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EHRAC recruiting Legal Officer and Case & Project Support Officer

posted 14 Feb 2014 13:50 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Feb 2014 13:52 ]

14 February 2014

Source: EHRAC

EHRAC is currently recruiting for two positions to join the team at their office in London.

The Legal Officer is a full time position, for a one year renewable contract. The job reference is EHRAC - LAW26

The Case and Project Support Officer is a full time position, for a 14 month contract. The job reference is EHRAC - LAW27.

More information about these positions and how to apply can be found at

Please note the deadline for applications is 27 February 2014, and applications must be submitted to Middlesex University at the address, as per the instructions to be found at the link, and not directly to EHRAC.

Putin's Olympic Dream - On Thursday 13th February at the Lexi Cinema in London's Kensal Rise, DocHouse presents the masterfully captured documentary on Sochi 2014

posted 30 Jan 2014 10:22 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jan 2014 10:33 ]

30 January 2014

On Thursday 13th February at the Lexi Cinema in Kensal Rise, DocHouse is excited to present the masterfully captured documentary on Sochi 2014, PUTIN’S OLYMPIC DREAM.

Thursday 13th February | 8:50pm | Lexi Cinema | £7 (£5 Concessions)

Dir. Hans Pool
The Netherlands - 2013 - 80mins

What does it really take to pull off the most expensive Winter Olympics in history? Putin's Olympic Dream follows the epic project of preparing for Sochi 2014 as it unfolds, capturing those involved at all levels, from entrepreneurs and oligarchs to immigrants, athletes and activists.

Please do circulate this email amongst your friends, colleagues and networks who may be interested. We would also very much appreciate you spreading word of this screening via social media, newsletters, websites and event listings. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any queries. Suggested social media copy can be found at the bottom of this email, along with a poster attached.

In preparation for the Olympics, Sochi has undergone some of the most dramatic and expensive changes of any hosting city. Formerly a nostalgic Soviet holiday resort, filled with beautiful sanatoriums, the 'Cannes of the Soviet Union' has been fast tracked to becoming a very modern Russian city.

Of course, for Vladimir Putin the games are much more than a sporting event, they are Russia's bid to return to the world stage, and a status project of colossal proportions. With no time to lose, financial, economic, political and ecological limits are breached to make it happen, and filmmaker Hans Pool masterfully captures it all as resources and people are stretched to breaking point.

Please note: There won't be adverts or trailers before this screening and the film will start promptly at 8.50pm.


Suggested social media copy:

FACEBOOK: Don’t miss DocHouse’s screening of PUTIN’S OLYMPIC DREAM at The Lexi Cinema on Feb 13th 2014:

What does it really take to pull off the most expensive Winter Olympics in history? Putin's Olympic Dream follows the epic project of preparing for Sochi 2014 as it unfolds, capturing those involved at all levels, from entrepreneurs and oligarchs to immigrants, athletes and activists.

Find out more:

TWITTER: Don't miss @IntheDocHouse screening of upcoming Sochi Olympics doc PUTIN’S OLYMPIC DREAM @TheLexiCinema - 13th Feb -

The Case of Dr John Gordon: 77-year-old facing deportation from Russia

posted 30 Jan 2014 00:59 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jan 2014 01:10 ]

29 January 2014

PRESS RELEASE on behalf of: Dr John Gordon, a British citizen

From: Peter Robbins (a friend of Dr Gordon)

Subject: Denial of Human Rights in Russia

Photo of Dr John Gordon supplied by Peter Robbins


Dr John Gordon, a retired British Scientist, who has lived in Samara, Russia for 15 years, failed to renew his yearly teacher’s visa on the day of expiry in August 2013. He was in a Russian hospital at the time, undergoing major surgery. In all of his 15 years in Russia he has had many visas but on each occasion has left Russia before the visa expired, and renewed it with the Russian Embassy in London.

Applications to renew his visa on the day following expiry were rejected. He was arrested and adjudged to have broken the law and sentenced to be expelled from Russia. Although he has very strong support from citizens in Samara and from Human Rights organisations, and has lodged two appeals, the Russian Authorities are adamant that he will be deported.


