In Tibet China uses New Forms of Coerced Labor and Micromanaging

Before Xinjiang, there was Tibet. Repressive policies tested there between 2012 and 2016 were then applied to the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in northwestern China: entire cities covered in surveillance cameras, ubiquitous neighborhood police stations, residents made to report on another other.

Now that process also works the other way around. Xinjiang’s coercive labor program — which includes mandatory training for farmers and herders in centralized vocational facilities and their reassignment to state-assigned jobs, some far away — is being applied to Tibet. (Not the internment camps, though.)

Call this a feedback loop of forcible assimilation. It certainly is evidence of the scale of Beijing’s ruthless campaign to suppress cultural and ethnic differences — and not just in Tibet and Xinjiang.

I analyzed more than 100 policy papers and documents from the Tibetan authorities and state-media reports for a study published with the Jamestown Foundation this week. Photos show Tibetans training, wearing fatigues. Official documents outline how Beijing is rolling out for them a militarized labor program much like the one in place in Xinjiang: Tibetan nomads and farmers are being rounded up for military-style classes and taught work discipline, “gratitude” for the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese-language skills.

More than half a million workers have been trained under this policy during the first seven months of the year, according to official documents.

Reuters has confirmed these findings, uncovering more relevant documents. (The Chinese government has denied the charges, including that it is enlisting forced labor in Tibet.)

Tibet has long posed a particular challenge for the Chinese authorities. The region is very far from Beijing and strategically important because of its long border with India. Its people’s culture is distinct, and the devotion of many Tibetans to the Dalai Lama, who simultaneously embodies religious and political power — with a government in exile in India — is a double threat in the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party.

The people of what the Chinese government refers to as the Tibet Autonomous Region — about 3.5 million, mostly nomads and farmers scattered throughout the vast Himalayan plateau — have resisted its encroachment for decades. Notably, riots broke out in the capital, Lhasa, in 2008, just weeks before the Olympic Games in Beijing, following years of tightening restrictions on cultural and religious freedoms.

There reportedly have been more than 150 cases of self-immolation carried out in protest since 2011. (Chinese troops patrolling Tibet carry fire extinguishers as part of their riot-control equipment.)

The Dalai Lama is 85, and the Chinese authorities in Beijing have been trying to shape his succession, asserting, for example, that Buddhist reincarnations must “comply” with Chinese law.

This is but one of the many ways in which Beijing has been doubling down on imposing state controls over Tibetan traditional ways of life.

Tibet, like Xinjiang, nominally is an autonomous region, yet in 2019, its government mandated that all Tibetan nomads and farmers be subjected to what some government directives call “military-style” training for vocational skills and then be assigned low-skilled jobs, for example in manufacturing or the services sector.

Some of the reports I have reviewed, including one by Tibet’s Ethnic Affairs Commission, claim that Tibetans’ religion cultivates “backward thinking.” The city of Chamdo claims to have “carried out the transfer of surplus labor force in agricultural and pastoral areas” in order to overcome Tibetans’ purportedly “poor organizational skills.”

According to a major policy paper by the Tibetan regional government, “The 2019-2020 Farmer and Pastoralist Training and Labor Transfer Action Plan,” the military drill-style skills training, coupled with what the government calls “thought education,” will supposedly compel Tibetans to voluntarily participate in the poverty alleviation efforts prescribed by the state.

As of this year, Tibet’s labor plan has explicitly included the transfer of Tibetan workers to other parts of China, with target quotas for each Tibetan region. Local officials who fail to meet those quotas are subject to punishment.

The main action plan also states that Tibetans are to be “encouraged” to hand over their land and herds to large-scale, state-run cooperatives and become shareholders in them. One state-media account from late July about progress with poverty alleviation describes the program as an effort to get Tibetans to “put down the whip, walk out of the pasture and enter the market.”

Becoming wage laborers forces Tibetans to give up herding and farming, and cuts them off from ancient traditions and sacred landscapes. And that’s just the point.

Many of the program’s main features, and objectives, bear a striking similarity with the plan in place in Xinjiang.

So do other measures designed to marginalize Tibetan culture.

For example, Beijing has drastically accelerated in recent years its efforts to minimize the teaching of the Tibetan language, including outside Tibet.

