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An “Open Russia” activist, Oleg Maksakov, was beaten in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia on Monday. A spokesperson for Open Russia suspects Prigozhin’s hidden hand. Prigozhin’s called Putin’s “chef” even though he apparently doesn’t cook and caterer-government contractor appears more accurate. Prigozhin linked networks apparently keep “enemies of the people” lists, which included Oleg Maksakov. Prigozhin also has a perfect profile to be a Russian mobster, as discussed here, along with other details: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/02/17/prigozhin-caterer-to-the-kremlin-and-sanctioned-defense-contractor-with-perfect-mafia-profile-indicted-for-meddling-in-us-elections/

Svoboda.org reported on Tuesday:

Link: http://youtu.be/ZUrOChSu7gY
20 February 2018
Oleg Maksakov an activist from “Open Russia” was beaten on Monday (Feb.19) in St. Petersburg. Two attackers assaulted him when he left his home. They did not rob him. He connects the attack with his protest activities. Maksakov repeatedly organized anti-war actions. This is not the first attack on the opposition in St. Petersburg recently. In October, activist of “Solidarity” Vladimir Shipitsin was beaten. In January, during a demonstration in support of a Russian election boycott, unknown persons attacked human rights activist Dinar Idrisov. In February, a municipal deputy, Sergei Vinichenko, was beaten. Based on translation of Russian original: https://www.svoboda.org/a/29050663.html

According to Natalia Gryaznevich, spokesperson for Open Russia, February 19:
A couple of years ago there was a series of attacks on opposition activists in St. Petersburg. A car was burned and someone was beaten. Criminal charges were brought, but the investigation went nowhere. Activists and journalists then found out that the traces led to Putin’s caterer (aka “cook” or “chef”) Prigozhin. Prigozhin, she points out, takes on all of the dirty work of the Kremlin: from the war in Syria to US election interference, as well as beating up Putin regime opponents. Prigozhin linked web sites and vkontakte groups-network keep lists of “enemies of the people” with photos and home addresses of activists, she tells us. Oleg is on that list. Everyone who finds himself on such lists need to be more careful, she warns, though it is not very clear how to protect yourself from hired goons attacking at the door of your apartment or home. Recently, there have been several attacks in St. Petersburg on political and human rights activists. Based on translation of her Facebook post. Read the original Russian here: https://www.facebook.com/nataliagraz/posts/10155297838382876

While neither RFERL nor VOA reported this important case in English, the Moscow Times did, and provided the Facebook link above: “Open Russia Activist Beaten Outside Home in St. Petersburg, Feb. 20 2018 – 13:02, https://themoscowtimes.com/news/open-russia-activist-beaten-outside-home-st-petersburg-60569

While Svoboda is the Russian version of RFERL, it is very important that word get out in languages that can be commonly understood outside of Russia. Shame, shame on RFERL and VOA for not providing an English version – is Trump corrupting them?

RFERL did report on the blocking of the Open Russia related web sites:
Russian Media Regulator Blocks Website Backed By Khodorkovsky
February 21, 2018 21:06 GMT RFE/RL

Russia’s media regulator has blocked a website backed by former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the latest media site to be blacklisted by the agency.

Roskomnadzor’s decision to add MBK Media to its blacklist, less than four weeks before Russia’s presidential election, follows a request from the Prosecutor-General’s Office.

The agency did not provide further details.

MBK said in a February 21 statement that the organization had not received any notice from Roskomnadzor about the blacklisting. (https://mbk.media/news/sajt-mbx-media-zablokirovali )

The site, which publishes a mix of news and commentary, is funded by Khodorkovsky, who was once Russia’s richest man until he ran afoul of the Kremlin in the early 2000s. He was imprisoned for more than a decade on charges his supporters said were trumped up. His oil company, Yukos, was dismantled, its largest assets sold off to state oil giant Rosneft.

Since being pardoned by President Vladimir Putin in 2013, Khodorkovsky has lived in Europe and funded opposition groups, such as Open Russia.

Earlier this month, Roskomnadzor blocked the website of anticorruption crusader Aleksei Navalny, who has been barred from challenging Putin in next month’s election.

Putin, who has effectively been in power since 1999, is widely expected to win a new six-year term.

Roskomnadzor late last year began blocking access to websites of organizations deemed “undesirable” by the Justice Ministry under a 2015 law aimed at restricting the activity of organizations the Kremlin accuses of fomenting political dissent. (https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-blocks-access-website-khodorkovsky-open-russia-prodemocracy-group/28910984.html )

Authorities in December 2017 blocked access to several websites of Open Russia, a civil-society nongovernmental organization founded by Khodorkovsky.

Amnesty International denounced the move, saying that Russian authorities “are clearly targeting Open Russia in a bid to suffocate dissent and pluralism in the Russian media and expunge Khodorkovsky’s presence in Russian politics and societyCopyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036“.

Emphasis our own throughout.