In 2012 a total of 12,000 foreigners were expelled from Russia on the grounds of violation (however minor) of immigration laws. In 2013 this number rose to 65,000.

The various State organisations follow the lead from the top.


Dr John Gordon is a British citizen from Hertfordshire. He is 77 years old.

He is a scientist and, following a successful corporate career which included a term as Technical Director with Express Dairies, he acted as an adviser on dairy products for governments in several countries. In recent years he worked as a consultant on several EU-funded agricultural and food projects in Russia. Two of these were in the Samara oblast (region), and he came to like the area so much that he decided in 1994 to settle in Samara city. He lives in Samara, bought his own apartment and dacha - which were handed over to a Russian friend when purchased, since, in those days, foreigners were not allowed to own property. He returns to the UK for a fortnight each quarter, to visit friends and relatives. In 2001, having retired from his scientific work, he commenced work with the British Council as a part-time teacher of English to Russian students. In 2006 he invested the necessary money for a Russian friend (as Administrator) to acquire an existing (but rundown) English language school in Samara – The Oxford English Centre - and Dr Gordon has directed the school ever since. He has also opened another School in another city. He has come to regard Samara as his home, has learned conversational Russian, and has become a well-liked figure in local society. He has never, in all the years of his Russian residence, been in any kind of trouble.

He is obliged to renew his Russian visa every twelve months.


In early 2013 Dr Gordon was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and received hormone therapy at the Samara Oncology Hospital. However, his condition deteriorated and, on returning to Samara from a brief visit to the UK, he was admitted on August 5th to the Hospital for an operation to remove his prostate gland. In a distressed state of mind before the operation, he had forgotten that his visa should have been renewed on August 5th. The operation was performed on August 15th and he was discharged on August 31st. The surgeon advised return to the hospital four weeks later to begin a course of irradiation therapy.

In the meantime, the lady School Administrator went to the OVIR (Immigration Ministry) offices on August 6th (one day after visa expiry) and on three further occasions to register him, but was given different, conflicting, answers on each occasion, and his visa renewal was refused. She was finally told that John was now an illegal immigrant.

On August 16th, two officials from UFMS (Russian Immigration Police) entered the ward in which he was recuperating from the previous day’s operation and announced that they had come to arrest him on a charge of breaking the law by having an out-of-date visa. A doctor intervened, and begged them to leave the matter until Dr Gordon had recovered sufficiently to return to his apartment.

On September 4th, four days after returning to his apartment, when he was very weak and could barely walk, the UFMS officials came again early in the morning, arrested him, and took him to the Police Station. After one hour, they took him to Samara city court. He had no interpreter, but managed to understand that the UFMS officer was saying terrible things about him, implying that he was very dangerous to Russia. He was not allowed to say anything except his name, date of birth, and nationality. The case took ten minutes, the judge found him guilty of being without a valid visa, and sentenced him to a fine of 2,000 roubles, and ordered him to be deported for a minimum of 5 years. The sentence is Draconian, and totally out of proportion to the gravity of the ‘crime’. Expulsion would be devastating – John would lose the life he has built up over the past 15 years, apart from the large amount of money he has invested in the two schools. Closing these schools would put 13 teachers and staff members out of a job.

Russian friends rallied round and engaged a lawyer, who lodged an appeal with the city court. This appeal was heard on December 26th(when John was in another hospital receiving treatment for high blood pressure) but failed. The lawyer then appealed to the regional ‘Prokuror’. (This word is sometimes translated as ‘procurator’ -an agent working on somebody’s behalf – but the more correct translation is ‘Prosecutor’). This appeal also failed on January 9th. Dr Gordon was not present at this second hearing, since he was not advised of it until after it took place. At both hearings, the original court sentence was upheld.

Appeals for help sent by Dr Gordon to the British Embassy in Moscow were answered by a terse reply that they “do not get involved in Russian laws relating to immigration problems”. They did however send him a list of very expensive Moscow lawyers, but John cannot afford their fees.

