smirnov for retweeting a joke indicating the date of the protests.

Meanwhile, dozens of Russian publications and professional organizations demanded the release of Smirnov. It was supported, in particular, by the international organization «Reporters Without Borders».

«This is an open attack on high-quality Russian media that monitor police and court abuse», – indicated in the statement of the organization.

«Reporters Without Borders» condemned the trumped-up charges and demanded the immediate release of the journalist.

Alexander Ryklin: «25 days of arrest for a comic tweet – this is a reprisal against the publication»

Chief Editor «Daily journal» Alexander Ryklin believes that a planned and purposeful operation was carried out against Sergei Smirnov. In his opinion, only one thing is that the editor-in-chief «Media zones» was detained at the house when he went for a walk with the child, says a lot. «25 days of arrest for a comic tweet – this, of course, is a reprisal against the publication, which for a long time has occupied an important niche in the coverage of protest actions, the rampage of the police forces and any other lawlessness in the country, – he claims in an interview with the Russian Service «Voices of America». – Therefore, of course, we are only talking about reprisals. And, of course, there is also a certain educational moment here.».

The authorities hope to use his example to put all journalists in their place, stated Alexander Ryklin. He also noted that today few people seriously pay attention to Peskov’s statements..

«Just because they have nothing to do with reality., –explained the editor-in-chief «Daily journal». – This is some kind of sluggish spitting. The authorities are not even trying too hard right now to give all the delirium they carry – whether it be Peskov, Lavrov or whoever else – at least some semblance of plausibility. They deliberately demonstrate their disregard for how the world community and citizens within the country will react to it.».

Mass reprisals against protesters in support of Navalny

And all due to the fact that the Russian authorities have no more or less intelligible arguments to explain the lawlessness, which we all have witnessed, simply do not exist, Alexander Ryklin is sure: «That’s all they can say in this case. In fact, there is a clear attempt to justify the absolutely unmotivated brutality of the security forces, who commit atrocities outside of any right-wing field. One chaos is followed by another. We are already seeing a series of criminal cases initiated. The repression continues. Question – will there be enough prisons? But there are also sports palaces, stadiums, in the end», – summed up the journalist.

Nikolay Svanidze: «There was no need to detain so many people, the special detention centers would not be overcrowded either.»

TV journalist, member of the Presidential Human Rights Council Nikolai Svanidze agrees that Sergei Smirnov fell not under the general ice rink of repression, but under the individual. «After all, he is a very famous person, and it was not for nothing that they raked him along with everyone else., – highlighted by the TV journalist and human rights activist in the comment «Voice of America». – Undoubtedly, this is a separate case».

At the same time, Nikolai Svanidze thinks that the arrest of the editor-in-chief «Media zones» also reflects well the general situation with journalists: «Because I notice that recently, at protest actions, journalists are not treated as badly as others, but worse. This is also evidenced by the number of detained and beaten media workers.».

According to the calculations of the human rights project «Apology for protest», during the protest actions in solidarity with Alexei Navalny, more than 130 people, including journalists, suffered from the actions of the security forces.

«There was no need to detain so many people, the special detention centers would not be overcrowded either., – Nikolay Svanidze thinks. – There is also no need to prohibit actions to which people have every right in accordance with the Constitution, and then grab everyone in a row for violating a far-fetched ban. Of course, this is repression. One can argue about the degree of their harshness and ferocity, but this is, without a doubt, repression.».

In fact, the authorities, justifying the lawlessness, thereby encourage the security officials to continue to act in the same spirit, Nikolai Svanidze noted. In addition, it is clear that this is a policy handed down from above, he concluded..

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