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Mikhail Fedotov (left, in file photo)
MOSCOW -- A group dedicated to memorializing Russian victims of political repression has held its first session in Moscow, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Mikhail Fedotov, a member of the working group and chief of the Presidential Council for Human Rights, told RFE/RL that the group's proposals will be presented to President Dmitry Medvedev by March 1.

Fedotov also said several subgroups were established by the working group at the January 16 session. The subgroups will address issues regarding scientific research, education, Duma legislation, and cooperation with foreign governments and other groups.

The working group was established by Medvedev on December 27. Such prominent political and social figures as Kirov Oblast Governor Nikita Belykh, writer Daniil Granin, Russian State Archive Director Sergei Mironenko, and Moscow-based Memorial human rights center Chairman Arseny Roginsky are among its members.

Read more in Russian here
Yulia Tymoshenko has been jailed for seven years
Some 15 women activists were barred from wishing jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko a happy New Year at the labor camp in eastern Ukraine where she is being held.
The activists brought leaflets and flowers to the Kachaniv labor camp, outside of Kharkiv. But labor camp officials refused to take any gifts for Tymoshenko because, they said, more investigations of the ex-premier are pending and the investigators' approval is needed before the flowers, poems, and other gifts can be given to her.
January 13 was New Year's Eve according to the old Julian calendar used in Ukraine, Russia, and other Orthodox Christian subjects of the Russian empire until 1918.
The activists say their visit to the labor camp is not a protest but simply a visit to congratulate Tymoshenko on the holiday. They added that they will pass their gifts to Tymoshenko via parliament deputies who have a right to visit Tymoshenko at the labor camp.
Tymoshenko, 51, was taken without notice from her jail in Kyiv to the Kachaniv labor camp two weeks ago.
Tymoshenko was jailed in October for seven years for exceeding her authority in brokering a 2009 gas deal with Russia. She served as prime minister in 2005 and from 2007 to 2010.
Tymoshenko unsuccessfully ran for president against incumbent Viktor Yanukovych in 2010. She and her supporters say the case against her is politically motivated.
Tymoshenko's husband, Oleksandr Tymoshenko, was granted political asylum in the Czech Republic last week.
He told RFE/RL in Prague on January 9 that he was forced to seek asylum because of authoritarian rule in Ukraine. He added that the Ukrainian authorities want to "physically destroy" his wife.

-- RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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