A friend in England sent a letter to the Russian Embassy in London and also wrote to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) who stated they could not interfere with the judicial process of another country. The Samara Human Rights Organisation organised several events publicising John’s case – but to no avail.

An appeal is now being prepared for a submission to the ‘Prokuror General’ at the Federal Court in Moscow, and to the European Office of the Court of Human Rights in Moscow.

In the meantime, the hospital has been forbidden to give Dr Gordon the essential radiotherapy treatment which he needs. This is an outrageous denial of human rights.

He expects that any day, the officials will return to carry out the court order, and forcibly put him on a plane to London. However, his blood pressure is (understandably) at a very high level, and the doctors (who have also been forbidden to give him drugs to lower it) have advised him that he should not fly.

All he wants is to be left in peace to end his days in Samara where he is happy, and to continue to work at his English Language Schools.

Given the high profile release of (mostly celebrity) prisoners in Russia on the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, it is amazing that officials at regional level are behaving in this cruel and irrational way.

The British media are currently highlighting the treatment of homosexuals in Russia, but perhaps they might spare a thought also for one non-celebrity Englishman who wants to continue to live there.

Dr John Gordon (in Russia) – mobile: 007 937 201 9214 email:

Peter Robbins (in England): 01462 742440 email:


‘Samara News’ EXTRACT FROM

Из России с любовью (From Russia with love)
24 Jan, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Персона нон грата. Областной суд бросил англичанина, не успевшего продлить визу, на произвол судьбы. Ученый и специалист с мировым именем, некогда востребованный на всех континентах, оказался ненужным в Самаре" (The regional court has thrown an Englishman, who did not have time to prolong his visa, to an arbitrary fate. This scientist and expert with a world reputation, in demand on all continents, is judged to be unnecessary in Samara)

He is an elderly man with a kindly appearance and a tremor in his hands which, until now, have done much for this country and this region.

A scientist and expert at international level, British citizen John Gordon has given most of his life to the modernization of agriculture and food processing all over the world, including here in Samara . He has travelled all over the globe and could have lived anywhere. But he chose Samara. The city to which he has devoted 15 years of his life and continues it today, disregarding illnesses and social status. The city in which he has engaged in the business favourite for today — English language teaching.

Tomorrow is his birthday – he will be 77. And now he waits for the decision of the Supreme court (in this country there is nothing further to hope for). If this court will not reverse the decision in favour of theEnglishman, he will be compelled to leave his home” [etc…..]

The Samara branch of the national TV channel ‘Russia1’ interviewed John on 28th January, and may screen the interview. (

The UFMS were invited to the interview but it is not known if their part of the interview will be screened.

FIDH: Demonstration in solidarity with Russian civil society (27 January 2014)

posted 26 Jan 2014 14:07 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Jan 2014 14:14 ]

27 January 2014

Source: FIDH

Demonstration in support of the Russian civil society, which is currently under serious threat after Putin's government introduced several oppressive laws.

Where: Rond Point Schuman, Brussels

When: Monday, January 27, at 12:30

Participants aim to direct the attention of EU officials towards the ongoing repressions in Russia against civil society organizations, political activists, minority groups and the LGBT community. The goal of the demonstration is to speak out against homophobia, xenophobia and the crackdown on civil society.

Since 2012, hundreds of Russian NGOs were subject to an unprecedented wave of inspections.

International solidarity with Russian civil society is crucial. With the Sochi Olympic Games taking place next month, the time is ripe for Europe to ensure that human rights protection and civil society support are the highest priority in their negotiations with the Russian Federation.

More than 30 Belgian and International organizations are supporting this manifestation.

Among surprises we will have a Belgian rugby team, dancers and civil society activists from Moscow!

