Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Pussy Riot Prisoners Qualify for Amnesty… RF Supreme Court Sends Case Back to Lower Court

00 Pussy Riot. 17.08.12b


Editor’s Note:

Rosbalt posted arrant shit (yet again) on the Pussy Riot case (Stetson picked it up, but labelled it unreliable). It’s like Portal-Credo.ru (here’s some info on Roman Lunkin, the nutter behind Portal-Credo) and Civil Georgia… many see them as Langley-financed running dogs (I agree with that assessment), who post mostly white propaganda (truthful as far as it goes, but it never goes far enough), along with some outrageous black propaganda. Nevertheless, these sites are a “must read”; they tell you the Langley “party line” of the moment. For instance, it’s why Orthodox people should attend to Potapov, Mattingly, Dreher, Reardon, Paffhausen, and Webster; they toe the Republican Party line blindly, thoughtlessly, and unswervingly (indeed, they’re modern analogues of “Stalinistcadres), so, they can tell you the latest about that lot… fancy that.  Some of the intel on these sites is legit, just “spun” in a pro-American direction. In any case, Rosbalt just lost its registration in October, so, it may not be long for this world… good riddance to bad rubbish…



Jailed Pussy Riot members seem eligible for release under the terms of an amnesty that the RF Gosduma debated on Tuesday. The amnesty, to mark the 20th anniversary of the current Russian Constitution, applies to people serving sentences of up to five years for non-violent crimes, who haven’t previously served prison time. On Tuesday, Vladimir Lukin, RF Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the amnesty would apply to as many as 22,000 people. Mariya Alyokhina, 25, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, are serving two-year terms for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for taking part in Pussy Riot’s brief “punk prayer” protest against President Vladimir Putin at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in 2012. Their conviction caused a stir amongst human rights groups both at home and abroad.

The text of the amnesty conditions published on the RF Gosduma official website specifically lists mothers of underage children as being eligible for amnesty. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova each have a child aged under seven. The text of the amnesty, presented to the RF Gosduma by Putin for consideration, excludes those who “deliberately violated the established terms of their punishment”, although it wasn’t immediately clear what would constitute such violations. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, who deny their guilt, both received reprimands whilst imprisoned that judges cited in repeated rejections of parole appeals. Both women have release dates of March 2014.

Dmitri Vyatkin, deputy chairman of the RF Gosduma constitutional legislation committee, said that the authorities would consider each case on an individual basis. Vyatkin told RIA-Novosti, “People might not agree to be amnestied, if, for example, they don’t consider themselves guilty”. The publication of the conditions for amnesty shed light on the fate of several other high-profile prisoners or people facing charges in Russia. The 30 people from 18 countries arrested by Russian authorities on board a Greenpeace ship after a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic in September are also eligible for pardon. They faced charges of hooliganism and now await trial in St Petersburg. Former Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, charged with negligence amidst a scandal over the misuse of state funds, is also eligible for amnesty.

However, the amnesty won’t apply to all non-violent crimes. Opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who got a suspended sentence this summer for large-scale theft in what critics said was a politically-motivated case, won’t see his conviction erased under the amnesty. Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, a former Defence Ministry property department head charged over the illegal sale of government property, faces trial for crimes including large-scale fraud and money laundering, which aren’t included under the terms of the amnesty.


On Tuesday, the RF Supreme Court referred an appeal by three members of Pussy Riot against their prison sentence back to a Moscow court. On its website, the court said that it referred the case involving Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich to the Presidium of the Moscow City Court, a panel of judges tasked with reviewing sentences already in force. The women received two-year sentences to a general-level correctional colony in 2012 after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, for staging a “punk prayer” in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow’s, against Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency. Their imprisonment caused an international stir. Later, Samutsevich left prison on probation after appeal, but Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova now serve out their sentences, due for release next March. The Moscow City Court rejected an appeal against their sentences on 29 May. The defence team then appealed that ruling to the RF Supreme Court. Alyokhina, 25, and Tolokonnikova, 23, could be eligible for release under a proposed amnesty that the RF Gosduma began to consider Tuesday. The amnesty is to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the current Russian Constitution. The amnesty includes a provision for mothers of young children. Both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have children under the age of seven.

