Gumar Ganiyev opens the gates of the compound where members of the Islamic sect he belongs to have lived in seclusion since the early 2000s outside Kazan, capital of the Russian province of Tatarstan, earlier this month.
The recent headlines in the Russian press were sensational: Members of a reclusive Islamic sect were said to be living in an isolated compound with underground burrows, some as deep as eight stories underground, without electricity or heat.
Reporters have descended on the compound, on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, but have had only limited access and have not been able to confirm all the allegations by Russian officials.
Activist Alexandra Volgina (right) accepts the Red Ribbon Award at the 19th International AIDS Conference for her grassroots group Patients in Control, which has worked to improve HIV treatment programs in Russia.
Credit Ryan Rayburn / IAS
In countries where censorship is part of daily life, speaking out against the government often requires innovative tactics. No one knows this better than Russian activist Alexandra Volgina.
A few years ago, Volgina, an HIV-positive mother from St. Petersburg, wanted the Russian Ministry of Health to fix their floundering HIV treatment program. So she launched a "Google bomb."