FREE Speech



Euromaidan SOS: Ukraine’s Civil Society is Urging the World to Act!

posted 23 Jan 2014 23:46 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 23 Jan 2014 23:56 ]

24 January 2014

Source: Євромайдан SOS Facebook page

This is our last cry for help. Tomorrow we may be cut off from the Internet and phones. State of emergency may be introduced, and we will be murdered with the global community’s connivance as it seems to only preach European values and not practice them. People have been murdered in Ukraine, and the murders will go on.

We, Ukrainians–members of civic organizations and peaceful protesters from Kyiv and all of Ukraine–urge the global community, the world’s governments, diplomats, and international organizations to take strong action in order to us preserve peace and civic rights in this part of Europe. We need your assistance in order to stop this brutish and treacherous war started by the government against their own nation.

What the riot police and other law enforcement official do to the protestors is utterly inadequate. The police openly violates human rights, in particular, by using firearms and water-throwers against the protestors. At least five people were shot dead by police snipers or tortured to death by the government’s officers. Many more are missing and not found yet. Hundreds of people were severely injured by the riot police, among them dozens of journalists and doctors whom the Berkut shots on purpose, usually aiming for the eyes. Police officers kidnap injured people right out of hospitals as hostages and torture and humiliate them. However, despite all the terror applies by the government to the people, there is only one hot spot and the protest remains essentially peaceful.

For two months the government has been answering to the peaceful protest with violence. The current streaks of radicalism in Kyiv is the result of the enforcement structures’ brutal treatment of the students’ peaceful demonstration on November 30 and protesters on December 1; the lack of the government’s response to the demands of the protesters; regular repressions against civic activists all across Ukraine; and the repressive laws passed by show hands. Elements of violence on the part of the protesters only started after the Ukrainians’ right for peaceful protest, freedom of press and freedom of press and fair trial were cancelled.

Tyranny established in the form of non-legitimate laws gives the government formal grounds for using force against the peaceful demonstration on Maidan. It can result in even a greater bloodshed, and state of emergency may be introduced. A scenario like this is beneficial for Russia that is interested in the atrocities in Ukraine. If this scenario prevails, a new Russia-controlled formation like Belarus or Transnistria may appear on the EU’s border.

We appeal for you to act and not only make statements.

Demand that President and Cabinet of Ministers should stop violence carried out by enforcement officers and government-controlled bandits.

Arrive to Ukraine, study the situation from the inside and act as intermediaries in the government-people talks to solve the crisis.

Send observer missions to Ukraine in order to prevent dictatorship, protect human rights and preserve European democratic values in Ukraine.

Use personal sanctions against all who are involved in the violation of human rights in Ukraine; to ban such persons them from entering to democratic countries and block their bank accounts; and to start procedural audits aimed at investigating money-laundering by these persons.

Ukrainians stand united in their view of the country’s future where every individual feels safe and can freely exercise their rights. We are a civilized people taken hostage by the barbarians in our government. Yanukovich was elected in the democratic way, but his initial powers as President were restricted. In a short term he illegitimately changed the Constitution for his own benefit and usurped power. We never elected him on this kind of terms.

Please, help us!

We have evidence of violence used by the government against people of Ukraine.

Euromaidan Civil Sector Press Centre
068 944 63 88
# Євромайдан SOS

Oksana Forostyna on the situation in Ukraine: 'Ukraine was hijacked'

posted 23 Jan 2014 10:18 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 23 Jan 2014 10:22 ]

22 January 2014

My European and American friends,

I know that you follow the news from Ukraine, and you have the picture. However, I'd like to tell you you how it concerns you.

Ukraine was hijacked. You may remember Flight 93, the only aircraft that didn't reach its target during September 11 attacks: the hijackers headed to Washington, presumably to destroy White House or Capitol Building, but passengers tried to stop them, and it crashed in Pennsylvania. Today we, Ukrainians, are trying to gain control over terror in our country. 

We are hijacked plane. We may crash. If so, you're the next. 