10/11 December 2013




Monday, 9 December 2013

BREAKING NEWS… Leaked: Amnesty to Free Pussy Riot and Greenpeace Activists

get out of jail free community chest


Editor’s Note:

Many thanks to the Cabineteer (you know who you are) who got to this to me tout suite. I can’t find everything on my own… I don’t deserve such good friends…



Media sources say that an amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution would free members of the Pussy Riot punk band, Greenpeace activists, and Bolotnaya Square demonstration protesters. The amnesty initialled by President Putin would free some 25,000 people. Interfax quoted Vladimir Vasilyev, deputy speaker of the RF Gosduma, “We’ll release around 1,300 people from prison, and relieve 17,500 people of non-custodial sentences. In addition, we’re terminating criminal proceedings against nearly 6,000 people”.

Several Russian media outlets, including Izvestiya and Vedomosti, obtained a copy of the draft amnesty, submitted to the Federal Assembly by President Vladimir Putin on Monday. They said that the participants in such high-profile cases as the Pussy Riot Cathedral protest, Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise boarding of an oil rig, and the Bolotnaya Square riots would all get amnesty. Vasilyev pointed up that the upcoming amnesty wouldn’t apply to those who committed crimes that posed a serious danger to society, adding that the amnesty would give preference to convicts in vulnerable social categories and people who’d served the country. Preference would go to all minors, mothers with small children, pregnant women, women over 55, men over 60, the disabled, Chernobyl cleanup workers, and military veterans.

According to Vedomosti, the draft amnesty covers three articles of the criminal code “as an exception”, which means that those convicted under them would be freed or relived from punishment regardless of age, sex, or social status. The first such is Article 213 “Hooliganism”, which means that two Pussy Riot members… Mariya Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova… as well as the Greenpeace activists awaiting trial in Russia, would walk free. Three members of the Pussy Riot punk band each received a sentenced of two years in prison after staging a protest in Moscow‘s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 2012, although one member of the band later gained release on appeal. Currently, the 30 Greenpeace activists are on bail and awaiting trial after trying to board a Russian oil platform in the Prirazlomnaya oil field in the Barents Sea this September.

The second exception was for Article 2012 Part 2 and 3, “Participation in Riots and Incitement of Same”. This would allow nine participants of the Bolotnaya trial not accused of using force against police officers to avoid prosecution. The authorities detained the so-called Bolotnaya prisoners following riots on Bolotnaya Square in central Moscow in May 2012. The third exception deals with those convicted of violating traffic regulations with severe consequences to people’s health. Meanwhile, Izvestiya said that those who committed economic crimes wouldn’t receive pardons, as there’s already been an amnesty for this category of prisoners earlier this year, with 1,431 people released. This means that former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, would stay behind bars.

A high-ranking source in the Gosduma told Izvestiya that the government would adopt the amnesty before the end of the year and carry it out within the next six months. Russia celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Constitution on 12 December. Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the RF Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, expressed his satisfaction with the draft amnesty bill, expressing hope that it wouldn’t suffer excessive revision by the Gosduma. He told RIA-Novosti, “I’m sure that there’ll be some Deputies who’d try to widen the amnesty bill and those who’d push to narrow it. In the end, I hope that it’d remain as it was when the President submitted it”.

However, Oleg Orlov, one of the heads of Memorial human rights centre, called the draft amnesty bill a disappointment. He told Interfax, “Even in its current form, I welcome the document. At least, it’d release some people. However, the part of Russian society that advocated an amnesty understood it in a broader sense, so, of course, we’re disappointed”. President Putin tasked human rights activists with putting together a draft bill for an amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Russia’s current Constitution in late September. In mid-October, the Presidential Council for Human Rights approved a draft bill proposing to pardon around 100,000 prisoners.

 9 December 2013



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