In late 2015, Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan from the remote nomadic region of Yulshul in Qinghai Province, tried to sue his local government over the curtailment of Tibetan language education. In 2018, he was sentenced to five years in prison for “inciting separatism.”

I reviewed official recruitment notices for teaching jobs in Yulshul and noticed that the number of advertisements for posts for Tibetan and subjects to be taught in Tibetan declined by 90 percent between 2014 and 2019.

Between 2010 and 2018, other Tibetan regions in Qinghai had recruited as many teachers for subjects taught in Tibetan as for subjects taught in Chinese. But in 2019 and this year so far, those regions advertised more than three times as many teaching positions for classes taught in Chinese than for classes in Tibetan. Similar shifts have happened in other Tibetan areas of China, like Ngawa Prefecture in Sichuan Province.

Tibetan Buddhism is also under attack. In the spring of 2019, the mayor of Lhasa claimed that the year before “the number of days major religious activities were held and the number of people attending them both reduced to below 10 per cent.” Last fall, Beijing started forbidding former government officials from practicing circumambulations at sacred sites.

The authorities of the Chamdo region of Tibet, after announcing in 2017 plans to set up video surveillance systems in main Buddhist temples, have spent 275 million yuan (more than $40 million) on a cloud computing system that enables, among other things, what they call “intelligent temple management” — a euphemism for comprehensive digital surveillance and control.

This strategy has old roots.

Back in 1989, the eminent Chinese anthropologist Fei Xiaotong wrote that through a long process of “mixing and melding,” the Han majority and other ethnic groups in China would eventually combine into a single entity: the Chinese nation-race. In Fei’s view, the Han would be at the center of this fusion, because they were the superior culture into which so-called backward minority groups would inevitably assimilate.

The Chinese government adopted Fei’s vision, and for a time tried to help it along with a large dose of top-down economic development.

In 2000, President Jiang Zemin launched the Great Western Development Campaign, bringing infrastructure — and numerous Han — to the western part of China. Local ethnic minorities would benefit from the new economic activity and employment opportunities so long as they were willing to assimilate culturally and linguistically.

Many resisted. Local expressions of ethnic identities flourished. Tibetans and members of other minority groups flocked to schools that taught their languages, and kept their distinct religions alive.

In a speech in the fall of 2019, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed Fei’s vision of ethnic fusion. But Beijing’s means to achieve it have changed.

Forget organic and voluntary assimilation facilitated by economic incentives; now, minorities, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang, are being forced to comply by way of intrusive micromanaging by the state — a police state — armed with sophisticated surveillance systems, detailed databases and intense forms of social control.

Today, poverty alleviation, a pet project of Mr. Xi’s, is a cover for reshaping not only people’s livelihoods, but their entire lifestyles — their languages, religions, cultures and families.

In both Xinjiang and Tibet, teams of government officials are inserting themselves into homes. They are paired with and assigned to households, and work, eat and sleep with the people who live there.

Every Tibetan has a detailed file showing their income, employment status — and the state-approved solution for their situation. Tibetans who are sent to labor in workshops, often far from their families and places of worship, are easier to control. The children they leave behind grow up in boarding schools.

The purpose of these policies is clear, as are the stakes, and targeted groups are trying to push back. The central government’s recent efforts to replace Mongolian with Chinese as the main teaching language in schools in Inner Mongolia has triggered major protests there.

In Fei’s vision, ethnic fusion would happen slowly, naturally. That has failed. In Mr. Xi’s vision, the assimilation of minority groups must be coerced by the state. That, too, will fail.

Adrian Zenz (@adrianzenz) is a senior fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, in Washington, D.C.

Originally published in The New York Times.

DHS – Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Mail-In Voting in 2020 Infrastructure Risk Assessment

Page Count: 11 pages
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All forms of voting – in this case mail-in voting – bring a variety of cyber and infrastructure risks. Risks to mail-in voting can be managed through various policies, procedures, and controls.
The outbound and inbound processing of mail-in ballots introduces additional infrastructure and technology, which increases the potential scalability of cyber attacks. Implementation of mail-in voting infrastructure and processes within a compressed timeline may also introduce new risk. To address this risk, election officials should focus on cyber risk management activities, including access controls and authentication best practices when implementing expanded mail-in voting.

