Mass detentions of eco-activists are taking place in Bashkortostan

Mass detentions of eco-activists are taking place in Bashkortostan

In Bashkortostan, law enforcement officers en masse detain environmental activists on the eve of tomorrow’s announcement of the verdict in the case of the defender of Mount Kushtau Fail Alsynov.

According to the publication Idel.Realii, among those detained in various regions of the republic are ex-chairman of the “Bashkort” organization Ilnar Galin, Kushtau activists Yulai Aralbaev, Rafail Abdrakhmanov, and Fanzil Akhmetshin. The police also came to the activist Ildar Yumagulov, who was attacked last year, as a result of which his legs and five ribs were broken.

It is reported that a number of detainees were taken to the Bashkortostan FSB office for questioning.

On Wednesday, January 17, the Baimak district court must sentence one of Kushtau’s defenders, File Alsynov, who is accused of inciting hatred or enmity. According to the investigation, at an assembly of citizens in the village of Ishmurzyno in the Baimak district on April 28, 2023, Alsynov made a speech in which he humiliated the human dignity of the groups of people “inhabitants of the Caucasus”, “Central Asia” and “Armenians”. The activist denies it.

Alsynov previously headed the “Bashkort” organization, which in 2020 the Russian authorities recognized as extremist and banned its activities on the territory of the country. The head of Bashkortostan, Rady Khabirov, demanded that the activist be brought to criminal responsibility for “carrying out extremist activities” and “calling for anti-state demonstrations.”

On the eve of the penultimate hearing in the Alsynov case, about five thousand people came to the building of the Baimak district court. Those gathered chanted “Freedom to File Alsynov!”, “File, we are with you!”, “There will be more of us!”, and also recorded an appeal to President Vladimir Putin demanding the resignation of the head of the Khabirov region.

On Tuesday evening, the Bashkortostan police warned residents about their responsibility for participating in rallies. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the republic stated that “in social networks there are calls to participate in an unauthorized public action on January 17 near the court in Baymak” and called on citizens “not to participate in it, not to succumb to provocations and to comply with the requirements of law enforcement officers.”

According to local residents, DPS patrols were on duty on the square near the Baimak district court all Tuesday.

“Obviously, people will not be allowed to gather on the square itself tomorrow. It has been cleared of snow, special forces will be deployed there. Perhaps Moscow has given the go-ahead to the republican authorities to use force,” one of the local residents told Idel.Realii.

According to the telegram channel “Kushtau Bayram”, the messenger is currently not working for many WhatsApp users in the republic.

  • In 2018, Shikhan (Mountain) Kushtau was handed over to the Bashkir soda company for lime extraction, local residents began to speak out against this decision. After the actions, many activists who spoke in defense of Kushtau were brought to administrative and criminal responsibility.

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