New Wave of Reprisals Against Stas Dmitriesvkiy

New warning against Dmitrievskiy’s alleged extremism

stas.jpgOn 16 August 2007, at 12-00 a group of HR defenders, journalists and political activists, members of the “Other Russia” opposition coalition held a press-conference in defense of the architectural heritage of Nizhny Novgorod city, houses №32, 34а and 36 in Korolenko Street of Nizhny Novgorod which is regarded as a protected historical area, according to the ruling of the Regional Law Assembly from 1997. Vladimir Sedov, the former minister of culture of NN region, sanctioned building of a multi-storied apartment building an underground parking lot breaching the law.

The press-conference started with the official warning from the prosecutor’s office against Stas Dmitriesvkiy personally “On inadmissibility of any violations of law on mass assemblies and law on extremism”. The warning was read out by a representative of the Ministry of the Interior in presence of a dozen of journalists, people residing in this area, and representatives of the different force agencies, including UBOP (special police detachment to combat organized crime, “T” center (anti-terror center) and prosecutor’s office). The owner of the company developing this area also attended the press-conference.

In response Dmitriesvkiy inquired whether the building company had also received a warning “on inadmissibility to break the legislation on protection of the national heritage” and on what grounds a press-conference and an excursion in the historical area were taken as an action of extremist character. He received no answers. Then Dmitiresvkiy delivered a lecture on the memorial significance of this area in which lived prominent Russian writers, public people and artists. Several of the people still living in the area also shared stories about their families’ background and historical value of the entire area.

The organizers of the press-conference regret that the OMON servicemen were not able to attend the excursion. Some thirty of them arrived at the site half an hour before the press-conference in an “Ural” military vehicle. They were in an ambush in one of the yards waiting for an order to disperse the people.

On the other side, around thirty members of different NGOs attended the press-conference as well as specialists in the field of preservation of the historical heritage, some dozen people living in the area and some dozen journalists with different media outlets.

After Stas Dmitrievskiy had told the history of the area, many of local people added their stories confirming the memorial status of the street. People also got information on the role of the regional and municipal authorities in the developing process of demolition of many masterpieces of the architecture of Nizhny Novgorod. The press-conference was held at the background of the banner of the Days of the European Heritage as a reminder of the fact that Russia is a signatory of the European Cultural convention. 

After the press-conference was over, all the attending people, including builders and police force, received leaflets with the detailed information about the cultural value of the area and its legal status.

The organizers of the press-conference failed to conserve the damaged house №32. The door of the house has been smashed open. Some of the windows have been broken due to the absolute negligence of the building company.

However, guards of the “Spetsstroy” building company didn’t let activists to the building referring to it being in private ownership. As a matter of fact, the company bought out flats from their residents but houses still belong to the municipal authorities.   

The “Other Russia” press service point out that the number of police servicemen involved into “maintaining order” at the press-conference today was almost the same as the authorities used at an unsanctioned rally held by the KPRF (Communist Party) against NATO training in Nizhny Novgorod that was held on 15 August. There were more than 100 participants in that rally but none of the organizers have been warned against “inadmissibility of extremist activities”. 

Tomorrow the Nizhegorodskiy district court is considering a motion submitted by the Inspection to Execute Punishment in regard to imposing new restrictions on Stas Dmitrievskiy. They are going to ban him from violating administrative law which will constitute a very useful pretext to change the suspended sentence that he is serving now to a real 2-year term in camps.

The court session is going to be observed by the second secretary of the UK embassy Mr. Frew.

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