Integrity attacks on voter registration data and systems represent a comparatively higher risk in a mail-in voting environment when compared to an in-person voting environment. This is because the voter is not present at the time of casting the ballot and cannot help to answer questions regarding their eligibility or identity verification.

Operational risk management responsibility differs with mail-in voting and in-person voting processes. For mail-in voting, some of the risk under the control of election officials during in-person voting shifts to outside entities, such as ballot printers, mail processing facilities, and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Physical access at election offices and warehouses represents a risk in a mail-in voting environment. Completed ballots are returned to the election office and must be securely stored for days or weeks before processing through voter authentication and tabulation processes. Managing risks to these processes requires implementing secure procedures for storage, access controls, and chain of custody, such as ballot accounting.
Inbound mail-in ballot processes and tabulation take longer than in-person processing, causing tabulation of results to occur more slowly and resulting in more ballots to tabulate following election night. Media, candidates, and voters should expect less comprehensive results on election night, which creates additional risk of electoral uncertainty and confidence in results.

Disinformation risk to mail-in voting infrastructure and processes is similar to that of in-person voting while utilizing different content. Threat actors may leverage limited understanding regarding mail-in voting processes to mislead and confuse the public.

Election infrastructure includes a diverse set of systems, networks, and processes. Mail-in voting is a method of administering elections. When voting by mail, authorized voters receive a ballot in the mail, either automatically or after the application process. In most implementations, the voter marks the ballot, puts the ballot in an envelope, signs an affidavit, and returns the package via mail or by dropping off at a ballot drop box or other designated location.

Currently, five states (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) automatically send every registered voter a ballot by mail. At least 21 other states have laws that allow at least some elections to be conducted by mail. In addition to the five states that send every voter a ballot, five states (Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, and New Jersey) and the District of Columbia (D.C.) allow a voter to apply to receive a mail-in ballot permanently, so that voters do not have to apply each election.1 Currently, 34 states and D.C. allow any registered voter to request a mail-in ballot. There are 16 states that require voters to have an excuse such as temporary absence from the voting district, illness, or disability or require voters to be of a certain age (typically 65+) to be eligible to receive a ballot by mail. Some states are recognizing COVID-19 as a valid excuse.

Although they perform similar functions, mail-in voting processes and infrastructure vary from state to state and often differ even between counties, parishes, towns, or cities within a state or territory. While each state manages and conducts mail-in elections differently based on state and local legal requirements, common risks and mitigations exist across states and implementations.

Voter registration and mail ballot application processing collects data used to determine voter eligibility, the type of ballot a voter receives, the location or address for mailing the ballot to the voter, and whether election officials can accept the ballot. Either an integrity attack or an availability attack on a voter registration system could result in a voter not being able to cast a ballot or a voter’s ballot not being counted. Integrity attacks on voter registration data and systems represents a comparatively higher risk in a mail-in voting environment than an in-person voting environment. This is because the voter is not present at the time of casting the ballot and cannot help to resolve questions regarding eligibility or verification. Mail-in voters whose registration records are altered or deleted in an integrity attack do not have the opportunity to be issued a provisional ballot, which are available to in-person voters.

  • An integrity attack that removed a voter from the voter registration, permanent mail, or absentee ballot request list could result in the voter not receiving a ballot, unless the voter proactively followed up to re-register, re-apply, or if the election official received the ballot as undeliverable and contacted the voter. The impact is that a voter may not receive a ballot or receipt of a ballot may be delayed, resulting in a jurisdiction potentially not accepting a voted ballot. The voter would still possess the ability to vote in person provisionally.
  • An integrity attack on a voter’s name could result in the voter receiving a ballot package that is not addressed to the proper individual. If there was an integrity attack on a voter’s identifying information (i.e., date of birth [DOB], driver’s license number [DL], last four digits of Social Security number [SSN], etc.), the voter’s proof of ID, where required, would not match the voter’s record. The voter would either need to inform the election official and update his or her voter record (assuming that the voter registration deadline has not passed), or risk having their voted ballot rejected upon receipt.
  • An integrity attack on a voter’s ballot mailing address may result in the voter not receiving a ballot, unless the voter proactively updated his or her registration with the correct address, or the election official received the ballot as undeliverable and contacted the voter. This assumes that the voter registration or ballot application deadline has not passed, allowing the voter to update his or her information. The impact is that a voter may not receive a ballot, or receipt of a ballot is delayed.
  • An integrity attack on a voter’s signature on file could result in the voter having the ballot package rejected and their ballot uncounted. If the state is one of the 19 that requires a voter to receive notification when there is a discrepancy with their signature or the signature on the return ballot envelope is missing (a.k.a. “cure process”), the voter may have an opportunity to correct the situation by being notified that the ballot was rejected and taking action to resolve the issue. This can be done by an election official notifying the voter or a voter checking a ballot tracking system, if available.
  • An availability attack on the voter registration database or specific information, such as a list of mail voters, voter names, or addresses could result in the delay of voters receiving their ballots, and further impact voters’ ability to return ballots on time to ensure they are counted. In most states, a ballot may be returned in person, in which case the impact of an availability attack may only affect the outbound process providing a measure of resilience.