Either Yanukovych is just a paranoiac gangster, or manipulated by Kremlin, or both, doesn't matter. If we fail, Ukraine is a Putin's trophy. Ukrainian spoils will encourage Kremlin to become more impudent in achieving its goals. Your borders will not be violated, but your politicians and institutions will face shameless attempts to corrupt and to blackmail them. Your countries will not be the same anymore. Today we stand for Ukraine, and we also stand for your countries. 

Police shot activist Serhiy Nihoyan today. Ihor Lutsenko, one of the Maidan leaders, a public person, had been kidnapped and severely beaten yesterday. Ask your representatives, are they still going to «express deep concern»? 

People in Kyiv, young and old, wealthy and poor, students and managers, have to patrol the center of the capital at nights because Yanukovych regime brought paid gangs to terrify people on the streets around Maidan and to discourage them to join protesters. You may think it's the job of police to protect citizens from the gangs. In Ukraine police protects these gangs, and citizens join to patrol the city. 

I'm 35. Almost all my life I was bitter about us, Ukrainians, being not like Europeans, or Americans. Today I'm bitter about Westerners being not like brave people on Maidan barricades.

Oksana Forostyna

Director of Eurasia Programs at Open Society Foundations

posted 4 Nov 2013 06:12 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Nov 2013 06:16 ]

Original post: 9 October 2013
Deadline for applications: 8 November 2013

The Open Society Foundations (OSF) seeks a full-time director of Eurasia programs, a new position created to oversee a strategic rethinking, reshaping, and aligning of Open Society’s work in Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine), Russia, the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan). At the end of two years the director will be expected to present a plan to the Board and senior management outlining how Open Society should focus and organize its work in these countries going forward. The successful candidate will have a three-year contract. [More information]

To Apply
Application Deadline: November 8, 2013


Include job code in subject line: DIR-EP

Mail: Open Society Foundations, Human Resources—Code DIR-EP, 224 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

Fax: 1-646-557-2672

'Anna', a play by Badac theatre company about the life and work of Anna Politkovskaya

posted 7 Oct 2013 10:18 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 7 Oct 2013 10:19 ]

To mark the anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya's murder today, the 7th of October, RAW in WAR and BADAC Theatre Company will be staging a special production of 'Anna', a play by Badac theatre company about the life and work of Anna Politkovskaya.

The play will be hosted tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th of October, at Bar 22-26 in Farringdon (22-26,Farringdon Lane, London).

Set in and around a lift, the location of her murder, the production will focus on Anna's exposure of the human rights abuses that were committed during the second Russian/Chechan war, the reaction of the Russian government to those abuses and the public response to the events, both in Chechnya and Russia, that Anna reported on. Included will be her highlighting of the plight of 'The Disappeared' within Chechnya, the Moscow theatre siege and its aftermath and the testimony of the victims that she wrote so passionately about.

It will aim to be an intense study of one woman's struggle to highlight, and bring to the attention of the world, the plight of the forgotten victims of war and persecution.

The evening will conclude with an audience Q&A with the Badac cast and director of 'Anna', as well as Mariana Katzarova, founder of RAW in WAR, to discuss the play and Anna's work.

Tickets are priced at £10 and will be available on the door, or you can purchase them now at

Please join us at 7pm for drinks at the cash only bar, before the performance commences at 8pm.

We hope to see you there.

Warm Regards


Andrei Allakhverdov - One of the Arctic 30

posted 5 Oct 2013 07:46 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Oct 2013 07:50 ]

3 October 2013

By Friends of Andrei Allakhverdov

At this moment, our Russian friend and radio colleague Andrei Allakhverdov is in a jail cell in Murmansk, a city in the far north of Russia. He is there along with 29 others from countries in the CIS, Europe, North America, Australia and Latin America for their participation in a Greenpeace campaign against offshore oil drilling in the Arctic. As a result of a non-violent protest against Gazprom, a Russian gas company that ranks among the world's largest, their ship was overrun by Russian special forces in international waters. All are now in prison and have been formally charged with 'piracy', a crime that brings the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence in Russia.

