Communists condemn death of opposition activist in Ukraine, demand asylum guarantees from Russia

Official letter from the Union of Communist Youth on the death of Menshikova

March 1, 2018

Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation
General of Justice of the Russian Federation
A.I. Bastrykin
105005, Moscow, Technical Lane, 2

Dear Alexander Ivanovich!

On February 26, 2018, media reported the death of opposition activist Marina Viktorovna Menshikova in the pre-trial detention center of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine (renamed Dnieper by the Verkhovna Rada).

Marina Menshikova

According to the authorities, she was found hanged by a sheet in her cell. But the background of the case, as well as the fact that she clearly could not have been alone in the cell, makes one question the official interpretation of events and conclude that, most likely, it was a pre-planned murder, disguised as suicide. This raises the most serious questions about the circumstances that preceded this tragedy.

First, according to some reports, Menshikova, who was born in the Orenburg region and later lived in the territory of Ukraine as a citizen of that country, received Russian citizenship after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014. This follows from a copy of certificate №1042, distributed by the Department of the Federal Migration Service for the Republic of Crimea in the city of Kerch on May 18, 2015, and reproduced on social media. The same document states that Menshikova declared her unwillingness to be a citizen of Ukraine.

Secondly, Menshikova was deported from Crimea to Ukraine on the basis of the decision of a judge of the Leninsky District Court of the Republic of Crimea, Sergey Krasikov. If her Russian citizenship at that time was valid, this is an unprecedented gross violation of the law, which led to a person’s death.

Thirdly, it is known that Andrei Krasikov works in the Dnepropetrovsk local prosecutor’s office number 3, and he is not only a namesake, but also a relative of the Crimean judge Sergey Krasikov.

Fourthly, in Ukraine, Menshikova was found guilty of striking a uniformed punisher of the so-called “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in a Dnepropetrovsk theater — this term refers to the war against the population of Donbass who did not recognize the fascist coup d’etat in Kiev of February 2014. This case received a great deal of public attention in Ukraine, Russia, and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Fifth, the mayor of Dnepropetrovsk (Dnieper), Boris Filatov, spoke of Menshikova’s death in jail with undisguised gloating. “…You run to the Crimea, and your ‘Russian brothers’ deport you back to Ukraine,” “Russia will leave you, son. Always,” he wrote on his Facebook page. In 2014, Filatov was “famous” for the fact that during the process of the Crimea’s separation from Ukraine and joining Russia, he called for lulling Crimeans with any promises, but declaring: “We’ll hang them afterwards.” According to his logic, if it was not possible to punish all Crimeans, then at least one person expelled from Crimea was killed, and by hanging, it turns out — such a message can be found “between the lines” of his words, written now and a few years ago. 

Menshikova is not the only activist opposed to the current Ukrainian regime whom Russian courts and immigrations officials, seeking to please the Kiev authorities, are trying to extradite, on formal immigration violations, to their deaths.

This is happening despite the fact that such authoritative international human rights organizations as Amnesty International recognize the existence of “unofficial” prisons in Ukraine, point to numerous abductions, tortures and massacres of dissidents. Despite the toll of the Kiev authorities — thousands of civilians killed in the Donbass, dozens of Odessa citizens burned alive who protested against the illegitimate authorities. Despite the fact that neo-Nazi formations are officially integrated in the power structures of the new Ukraine, such as the “Right Sector,” recognized in Russia as a criminal extremist organization; such as the “Azov” battalion, which openly uses Hitler’s symbols and ideology. Despite the fact that even European countries neighboring Ukraine constantly point to the regime’s unacceptable ideological stance, its linguistic and national policies which openly contradict internationally recognized norms.

By expelling opponents of the fascist regime to Ukraine on purely formal grounds, denying them political asylum, Russia, in fact, condemns them to torture, to repression for dissent, to notoriously unfair and rigged “courts,” and to death. The tragedy of Menshikova is a clear example of this.

One gets the impression that a formal violation of immigration law is only a pretext for handing over Ukrainian citizens – and in some cases, apparently, even Russian ones — to the Ukrainian fascist regime. At the same time, the fascist regime is able to sow the suspicion that none of the Ukrainian dissidents can count on asylum in Russia, and that if Kiev wants to get someone, it will receive them in any case, even if that person has already been accepted into citizenship by the Russian Federation.

We strongly protest against this practice and declare that it is, in fact, a crime against humanity.

We demand the speedy adoption of a law allowing asylum for Ukrainian citizens in Russia, regardless of the region of their permanent residence in Ukraine, so that a sufficient basis for satisfying their request is a public statement by the applicants that they are implacable opponents of the regime established in their country and they condemn its ideology and practice.

On the basis of the above, we ask you:

1. To conduct the most thorough investigation of the incident of Menshikova’s expulsion, which produced a huge public outcry, and bring the perpetrators to criminal liability.

2. To give a criminal-legal assessment on the death of Russian citizen M.V. Menshikova in a Ukrainian prison.

Yours faithfully,

Denis Valerievich Sommer
Chairperson, Union of Communist Youth

Translated by Greg Butterfield

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