This Thursday 28th marks six months since the attack suffered by Russian environmental activist Andrey Rudomakha, head of the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus (EWNC), in the southern city of Krasnodar. So far no people have been detained. The organization is denouncing the lack of action by the government and the authorities in charge of investigating the case.
The EWNC is a member of the Russian Social-Ecological Union / Friends of the Earth Russia. Activist Sofia Rusova, member of the Council of EWNC, said to Real World Radio this Thursday: “the investigators do not investigate anything”. “Despite the widespread support of the society, criminals were not found”, she added.
But the situation gets even worse. The EWNC found out at the end of May that the case will be closed. Nevertheless, the activists will continue exerting pressure for the investigation to continue and to find out the truth about what happened.
Rudomakha and other activists were assaulted in Krasnodar on December 28, 2017, after filming the illegal construction of a mansion on the Black Sea coast for high-ranking officials.
Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) denounced in a press release issued on January 25th that “the assailants fled with backpacks and cameras with footage of the construction”. “Rudomakha was hospitalised with skull fractures, a broken nose, and concussion after he was beaten by three masked men that evening. A journalist and two other activists were also hurt in the attack”. “It’s hard to say how frightened we were after that happened”, said Rusova to Real World Radio and added that Rudomakha is now in good health.
FOEI explained that activists of EWNC have been attacked in the past. “In February 2014 a group of unknown masked men tried to break into the Krasnodar office of the organization, they also vandalized a car of the EWNC Council member Igor Kharchenko. In September 2016 in Kuban, unidentified men attacked EWNC and Greenpeace camps where they were working to extinguish wildfires. In both cases police investigation failed to identify the perpetrators”.
“In 2016, the group was declared a ‘foreign agent’. But the label was revoked in December 2017 when the Government found no trace of foreign income in the group’s activities. But the influence has its effect: the foreign agent law has legitimised hate attacks against environmental and human rights activists by stigmatising them as foreign spies. This law effectively silences civil society”.
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