Exposed – Russia Likely to Continue Seeking to Undermine Faith in US Electoral Process

Homeland Security Experts on the Biggest Threats and Challenges the U.S.  Faces in 2020 – Homeland Security Today
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Date: September 3, 2020
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Originating Organization: Cyber Mission Center, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security
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(U//FOUO) We assess that Russia is likely to continue amplifying criticisms of vote-by-mail and shifting voting processes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine public trust in the electoral process. Decisions made by state election officials on expanding vote-by-mail and adjusting in-person voting to accommodate challenges posed by COVID-19 have become topics of public debate. This public discussion represents a target for foreign malign influence operations that seeks to undermine faith in the electoral process by spreading disinformation about the accuracy of voter data for expanded vote-by-mail, outbound/inbound mail ballot process, signature verification and cure process, modifying scale of in-person voting, and safety and health concerns at polling places, according to CISA guidance documents provided to state and local election officials. Since at least March 2020, Russian malign influence actors have been amplifying allegations of election integrity issues in new voting processes and vote-by-mail programs.

(U//FOUO) Russian state media and proxy websites in mid-August 2020 criticized the integrity of expanded and universal vote-by-mail, claiming ineligible voters could receive ballots due to out-of-date voter rolls, leaving a vast amount of ballots unaccounted for and vulnerable to tampering.b These websites also alleged that vote-by-mail processes would overburden the US Postal Service and local boards of election, delaying vote tabulation and

creating more opportunities for fraud and error.

(U//FOUO) Since March 2020, Russian state media and proxy websites have denigrated vote-by-mail processes, alleging they lack transparency and procedural oversight, creating vast opportunities for voter fraud. These outlets also claimed that state election officials and policymakers leveraged the COVID-19 pandemic to justify politically-expedient decisions made on holding primary elections and implementing new voting processes and vote-by-mail programs allegedly designed to benefit specific candidates and influence election outcomes.

(U//FOUO) Throughout the 2020 primary elections, Russian state media and proxy websites amplified public narratives about shortcomings in ballot delivery and processing, such as claims that voters would not receive their mail ballot in time to cast their vote. These websites highlighted reductions in the number of in-person polling places in large cities due to the pandemic and the long lines this caused, claiming this
would disproportionately suppress voting among African-Americans and expose them to the spread of COVID-19.

(U//FOUO) We assess that Russian state media, proxies, and Russian-controlled social media trolls are likely to promote allegations of corruption, system failure, and foreign malign interference to sow distrust in democratic institutions and election outcomes. We base this assessment on content analysis of narratives and themes promoted by Russian state media and proxy websites throughout the 2020 election cycle concerning system integrity issues and parallels with observed Russian troll activity leading up to the 2018 and 2016 elections.

(U//FOUO) Russia continues to spread disinformation in the United States designed to undermine American confidence in democratic processes and denigrate a perceived anti-Russia establishment, using efforts such as Russian-controlled internet trolls and other proxies, according to an ODNI press statement. In the Iowa Caucuses in February, Russian state media and proxy websites claimed that the contest was fixed in favor of establishment candidates and that technical difficulties with the caucusing mobile voting application led to ballot manipulation. These outlets continued this narrative into March 2020, claiming that the Democratic Party made a corrupt back-room deal to orchestrate the exit of establishment candidates to consolidate the vote behind former Vice President BidenUSPER in advance of the Super Tuesday primary elections.

