«The Russian Federation has a centralized political system, with power concentrated in a president and a prime minister, a weak multiparty political ...»
According to police in Novorossisk, one person was detained in connection with the attack, which police investigators described as an act of "hooliganism." (see section 1.d.).
On October 25, unknown assailants beat Sochi activist Mikhail Vinyukov with metal rods. He was treated for a concussion, stab wounds, severe lacerations, and bruises, among other injuries. Observers linked the attack to Vinyukov's work on anticorruption issues. Vinyukov is the head of a branch of the NGO White Tape, whose manifesto is to protect citizen rights and interests. According to the Other Russia Web site, Vinyukov's life was threatened after he released a recording of a conversation between the head of the Sochi Resort Service and Tourism Department, Vladimir Shiroky, and the director of the Lagarevsky Rest Tourism Company, Galina Panaetova, which lead to Panaetova's arrest for bribery.
On November 4, unknown assailants attacked environmental activist Konstantin Fetisov with baseball bats outside his apartment building, fracturing his skull.
Observers linked the attack to Fetisov's participation in the campaign to preserve the Khimki forest. According to the Moscow Times, on December 27, police detained Andrei Chernyshev, Andrei Kashirin, and Vyacheslav Kovalyov in connection with the beating. Chernyshev, who is a department head of the property management committee in the Khimki City Hall, is suspected by the authorities of hiring the other two unemployed men to commit the beating.
There was no indication the authorities were investigating the attack on human rights activist and former parliamentarian Lev Ponomaryov in April 2009.
There was no indication authorities were investigating the April 2009 attack on Stanoslav Yakovlev, a member of the Solidarity opposition party, or the July 2009 shooting assault on Albert Pchelintsev, a local anticorruption activist and freelance journalist from the Khimki region.
In December 2009 police arrested the deputy head of the Khabarovskiy Kray Prosecutor's Office, Viktor Basov, for allegedly raping three juvenile girls. An investigator opened a criminal case against Basov, but the Khabarovsk Kray chief
RUSSIAprosecutor refused to proceed. A federal prosecutor reopened the case, and Basov began his trial for rape in October.
Reported abuses against military servicemen, particularly "dedovshchina," and the violent hazing of junior recruits in the military and other security services increased in the first half of the year. According to military officials, from January through May, such incidents increased by 150 percent compared with the same period in 2009. The newspaper Vedimosti reported that during the same period, approximately 1,167 conscripts were hazed. Earlier in the year, the commander of the Siberian Military District told reporters that there was no dramatic decrease in such offenses as had been expected by military officials following the reduction in the period of mandatory military service to 12 months. Soldiers serving on contracts reportedly replaced senior soldiers as the main perpetrators of hazing.
Such mistreatment often included beatings and extortion. According to the chief military prosecutor of the Russian Federation, Sergey Fridinskiy, more than 2,000 servicemen were convicted during the year of hazing recruits.
In an interview with Argumenty I Fakty, Chief Military Prosecutor Sergey Fridinskiy said the number of hazing cases in the armed forces in 2010 increased by 18 percent over 2009. He believes the increase is related to a more than double increase in the number of conscripts. Supervising officers are also to blame, he noted. In 2009 Committee of Soldiers' Mothers regional committees reported receiving 9,523 complaints of hazing mistreatment of servicemen from 20 regions of the country, similar to previous years. The complaints mostly concerned beatings, but also included sexual abuse, torture, and enslavement. Soldiers often did not report hazing to unit officers or military prosecutors due to fear of reprisals, since in some cases officers allegedly tolerated or even encouraged hazing as a means of controlling their units. Such cases were usually investigated only following pressure from family members, NGOs, or the media.
Several deaths occurred as a direct or indirect result of military hazing during the year (see section 1.a.).
On September 16, a young recruit, Andrei Starkov, was found dead in a military unit in Khabarovsk Krai. Starkov began his military service in June but was found hanging with no visible injuries. Investigators stated they had no evidence his death was caused by hazing, but his girlfriend and parents reported he had shown no signs of suicidal or abnormal behavior.
RUSSIADuring the previous year, seven soldiers had been found hung in military units in Khabarovsk Krai, and in only one of these cases did the military accept responsibility for the recruit's death.
There were no developments in the investigation of the October 2009 hanging death of 19-year-old private Denis Kostenko of Volgograd in Khabarovskiy Kray.
The human rights ombudsman, as well as the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, stated there was a growing problem with young men being forced to sign contracts to serve in the military forces. According to the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, 10 soldiers had filed complaints with their organization regarding being forced to sign military service contracts.
According to the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, there were approximately 2,000 criminal cases related to violence amongst soldiers filed with the Ministry of Defense during the year. As in the past, hazing problems were reported to be particularly common in units that had previously served in areas of military conflict.
Rebel forces engaged in the conflict in the North Caucasus region reportedly tortured and otherwise mistreated civilians, as well as participants in the conflict (see section 1.g.).
Prison and Detention Center Conditions Prison conditions in many facilities remained extremely harsh and at times life threatening. Authorities permitted some monitoring by independent nongovernmental observers. Refusal by authorities to provide needed medical attention resulted in at least one death during the year (see section 1.a.). The Ministry of Justice's Federal Service for the Execution of Sentences (FSIN) administered most of the penitentiary system from Moscow. According to an official FSIN prison survey conducted in February, 862,300 persons were in custody, including 8,500 juveniles and 55,300 women. Of these, 734,300 were held in labor colonies and 129,800 in pretrial detention centers. Detainees were held in five basic forms of custody: temporary police detention centers, pretrial detention facilities (SIZOs), correctional labor colonies (ITKs), prisons designated for those who violate ITK rules, and educational labor colonies (VTKs) for juveniles.
