Why “deep cleaning” at the Prosecutor’s Office?

«Генеральная уборка Генеральной прокуратуры»

A protest action called the “Deep Cleaning of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation” was held in Moscow on the 9th of July. It was organized by the Inter-Regional Trade Union of the Higher-Education Teaching Personnel «University Solidarity» and the Moscow branch of the «Rainbow Association» gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organization. There were approximately fifty trade union and LGBT activists at the Petrovsky Gates protesting against the persecution of the teachers at the Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NArFU, Arkhangelsk, Russia), conducted by the Prosecution Office and the Federal Security Service of Russia, for the teachers’ social activity and open support of LGBT people.

The organizers planned to hold the action in front of the building of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, but the authorities banned it. The picket was then organized further down the street.

The main demand of the protestors was that the Prosecution Office cease its illegal interference of the into the labor-management relations on the side of boss. The participants of the action held up placards that read: “The Prosecution Office must not provoke, but prevent delinquency”, “Say NO to the prosecutor’s persecution of the NArFU professors for outspoken support for the LGBT-community”, “Want to work – keep quiet”, “We demand the restore of Oleg Klyuenkov, Assistant Professor”, “We demand an end to repression against Olga Pospelova, Senior Research Fellow”, “Labor rights are for everyone” and so on.

During the picket passers-by were asked to take part in an activity called «Deep Cleaning of the Prosecutor General’s Office». The passerbys could help to scrub a three foot by three foot model of the cover page of the law “On the Prosecution Office” that had been smeared with grime. The protesters asserted that the first paragraph of the Federal Law has been infringed by the Arkhangelsk Local Prosecution Office, because of its actions in bringing disciplinary charges against the teachers of NArFU and the members of the «University Solidarity» Trade Union.

The protesters noted that, due to the Prosecutor’s recommendations, the assistant professor Oleg Klyuenkov was dismissed from his job and the senior research fellow Olga Pospelova got a severe reprimand. The protesters further asserted that the administration of NArFU doesn’t try to conceal that law enforcement agencies interfere with labor relations in order to monitor the activity of the LGBT organization “Racurs,” the most members of which are university professors. For example, the assistant professor Tatiana Vinnichenko was forced to abandon any kind of social activity in order to continue activity at the University. These employees of the University say they won’t give up and they have already appealed in court.

“We are sure that our action on the July 9 caused the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation to pay attention to the abusive actions of their colleagues in Arkhangelsk and the injustice done to the academic staff,” says Pavel Kudyukin, Co-Chairperson of the «University Solidarity» Trade Union. “These are the teachers dismissed during the last 4 months because of their social activity: Mr. Zubov, a professor of the MGIMO-University; Miss Tchebakova, a assistant professor of the N. Pirogov's Russian National Research Medical University; and Mr. Klyuenkov, a assistant professor of the Northern (Arctic) Federal University, and Mr. Yasaveev, a assistant professor of the Kazan University. Unfortunately, the list might be growing. We cannot ignore the repressions instigated by the Prosecutor’s Office in Arkhangelsk. Otherwise any teacher can become victim.”

The leaders of the LGBT community are of the same opinion. Dmitry Svetly, the coordinator of the «Rainbow Association», commented on the situation, “Labor discrimination because of sexual orientation, gender identity, and LGBT activism is a common thing, especially in the sphere of education. We can resist it only if we are ready to resist and support each other. That was the reason why we joined the campaign organized by the “University Solidarity” Trade Union. We are ready to act promptly if the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian fails to rein in its Arkhangelsk department.”

Last week approximately one hundred trade unions and social organizations sent letters of protest to the Rector of NArFU Elena Kudryashova. In these letters they underline their readiness to support actions against the persecution of the University professors. The Moscow picket on July 9 was the third in a row of similar actions. On the same day activists in Orel were protesting in support of the lecturer Klyuenkov. A few days’ earlier there was an action against the persecution of NArFU teachers in Murmansk.

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