(U) Russian malign influence actors during the 2018 US midterm election claimed they controlled the US voting systems to prompt election integrity concerns, according to press reporting. In the 2016 US presidential election, Russian social media trolls targeted specific communities and claimed the election was rigged by the establishment, encouraging these voters to stay at home or vote for third-party candidates in order to influence the election outcome, according to reports by firms with expertise in social media network analysis.

CHINESE AUTHORITIES ARRESTED AND DISAPPEARED MY FATHER

A young Chinese woman in red aims her bow and arrow off screen.

The last time I saw my father was in 2013. We were on our way to Indiana University, where he was scheduled to begin a fellowship. He was arrested before boarding the plane and taken away. A mild-mannered, studious professor of economics, his life’s work was using his influence to promote peaceful coexistence between the Uyghur people—our people—and the Han ethnic majority that rules China. That went against the interest of the Chinese Communist government, and in 2014 they sentenced him to life in prison. The last time I spoke to him was the day before his arrest. I still don’t know if he is even alive—the last time I heard anything of his whereabouts was in 2017.

In many ways, I can identify with the title character in Disney’s Mulan films, based on the ancient Chinese legend. In the story, as China calls up the men from every family to defend against a foreign invasion, Mulan dresses as a boy and fights in the place of her father, who is too old to go himself. As a child growing up in Beijing, I loved the legend and the fun Disney cartoon version produced in 1998. Little did I know that I, like Mulan, would later be fighting for my own father—helping to carry on his work while he is unjustly imprisoned. I hope, like her, to achieve victory by one day gaining my father’s release.

Today, sadly, a new retelling of the Mulan story, once again by Disney, is profiting from the oppression of my people. This live-action version was filmed partly in the Uyghur region—officially known in China as “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”—where the Chinese Communist government is holding at least one million members of Turkic ethnic minorities in concentration camps as part of a coordinated genocidal campaign. My father, if he is alive, may be among them—nobody will allow us to visit him, or even tell us where he is.

Despite widespread international condemnation of China’s brutal tactics in Xinjiang, Disney still chose to go there to film this movie, delivering money and the prestige of an international “family” brand to those directly engaged in genocide. Adding insult to injury, in the closing credits, they even made sure to thank the local government “bureau of public security” (also known as state police) and “publicity department” (or propaganda). These are the very same government agencies in the Uyghur region that are imprisoning Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities, and then telling their families and the international press they are merely being held in “training centers.” The “public security” office is currently under sanctions by the U.S. government for human rights abuses.

Disney still chose to go there to film this movie, delivering money and the prestige of an international “family” brand to those directly engaged in genocide.

Our people are no strangers to persecution and exploitation. Starting in the 1950s, the Communist government started pushing Han Chinese to move to the Uyghur region in a purposeful move to solve their own overcrowding and speed up the “Sinicization” of the Uyghur population. Their tactics have only become more aggressive since.

What is more disheartening is the West’s complicity, and specifically the major multinational corporations that are enabling the cultural genocide of the Uyghurs. China routinely uses its political prisoners as a source of forced labor in factories, and Uyghur prisoners have reportedly been put to work making products for major brands like Nike, Apple, and Gap. Recently the Trump administration announced plans to ban certain agricultural products from China due to concerns about their use of forced labor.

Hollywood isn’t immune from the charms of Beijing either. The promise of access to the massive Chinese market is irresistible for a movie industry desperate for revenue in the COVID era when movie ticket sales are down. While many theaters in the United States remain shut down, Mulan will be opening in Chinese theaters.

It appears, sadly, that Disney is the latest in the long and disappointing line of Western people and companies taken advantage of by China. We can hope, at least, that the outcry against Disney on behalf of the Uyghurs and freedom-loving people everywhere will not only lead others to #BoycottMulan in the short term, but in the long term demand that Western companies cease cooperating with Chinese oppression.

At the same time, I have learned to be positive. Disney has a chance to respond constructively to this issue. They could at least acknowledge the controversy, and maybe even donate some of their profits from Mulan and its merchandise to Uyghur families and survivors of the cultural genocide. In the end, we may even thank them for raising awareness of this issue—because the more the world knows, the less the Chinese Communist government can get away with.

Jewher Ilham is the Uyghur Human Rights Fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Originally published in Daily Beast.