Greenpeace is seeking to raise awareness of the collective plight of those in the so-called 'Arctic 30'. This is both understandable and admirable. But while we hope to learn about each of these individuals in time, this letter seeks to tell you about one person we know well -- Andrei Allakhverdov.

Andrei would be the first to say he's no better than most. But if your interests are in radio, media, or the sciences, Andrey is one of those people you've either met, or, should to get to know. As a radio producer with Radio Rossiya in the early 1990's, he produced a national program series about the challenges facing Russia's environment -- receiving prizes and recognition along the way. A skilled linguist dating back to his days as a translator in the Soviet army, Andrey embraced opportunities to promote cultural exchange in every way imaginable. He presented at international media and radio
conferences such as the Prix Europa, the International Features Conference (IFC), and the Third Coast International Audio Festival. He authored, co-authored, or translated articles and programs for the journal Science, the BBC, and other outlets. He hosted countless visiting foreign journalists and friends to Russia over the years. Most of all, he constantly clued the rest of us into what the story - or joke or idea - was all about.

For context has always been important to Andrei. As the editor-in-chief at the Foundation for Independent Radio Broadcasting (FNR) for more than a decade, he mentored hundreds upon hundreds of Russian journalists about the meaning of words. He lectured on journalistic ethics. He berated over grammatical mistakes. He worried over stories that were often not his own. He took late night phone calls. He counseled interns and students. He translated scripts and interviews. He showed us how wide, creative, and diverse the radio medium can be.

His affiliation with Greenpeace was not accidental. As a journalist covering the environment, he’d come to view Greenpeace’s work as essential -- eventually taking a job with them as a press officer earlier this year. Ever the ethicist, Andrei would insist he left the journalism profession under difficult circumstances. And he would be right. Yet to those who know him, Andrei's new position with Greenpeace made perfect sense. Just as he once did over the airwaves, Andrei was there to tell us stories. About the environment and why it matters.

Today, a Russian court formally charged Andrei and 15 others involved in the Greenpeace Arctic campaign against Gazprom held for two months
pending an investigation on charges of piracy. We feel these charges unjust and their detention unwarranted. While Russian courts are not
known for their independence, public awareness of the plight of ‘the Arctic 30’ can impact the outcome of their case. 

Please join us in supporting efforts to gain their release. We ask that you share this statement and sign this petition. (LINK:

In addition, we are encouraging journalists to consider giving wider attention to the events unfolding in Murmansk. Those wishing to hear
more about Andrei’s story should feel free to contact individuals listed below.

Thank you for your support.

- Friends and Colleagues of Andrei Allakhverdov
Veronika Dmitriyeva +7 985 763 4631
Charles Maynes +7 926 606 2192
Lena Uporova +7 925 139 9581

Discussion on LGBT Rights in Russia, with Peter Tatchell, Andrew Pierce and others - London, 10 September 2013

posted 10 Sep 2013 00:47 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Sep 2013 00:49 ]

Event: An evening and roundtable discussion focusing on the issue of LGBT rights in Russia
Organisers: Westminster Russia Forum
WHEN: September 10, 2013 @ 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Where: CMS Cameron McKenna, Mitre House, 160 Aldersgate Street, London, Greater London EC1A 4DD, UK

COST: £10 for Members and Non Members

Join the Westminster Russia Forum in partnership with the InterLaw Diversity Forum for a unique evening and roundtable discussion focusing on the issue of LGBT rights in Russia, with a range of speakers and contributors including leading gay rights activist and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Daily Mail columnist Andrew Pierce, paralympian Claire Harvey and Russian Cultural and Sociological expert Dr Richard Mole

Among the issues to be discussed are:
- The recent legislation outlawing the promotion of homosexuality to minors and making an equal comparison between traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships.
- The religious and cultural context of the legislation and Russia’s attitude towards homosexuality.
- Alleged discrimination and violence against sexual minorities in Russia.
- Whether responses to the legislation, such as demands for a boycott of Russian vodka and the Sochi Olympic Games, are the right response, and how attitudes towards LGBT rights in Russia can be changed at the grassroots level of society.

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