Vladimir Kozlov, a Mari-El activist, illegally held inside Russia

The news article on the Information Center of Finno-Ugric Peoples website continues to document the persecution of Mari-El activists in Russia.

The latest trouble leaves Vladimir Kozlov unable to leave Russia. The Russian authorities have purposely delayed issuing a new passport for Mr. Kozlov to replace the one that was torn by Russian border officials the last time he tried leaving the country. This is unconstitutional in the new “democratic” Russia.

I’ve written about Vladimir Kozlov’s troubles with the Russian dictatorship before:
Mari-El activists still persecuted in Russia

English translation of the Estonian language news article appended.


Mari opposition leader barred exit from Russia

Russian authorities are refusing to issue a new passport to Mr Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the Mari Congress (“Mari Ushem”) — principal opposition force in the Republic of Mari-El, — thus preventing him from attending an international conference on minority rights in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, over the weekend.

Mr Kozlov’s problems with his passport began in May 2006, when Russian border guards in Vyborg removed him from a train bound for Helsinki, Finland, where he was to attend a summer course for museum workers. The official reason for the move was that Mr Kozlov’s passport was torn. Russian border officials had ripped two pages off Mr Kozlov’s passport, thus rendering the document invalid.

After this incident, Mr Kozlov has failed to obtain a new passport, despite several attempts. Under Russian law, the maximum period for issuing passports is one month. Russia retains a two-passport system, in which an “internal passport” is required in dealings with officials within Russia and a “foreign passport” for travel outside Russia. Refusing foreign passports was a common practice in the Soviet Union for preventing undesired individuals from establishing contacts abroad.

Mari national leader barred from taking part in minority rights seminar Finno-Ugric Peoples’ Information Centre/ Tallinn, 06 Sep 2006

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