Must See Video – So protzen Russlands Nachwuchs-Spione vom FSB

Ruhig, unsichtbar, diskret? So treten Russlands Nachwuchs-Geheimdienstler vom FSB jedenfalls nicht auf. Um ihren Abschluss zu feiern, protzen sie mit dicken, schwarzen Karren auf Moskaus Straßen – und kriegen mächtig Ärger.

Reevealed – Undercover for Center E

From biggest CIA leaker Hanssen to 'undercover agent' Fogle: US-Russia spy  scandals in 21st century — RT World News

recent story from the Russian legal news outlet “Mediazona” dives into the case of a woman living in the far-eastern city of Chita, who was charged with justifying terrorism because of a social media post. The woman claims that after searching her home, investigators from the regional Anti-Extremism Center (Center E) offered to help her get a lighter sentence: all she had to do in return was infiltrate the Chita branch of “Union SSR” — a trade union organization that denies the collapse of the Soviet Union and doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of the Russian Federation. “Meduza” summarizes this ongoing story, which, in the words of “Mediazona” editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov, offers an inside look at the work of Russia’s secretive Center E.

From suspect to undercover agent

In March 2019, 31-year-old Victoria (whose last name hasn’t been disclosed, at her request) wrote a post on the Russian social networking site VKontakte about the mass shooting that had taken place at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. “Does anyone feel sorry for them? I don’t. And here’s why,” the message began. Victoria wrote that Muslims in New Zealand were “organizing almost public festivals, at which they openly rejoiced at the murders and atrocities of militants.” Victoria claims that she copied the message from a VKontakte group, where the attack on the mosques was being discussed. Eleven people saw her post before she deleted it. But Major Alexander Petrov, an investigator from Center E, managed to take a screenshot.

On January 14, 2020, police officials searched the apartment where Victoria lives with her parents. They were carrying out an investigation on the basis of a report from Major Petrov, who was also present during the search. At his request, Victoria handed over her flashdrive, laptop, and cell phone, and then she was taken away for interrogation. The next day, she met with Major Petrov again. He gave her a copy of the search record and suggested that they collaborate. Petrov promised Victoria that he would provide the court with a note confirming that she had helped the police — and suggested that she infiltrate the Union SSR trade union. The investigator described the organization’s work as destructive and said that activists from its Chita branch were attacking bailiff offices.

Three days later Victor agreed to cooperate with the police. Major Petrov sent her a link to a chat group on the messaging app Telegram, which included around 1,000 people from different cities across Russia. Victoria wrote to the group, saying that she had decided to join the trade union at the recommendation of a friend from Donbas (Ukraine). She later joined a video conference on Zoom, where Union SSR activists took turns speaking: the conversation revolved around claims that the Soviet Union still exists and that the Russian Federation is a commercial organization. They also shared advice on how to avoid paying back loans.

The set up

At the end of January, one of the trade union’s members invited Victoria for a meeting. She agreed and told Major Petrov about it. Two Center E investigators gave her instructions: they needed to find out where the local Union SSR branch was gathering and what it was doing. They also gave her recording devices. Victoria met with the trade union activist at the train station‚ Major Petrov and his colleague recorded what was happening on video. According to Victoria, after three hours of conversation, she came to the conclusion the Union SSR reminded her of a sect.

At the beginning of February, also on assignment from Center E, Victoria spent about six hours talking to the leader of Union SSR’s Chita branch, Elena Usova. Afterwards, she told the police officers that Usova seemed like “a normal person.” Usova herself told Mediazona that by the time she spoke with Victoria she stopped participating in the trade union’s actions; she considered them pointless.

Victoria says that she soon realized that the Union SSR supporters didn’t pose any danger. She stopped monitoring them, but didn’t refuse to cooperate with the police explicitly. In response to all of the questions from Major Petrov, she said that the organization’s activists and leaders weren’t telling her anything. Victoria told Elena Usova that they had tried to have her infiltrate Union SSR as an agent (when this happened remains unclear).

“I got the impression that the [police officers] want me to get into this group, and then add both me and this group to my case. ‘Look, she’s not so squeaky-clean after all’,” Victoria says.

On February 17, a month after the start of her cooperation with Center E, the Investigative Committee launched a criminal case against Victoria for justifying terrorism — over the post about the mass shooting in New Zealand. The next day, they interrogated her as a suspect in the case.

