Russia: Call for Support for Yuri Vella Aivaseda

——- Forwarded Message ——-
From: Gail Osherenko < gailo@Dartmouth.EDU>

Dear Colleagues,

Please read the report below regarding the current legal battle of
Yuri Aivaseda (Vella). He is one of the early and steadfast advocates
of indigenous rights in Northwest Siberia. Your letters of protest to
appropriate authorities and other efforts on behalf of Nenets, Khanty,
and Mansi of northwest Siberia faced with destruction of their
homelands by oil and gas interests will be greatly appreciated.

In the name of human rights.
Gail Osherenko

Institute of Arctic Studies, Dartmouth College
Co-author with Andrei Golovnev of Siberian Survival (Cornell Univ.
Press 1999), see pp. 106, 111-112 for background on Yuri Vaella.

—– Original Message (This message has been edited slightly from the
original for readability in English) —–
From: Vladislav Peskov <>

Call for Support

Yury Aivaseda (Vella), the Soros Foundation premium winner “For
Asceticism”, well-known poet and writer, reindeer-breeder, Nenetsian
keeping the traditional way of the life-style on his patrimony lands
in Hanti-Mansiysk Autonomous Area is groundlessly exposed to criminal
prosecution for his activities aimed to defence the rights of
indigenous people of the North.

The institution of the criminal case against him is artificially
initiated for his actions launched in extreme situation within the
existed Russian Legislation (Chapter 12 of the Civilian Code of RF).
According to messages of Yury Aivaseda (received by fax and telephone)
on 14 September 2000, the workers of the oil company “Western Siberia
– Lukoil”, in violation of law, started to destroy the road connecting
the nomad camps of the indigenous people with the village. That might
make it absolutely impossible for some of the indigenous people
families to leave the patrimony areas, to get medical help, buy food
in the shop, deliver children to the school, or get to the post-office
and state institutions. The destruction of the road would completely
cut off the families of the indigenous people from the main world. The
actions on road destruction had demonstratively cynical character –
the excavator destroyed the road in the presence of the families with
kids. The kids were crying.

The representative of the company threatened to destroy the roads and
bridges connecting the patrimony lands with the main roads several
times previously, to cut off the people from the external world. That
pressure was because of efforts of Yury Aivaseda to defend his rights
and the rights of his neighbours on traditional life-style. Several
times those threats were implemented. The indigenous people had no
technical possibilities to restore the roads.

On 14 September 2000, trying to stop those barbaric attempts of
suppression of the human respect, and to resist to the violation of
the constitutional rights and creation of the impossible living
conditions, and in self-defence of the civil rights, Yury Aivaseda
cleaved the wheels of the excavator that destroyed the road. Those
actions were taken out of serious need and wish to stop the actions
injuring children, to end the actions shocking them.

Those actions of Aivaseda forcedly estimated as criminal offence,
there was called a criminal investigation for Aivaseda with
publication of his photo and information about him as about a person
suspected of a crime. The attempt to initiate criminal proceedings
against Aivaseda has cynical and demonstrative character, and aimed to
injure the reputation and humiliate the honour and respect of the
leader of the movement for the indigenous people rights defence,
well-known not only in Russia, but also abroad.

We ask the world community to appeal to the governmental institutions
of the Russian Federation to stop the illegal persecution of the
person for his attempt to defence his constitutional rights.

We ask to address letters of protest to the Ministry of Internal
Affairs of RF, The General Prosecutor of RF, The Governor of
Hanti-Mansiysk Autonomous Area (Hanti-Mansiysk town), Administration
of the Internal Affairs of the Hanti-Mansiysk Autonomous Area, The
Prosecutor of Hanti-Mansiysk Autonomous Area.

Public Organisation The Rights Centre “Rodnik”
Association of the Indigenous People of the North of Sakhalin region
The President of the Association of the Indigenous People of the North
of Khabarovsk krai
Participants of the seminar “Defence of the rights of indigenous
people of Sakhalin on traditional life-style” (1-7 of October 2000,
v.Nogliki, Sakhalin region).

P.S. For additional information contact the Centre “Rodnik”

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