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New Website about Business People Subjected to Unlawful Prosecution

Vera Vasilieva, 10/10/11 


A new website has appeared on the Internet, ('No to the GULAG'), with the aim of helping business people who have suffered from unlawful criminal prosecution. The creators of the website stress that the cases about which everyone knows are only the tip of the iceberg in the practice of Russian courts today. 

The author of the project – human rights defender Vladimir Osechkin – was in the past himself a businessman and had an unfortunate “encounter” with Russian law enforcement and judiciary. 

As Vladimir Osechkin has already told the Human Rights in Russia web portal (, he was formerly the owner of a car salesroom and in 2006 it was suggested to him that he should “share” his profits. When he refused, criminal charges were brought against him for economic crimes and he was put in pre-trial detention. With no investigation going on and without a trial, the accused spent three years behind bars. When he was finally brought before a court he was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in a penal colony. A few months ago he was released on parole. 

On the website, apart from news about cases brought against business people, information about laws and regulations, and other documents, there is a chat and Internet links to a number of other useful resources, including the Investigative Committee, the blog of the head of the Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin, the Federal Penitentiary Service, the Federal Human Rights Ombudsman, and the Supreme Court of Russia. 

“Business people, with higher education, who have scrupulously paid their taxes, have been given in exchange torture and humiliation,” writes Vladimir Osechkin on the website, “This, to say the least, is unjust. And this is the best motivation for these people to take part in the reform and humanization of the penitentiary system. <…> We shall investigate and expose these violations and crimes. This is why we have created this project. <…> We shall do all we can to stop the penitentiary system from destroying people, as happened to Sergei Magnitsky and to Vera Trifonova.”