Terrorism charges

On July 3, Major Alexander Petrov made Victoria a new offer — he asked her to go undercover and join the “Popular Patriotic Party of Russia — Power to the People.” The investigator described the party as oppositionist and said its members are “actually linked to weapons.” Petrov asked Victoria to engage in the party’s activities “closely” and promised to pay her 10,000–11,000 rubles monthly ($134–$147). “We really need them,” the police officer explained. “We’re completely worn down because of them […] These people and all this nonsense have had us bouncing around.” Victoria recorded this conversation on her phone and then gave the recording to Mediazona’s editors.

That same day, the investigator asked her via Telegram to testify against Chita resident Alexey Zakruzhny (the video blogger behind the YouTube channel “Lyokha Kochegar”), who is facing a criminal case for inciting mass riots. According to Victoria, the major had suggested previously that she monitor social media and take screenshots of suspicious posts (she refused).

Three days later, Victoria told the Center E investigator that she wasn’t going to infiltrate “Power to the People” or testify in Alexey Zakruzhny’s case. A week later, investigators came to search her apartment once again. And on July 14, she was charged with justifying terrorism — before she was only a suspect in the case.

On July 27, Major Petrov met with Victoria for the last time. The police officer had found out that she had not only told Elena Usova from Union SSR about her undercover work, but also told Alexey Zakruzhny’s lawyer about the fact that she was asked to testify against the blogger. During the meeting, Petrov demanded she turn off her phone, so Victoria wasn’t able to record the conversation. According to her, the investigator said that he had been suspended from work for the duration of an internal investigation. Petrov, Victoria claims, promised to ruin her life and threatened her with criminal charges for illegally disclosing state secrets. “He said that now everyone at the [Anti-Extremism Center] is pointing fingers at him. That I violated his measured lifestyle. He asked, what for? After all, he really wanted to help me!” Victoria says, recalling his words.

On August 11, the prosecutor’s office referred the case against Victoria for justifying terrorism to court. The trial’s start data remains unknown.

Video – Russland: Der Fall Nawalny – Opposition in Gefahr

Die Vergiftung von Oppositionsführer Alexej Nawalny ist nicht der erste Anschlag gegen einen Putin-Kritiker. Politischer Widerstand in Russland kann lebensgefährlich sein.

Regimekritiker Michail Efremow vor dubiosem Moskauer Gericht – 11 Jahre Gefängnis gefordert

Russland: Populärer Schauspieler nach Alkoholfahrt mit tödlichem Ausgang  unter Hausarrest — RT Deutsch

Das Gericht verkündet demnächst ein Urteil über den Regimekritiker & Schauspieler Michail Efremow. Die Staatsanwaltschaft fordert, den Schauspieler wegen eines Unfalls, bei dem der 57-jährige Sergei Zakharov starb, zu 11 Jahren Gefängnis zu verurteilen.

Hintergrund: Mikhail Efremov stürzte am 8. Juni auf dem Smolenskaya-Platz in Moskau betrunken in einen Lada-Van in seinem Grand Cherokee-Jeep. Der Fahrer des Lieferwagens Der 57-jährige Kurier des Delikateska-Online-Shops, Sergei Zakharov, wurde getötet.

Zeugen:

Mikhail Efremov – Schauspieler, Angeklagter

Elman Pashayev – Efremovs Anwalt

Verwandte von Sergei Zakharov – Opfer

Alexander Dobrovinsky – Anwalt für Zakharovs Verwandte

Mehrere Dutzend Journalisten

Zuschauer

Was die Staatsanwaltschaft verlangt: Verurteilung von Yefremov zu 11 Jahren in einer Kolonie des Generalregimes – fast die Höchstdauer nach diesem Artikel des Strafgesetzbuchs. Um einen Führerschein für drei Jahre zu entziehen, zahlen Sie drei Verwandten des Verstorbenen einen Rubel und 500.000 Rubel an Zakharovs ältesten Sohn.

Was die Verteidigung verlangt: Efremov nicht seiner Freiheit zu berauben, ihn in extremen Fällen in eine Koloniesiedlung zu schicken. „11 Jahre sind sehr blutrünstig. Dies ist ein Todesurteil “, sagte Efremov selbst.

Ort und Zeit der Klage: Presnensky Court of Moscow, Beginn der Sitzung – 11:00 Uhr (russische Zeit), 8.9.2020