RUSSIAConditions in SIZO pretrial facilities varied considerably, but many remained extremely harsh and posed a serious threat to health and life. In past years official statistics generally recorded several thousand prisoner deaths per year in SIZOs.
Health, nutrition, ventilation, and sanitation standards remained low.
Overcrowding was common, but the Federal Prison Service reported that by February, approximately 129,800 suspects were being held in pretrial detention facilities, a significant reduction from the previous year.
Sergey Pysin, the lead investigator in the criminal case against Vera Trifonova who died on April 30 after awaiting trial for more than four months in Moscow's Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial detention center, was charged with criminal negligence. Trifonova, a businesswoman, suffered from severe diabetes, chronic kidney failure, was nearly blind, and required a wheelchair. Human rights observers claimed she was denied treatment for her worsening condition to force her to provide false testimony. President Medvedev ordered an investigation and the deputy head of the investigative committee for the Moscow Oblast reportedly was fired.
Russian-born Latvian national Grigoris Spektors, who was accused of an economic crime, was denied critically needed medical treatment for diabetes and gangrene in a prison medical facility during the year and instead was incarcerated in Pretrial Detention Center Number Four. When Spektors was able to pay five million rubles ($161,000) for bail, the bail was increased to 18 million rubles ($582,000).
Spektors was subsequently released and was undergoing treatment in Riga, Latvia, at year's end.
The case of Sergey Magnitskiy, a pretrial detainee who died while in police custody in November 2009, continued. In July Investigative Committee Head Aleksandr Bastrykin opened a criminal case against Interior Ministry (MVD) personnel who had initially overseen the Magnitskiy case. Authorities were purportedly moving slowly because important persons were implicated (see section 4).
In January eight prison employees of the IK-1 (penal colony number 1) in Kopeysk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, were charged with brutality for the beating deaths of four inmates in 2008 while trying to end a riot. In October 2009 investigators in Chelyabinsk charged the head of the Oblast's FSIN, Vladimir Zhidkov, and 17 subordinates with deliberately covering up the killing. Zhidkov faced either a fine
RUSSIAof 200,000 rubles ($6,613) or a prison term of two years. A trial began on June 30 and continued at year's end.
Most convicted prisoners were imprisoned in correctional labor colonies, which provided greater freedom of movement than SIZOs; however, at times guards humiliated and beat prisoners, according to Amnesty International. The country's prisons, distinct from correctional colonies, are penitentiary institutions for those who repeatedly violate the rules in ITKs.
Federal standards call for a minimum of approximately 43 square feet per inmate, which is less than the 75-square-feet standard set by the European Convention on Human Rights. Widespread overcrowding remained a problem; however, the NGO Penal Reform International reported some progress in meeting this standard.
President Medvedev moved to reduce the prison system's chronic overcrowding problem by issuing more pardons than his predecessor, and in August the government implemented a broader use of punishment short of prison for persons convicted of lesser crimes.
As of July, according to FSIN data, approximately 41 percent of persons incarcerated in the federal prison system had some type of illness. However, in August the General Prosecutor's Office stated that 90 percent of inmates have health problems, and there were 1.2 million cases of illness. Approximately 67,000 inmates had mental disorders, 40,000 had active tuberculosis, and 55,000 had HIV.
Statistics for the number of drug and alcohol addicts in prison were not available for 2010. Tuberculosis infection rates were far higher in detention facilities than in the population at large. Some defense attorneys reported the risk of contracting a disease in prison is very high and that some lawyers feared meeting with their clients for fear of contracting illness, such as tuberculosis. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has entered various judgments against the country for failing to provide adequate medical care and not providing humane conditions and adequate space per prisoner.
Abuse of prisoners by other prisoners continued to be a problem. Violence among inmates, including beating and rape, was common. There were elaborate inmateenforced caste systems in which certain groups, including informers, homosexuals, rapists, prison rape victims, and child molesters were considered "untouchables" (the lowest caste) and treated harshly. Prison authorities provided little or no protection.
RUSSIAAs of June 2009, 62 VTKs held 8,500 juvenile prisoners. Conditions in the VTKs were significantly better than in the ITKs, but some juveniles in the VTKs and juvenile SIZO cells reportedly were beaten or raped. While juveniles were generally held separately from adults, there were two prisons in Moscow and one in St. Petersburg where children and adults were not separated.
The law regulating public oversight of detention centers allows public oversight commission representatives to visit the facilities and has been operational in at least 70 regions since the fall of 2009. Regional NGOs are active in the commission's work. Additionally, since the April 2009 signing of a decree by Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, human rights groups have been allowed to monitor conditions of arrest and detention for pretrial detainees.
However, the decree lacked firm instructions on its implementation, leaving the discretion to cooperate to authorities. The decree also required that officials be present during any discussions of conditions with prisoners. The liberal newspaper Noviye Izvestiye reported in October 2009 that the law had achieved mixed results, with some prison officials highly cooperative and others obstructionist, although in the latter case human rights advocates attributed the problem to lack of education among prison officials about the new law.
Human rights observers were able to visit most of the country's 765 prison and detention facilities. Since 2004 authorities have refused to grant the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access under its standard criteria to persons detained as part of the conflict in Chechnya, and the ICRC as of year's end still did not have any access to these detention facilities.
According to the NGO Memorial, during the year the human rights group Committee of Societal Observers visited detention centers in the North Caucasus, where they documented continuing abuses.
According to observers, persons convicted for minor offenses may often spend six months in prison before having a chance for parole.