“The only organization is known to be legal in Tatarstan Republic - it is the “United Russia” which almost all the local bureaucrats including the President Shaimiev belong to”. I am not a “Russian National Unity” supporter but it is difficult to quarrel with this statement published in the RNU Open Compellation in connection with arrest of its Kazan branch.
Tatarstan authorities have particularly succeeded in performing Putin’s order for elimination of any dissidence. In autumn 2007 notorious but in camera proceedings over Tatarstan RNU members started in the Supreme Court of Tatarstan Republic in Kazan. In 2003 the Supreme Court of Tatarstan Republic had delivered a decision on prohibition of the RNU activity. The fruit proved to be sweet, and in 2005 its regional branch headed by Ekaterina Melnikova began to develop rapidly. As far as our information goes, there were no facts of public fomentation of national hostility in Tatarstan RNU activity. But Barkashov supporters explained in their leaflets that power in the republic belonged predominantly to Teptyar national clan which had snatched control of industrial and agricultural sectors of economy. Land was being sold to China, oil to Turkey while the poor and unprivileged native Tatar population’s life was going extremely worse and worse. It’s clear these agitation materials were particularly extremist for Tatarstan authorities.
Indeed, searches, arrests and actual annihilation of the organization began in November 2006 with a rather common case - the Kazan RNU supporters have trashed Satanists whose outrages had for a long period annoyed the Aron cemetery visitors. First, the RNU members themselves were detained for facts of depicting swastikas on Jewish tombs and sexual acts in repositories. But the truth came out that it had been informal Satanists who had committed the outrages, and the public naturally demanded to bring them to responsibility. A scandal occurred as long as cemetery amateurs proved to be children of high-rank officials and wealthy people of the city. So the Kazan RNU punished Satanists in their own way. Ekaterina Melnikova, Eugene Nazarov and Alexander Pavlov were taken into custody. A criminal case was initiated against the others - Anton Dukhovich, Oleg Ukhvanisov and Leonid Kislinsky.
The motive for Kazan Barkashov supporters’ arrests was not respectable enough for the authorities. Then one more criminal case was initiated for threats addressed to a Black Kazan inhabitant. The problem is nobody has ever seen the complainant and there are even doubts that such a person actually exists. The Tatarstan Republic prosecutor office’s official website informs that ammunition and even explosives - acetone peroxide were taken off from Barkashov supporters. But most of all the prosecutors’ website is full of mind-frightening phrases on “creating a criminal community” aimed at unspecified “extremism”. The criminals’ roles were distributed: Melnikova was a leaders, and others were not leaders but rank-file RNU members. It is characteristic that the Supreme Court of Tatarstan Republic decision prohibiting parties or organization is illegal as long as only the Supreme Court of RF may prohibit their activity in Russia. The Supreme Court of RF hasn’t taken such a decision on the RNU.
At the trial proceedings period the Tatarstan Republic Human rights Committee stuck up for Kazan RNU supporters in the view of artificial instigation of the process and strong violations of their rights. First, the appeal was against proceeding closed for public for a ground non-existing in the Code of Criminal Procedure of RF - because “information on racial and national identity might be pronounced at proceedings”. Second, the judgments on taking the defendants into custody were delivered in their absence as well as in absence of their lawyers. Third, it is too evident that regardless of Barkashov supporters’ views their charge of 20 articles of the Criminal Code is nothing else but collecting of non-significant facts by the investigators for “notorious” CC articles that can in practice demonstrate to people of any nationality that the “Emperor wears no clothes”.