Oleg Kozlovsky’s English Weblog

Politics, Democracy and Human Rights in Russia

People Protest Despite More Police Brutality

with 10 comments

This was another rally at Triumfalnaya Square in a campaign for freedom of assembly (the campaign is called Strategy 31 after the paragraph 31 of the Russian Constitution that guarantees this right). Although the organizers fulfilled all legal procedures needed for arranging a demonstration, the Moscow government banned it for the seventh consecutive time. The pretext for the ban was a spoiler event organized by United Russia’s Youth Guard.

According to the media, 1000 to 2000 people came to Triumfalnaya Square despite the ban, which is more than at any of the previous rallies of this campaign. 140 to 170 of them were arrested. The protest was completely nonviolent; however the police actions were quite brutal. Most people including myself were arrested without a warning and dragged into special police buses (autozaks) by force. A lot of them were beaten and verbally insulted by the police at the time of arrest. Men and women were treated alike (at least we’ve got some equality). When I and other people at my autozak protested against our illegal arrest and cruel treatment, police officers beat us with batons and fists and strangled. I was lucky not to get only bruises and scratches; another detainee, Gazeta.ru reporter Alexander Artemyev, had his arm broken by the police at the custody. After we were already arrested, police used tear gas to disperse the crowd that remained on the square.

I was held at the autozak and then the police station for 9 hours (the law only allows for 3 hours of detention). I was charged with “participation in an illegal public event” and “disobedience to a police officer’s lawful orders.” The proofs were forged: police officers wrote false reports (their texts had been prepared by the Moscow police HQ and were similar for all the arrested) on my alleged offence; the reports were signed not by the officers who had arrested me. The penalty can be a fine and/or detention for up to 15 days.

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Written by Oleg Kozlovsky

June 2, 2010 at 01:56

Posted in arrests, events

Tagged with , ,

10 Responses

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  1. Dear Mr. Vladimir Putin,

    According to an article in THE NEW YORK TIMES, you were quoted as saying, “People’s right to express their disapproval of the government should be protected.” Of course, you went on to say something to the effect that this expression was lawful as long as those who did not wish to demonstrate were not disturbed. According to the same article, and eyewitnesses such as Oleg Kozlovsky, this nonviolent and orderly protest was disrupted by brutal beatings and arrests by police officers. Mr. Putin, as prime minister of a country widely respected for its hospitality, technological, cultural, and athletic prowess, how can you allow such unlawful treatment of your fine citizens to continue? As a fan of your country, I am hurt, shocked and dismayed. I expect more, we all do! My planned trip to your country in February was postponed due to a bout with the flu, but I hope to reschedule at a later date. I hope things improve in the interim. Our world needs the talent of your people, Sir. They have my respect. I hope they have yours.

    Sincerely,

    Sam Ogilvie, Jr.

    Sam Ogilvie

    June 2, 2010 at 07:04

  2. Oleg, maybe now it’s three hours expanded illegally to nine, but Putin is planning to extend it legally to TWO WEEKS:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,698542,00.html

    Comment?

    larussophobe

    June 5, 2010 at 06:43

  3. Here’s more on this horrifying new legislative initiative:

    http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/europe/Russias-Security-Service-Could-Gain-Powers-Formerly-Associated-With-Soviet-KGB-95682939.html

    Seems that activists need to make a serious effort to block this legislation.

    larussophobe

    June 6, 2010 at 01:53

  4. Oleg, would you please mind clarifying to your foreign fans why you feel the need to forcefully disassociate Solidarity from support for LGBT rights in Russia?

    Sublime Oblivion

    June 24, 2010 at 01:48

  5. Anatoly Karlin would you please mind clarifying to your foreign fans why you feel the need to forcefully not support the LGBT rights in Russia?

    LGBT rights in Russia

    The age of consent currently stands at 16 since 2003, regardless of sexual orientation.
    Transsexual and transgender people can change their legal gender after corresponding medical procedures since 1997.

    Homosexuality was officially removed from the Russian list of mental illnesses in 1999 (after endorsing ICD-10).
    There is currently no legal recognition of same-sex couples in Russia, and same-sex marriages are not allowed. Public support for gay marriages is at 14% As of 2005.

    Single persons can adopt children, regardless of sexual orientation, but only married couples can adopt children together, as a couple.

    Gay people officially can serve in the military on a par with heterosexual people since 2003, but they are not welcome there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Russia

    Boris

    June 27, 2010 at 23:55

  6. Boris, I do support LGBT rights in Russia as elsewhere. What I would like to know is why Oleg associates with and appears to condone those who don’t.

    Sublime Oblivion

    July 1, 2010 at 07:14

  7. 2Sublime Oblivion

    Briefly, the situation is as follows:

    1. The issue of LGBT rights is not a critical one in modern Russia. As Boris pointed out, there is currently no systemic discrimination against sexual minorities. They are free to do what they like, they have their own clubs, Websites and papers, they even have Duma deputies. The LGBT themselves don’t appear to be upset by the situation, considering the fact that even at the tiny so-called “gay parades” gays/lesbian make up at most a half of the participants (the others being human rights activists and other side supporters). The very issue is very much exaggerated by a small group of very devoted activists (I don’t want to discuss their motives here).

    There is, certainly, casual homophobia like in many other East European countries (e.g. Poland or Latvia). But I’m pretty sure that walking around with slogans like “A gay is ready to fight [for freedom]” is not going to solve this problem.

    2. At the same time, the issue of LGBT is a very controversial one for the opposition like for the society in general. Even in the West, there are different opinions as to what rights LGBT should have. In Russia, if you raise the rainbow flag and join the radical LGBT activists, you will immediately alienate the vast majority of the population and most other opposition forces–but still won’t be able to improve the situation for LGBT themselves.

    3. So, if somebody wants to draw us into a campaign on a minor issue that will split the opposition and marginalize us, the natural and logical reaction is to stay away from them. If you want to spend your time campaigning for (or against) same-sex marriages or legalization of light drugs, please do it on your own risk and don’t pretend to be doing that on behalf of the whole organization.

    Oleg Kozlovsky

    July 1, 2010 at 15:01

  8. […] it out of thin air. The words of the Nashi-activist character are based almost word-for-word on comments Oleg Kozlovsky made about gay rights activists in his English-language blog yesterday. Anatoly Karlin of Sublime Oblivion boldly asked Mr. […]

  9. I agree, the right of gay people to protest undisturbed is a minor issue in modern Russia, as opposed to the right of Strategy 31 to protest undisturbed (lol, you hypocrites!) .

    Maria

    July 2, 2010 at 18:51

  10. […] from the gay rights movement, or “radical LGBT activists” as he calls them, is remarkably similar to the Kremlin’s own arguments for dismissing the Russian liberal […]


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