Aleksandr Dolmatov remembered at rally outside Dutch Embassy

18 January 2013 

Source: (info
Novaya Gazeta reports that on 18 January, probably throughout the day, an event will take place outside the Dutch Embassy on Kalashny Pereulok in memory of Aleksandr Dolmatov, who has taken his own life in Holland. 

An armed police squad is standing guard by the Embassy building, but people are not causing the few assembled law enforcement officers any problems. They bring flowers to the building, where a single picketer stands. The candles that Dolmatov's Other Russia co-party members had tried to light will not burn in the cold and icy wind. 

Russian activist Aleksander Dolmatov took his own life in a Rotterdam detention centre. This was confirmed on Thursday by Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice spokesperson Charlotte Menten. 

35-year-old Dolmatov sought political asylum in the Netherlands early last year because he feared persecution in Russia. According to the spokesperson, his request for asylum was denied following a "thorough investigation" by Dutch immigration authorities, and on Wednesday evening he was transferred to a temporary detention centre pending expulsion from the country within time limits that were never specified. 

On Thursday morning Dolmatov was found dead in his cell. A forensic expert and gendarmerie representatives examined the body and concluded that the Russian had committed suicide. Menten did not say how the suicide had been carried out. 

Dolmatov left a suicide note. According to the Ministry's spokesperson, it sets out the personal motives for what he did, which include no mention of his stay in the Netherlands, nor his attempt to obtain asylum. The Justice Ministry has offered to help the family transport Dolmatov's body to Russia, should the family request it. The farewell letter has also been sent to his family. 

The specific reasons for Dolmatov's political asylum request being denied are as yet unknown. It is well known that the majority of asylum-seekers in EU states do not in fact meet the legal criteria according to which asylum is granted. Once they have been given a so-called 'Negative' by the immigration authorities, they try and exhaust all possible avenues of appeal and tend to stay in Europe regardless. 

Concepts such as "the secure state" (where there is no war or mass repressions, and where the political regime is thought to be relatively democratic) can have a bearing on how cases are considered. Following the end of the Chechen war, it became markedly more difficult for migrants from Russia to gain political asylum. 

The Netherlands authorities and Dutch press have so far refrained from making any further comments. The newspaper De Telegraaf notes that Dolmatov was a member of the Other Russia party, that he took part in a large demonstration Putin in Moscow against Russian President Vladimir in May last year, and was arrested and imprisoned for a brief period of time. Both his home and the home of his parents were searched. The newspaper writes that, in his own words, he received threats from the FSB in connection with his political activities. 

According to the Facebook page of The Organising Committee for Protest Actions in Russia, Aleksandr Dolmatov, an activist of the unregistered Other Russia party, was detained on 6 May 2012 at the ‘March of Millions’ in Moscow for insubordination to police officers. According to the webpage, even in 1993 as a schoolboy he defended the Supreme Soviet, and from 2010 he took part in every Strategy-31 event and other opposition rallies, including those in December 2011. Recently, Dolmatov worked at OJSC Tactical Missiles Corporation, where was a designer on one of their projects. 

Along with other protesters on Bolotnaya Square he was taken to Taganskoe police station, where he spent the next day and a half. After his release, the oppositionist began to complain of harassment and threats by the security services, and on 10 June he flew to the Netherlands via Kiev. Three days later, he requested political asylum in the Netherlands, but his request was denied.