Tag Archives: Repression

Some Who Left: A New Wave Of Russian Emigration

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – April 21, 2015) Hundreds of thousands have left Russia over the last two years, citing a variety of political, economic, and personal reasons. According to Russian government statistics, 203,000 people left the country permanently in the first eight months of 2014. That’s up from 186,000 in 2013, and very likely to break Russia’s […]

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Russian dissidents seek asylum in Kyiv

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(opendemocracy.net – Anna Yalovkina – Anna Yalovkina is a journalist from Kyrgyzstan and a correspondent at the internet portal Vecherny Bishkek. She writes for lenta.ru and films video for RFE/RL – April 17, 2015) As oppression heats up in Russia, post-revolutionary Ukraine is attracting political émigrés from the Russian opposition. From the moment the Maidan started in Ukraine, Russian authorities rushed […]

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Why Putin’s Next War Will Be at Home; A pollster and a former Putin adviser predict new popularity problems-and renewed focus on domestic enemies

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – April 17, 2015) Vladimir Putin appeared this week in his annual marathon television broadcast to answer questions posed by viewers from across Russia. Of course, the four-hour show, Direct Line With Vladimir Putin, was carefully choreographed to avoid anything that could embarrass the Russian leader. But that doesn’t mean the broadcast shied away […]

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Russian Investigators Have Difficulty Accessing Nemtsov Murder Suspects in Chechnya

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor – Volume 12, Issue 68 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Valery Dzutsev – April 13, 2015) Six weeks after the assassination of prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov near the Kremlin in Moscow, authorities have failed to present a coherent explanation for the crime. As one observer has pointed out: “It looks like the Kremlin has […]

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Russian state will not clamp down on dissenters, senate speaker says

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, April 1, 2015) Russia does not intend to conduct a clampdown on the opposition as it is not threatened by a “colour revolution” no matter how hard the West tries to de-stabilize the interior situation in the country, Russian Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko has said. “The Russian state does not intend to pursue a clampdown […]

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Health Care Workers to Hunger-Strike in Protest of Labor Conditions

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 24, 2015) Health care workers in central Russia threatened to stage a hunger strike starting Monday to protest what they described as “repercussions” against co-workers who demanded better working conditions and higher salaries at previous protests, media reports said. The hunger strike, planned in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan, […]

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‘Top 15 Russian Fears for ’15’ — a ‘Versiya’ Checklist

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 14, 2015) Russians face so many problems and have so many fears that it is often a daunting task to ensure that one is keeping track of all of them. As a guide for the perplexed, Kseniya Veretennikova provides a checklist of the “top 15 fears” Russians have about the year […]

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Khodorkovsky Speech Aired in St. Pete Hotel Despite Chaos

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – December 8, 2014) It seems St. Petersburg authorities on Sunday did not want a Holiday Inn conference room to show a speech by one of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and vocal critics: Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The conference area was searched for drugs, police attempted to evacuate the building because of a bomb […]

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Moscow Ready to Use Internal Troops against Any Maidan-Like Activity in Russia, Interior Minister Says

Kremlin and Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 29, 2014) In words that are clearly intended to intimidate but that may have just the opposite effect by exposing official nervousness, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev says that Moscow is ready to use its internal troops against any Maidan-like activity in any part of the Russian Federation. The minister told […]

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Half of Russians Expect Repeat of Soviet-Era Repression, Poll Says

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – October 30, 2014) Nearly half of all Russians believe that a return to Soviet-era repression is possible within their lifetime, a poll by the state-run Public Opinion Foundation revealed Wednesday. The poll, titled “Mass Repression in the Soviet Union,” examined the public’s perceptions and interpretations of Soviet-era repression. Millions were persecuted for […]

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Interfax: Poll: Western-style democracy won’t work for Russia

Map of Russia

(Interfax – October 28, 2014) Russians are prone to describe the Western democratic model as unviable under the Russian conditions but exhibit an interest in the life and work in Western countries, sociologists told Interfax. Fifty-five percent of 1,630 respondents polled by the Levada Center in 134 populated localities in 46 regions in September said Russia needed a special type […]

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Can Russia Disconnect From The Internet?

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(RFE/RL – Luke Johnson – October 02, 2014) After chairing a meeting of the Russian Security Council on October 1, President Vladimir Putin insisted the Kremlin was not planning to limit access to the Internet or put it under total state control. The authorities would, however, take additional measures to increase cybersecurity and continue to shut down sites promoting extremism, xenophobia, […]

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RIA Novosti: Putin’s spokesman rules out return of Iron Curtain

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, October 1, 2014) It is absurd to raise the issue of a possible closure of the Russian borders, the Russian president’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov has said, commenting on a survey by the Levada Centre about the possibility of a return of the Iron Curtain. “The absurdity of this survey does not require any answer,” Peskov […]

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Khodorkovsky Says ‘No Politics’ Deal Made With Putin

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 2, 2014) Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has said his surprise release from prison last December was facilitated by an agreement made with President Vladimir Putin to stay away from politics, but added that the deal expires in August. When asked about his abstention from political life since his surprise presidential […]

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Kremlin to tighten screws in wake of Kiev unrest

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – February 24, 2014) A Moscow court sentenced seven people on Monday to prison terms ranging from one to four years for their roles in protest riots on the city’s Bolotnaya Ploshchad in May 2012, in a ruling seen as an indicator of whether government pressure would increase on the opposition in the […]

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Five Stories From Put-Upon Small Business in Moscow

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – December 18, 2013) Before Mayor Sergei Sobyanin came to power in 2010, Guram Bolkvadze, a businessman from Georgia, owned 24 kiosks at bus stops across Moscow. Then one day, he was given just a few hours to get his goods out of the shops before the bulldozers came in and leveled 18 […]

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Interfax: There is no persecution of political views in Russia, but ‘law can’t be violated with actions’ – Putin

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said that no one is imprisoning anyone for their political views in Russia, but no one allowed to take actions that break the law. “No one is grabbing anyone and no one is imprisoning anyone for ideas, for political views, and we will never allow that. We will never go back […]

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A memorial day few Russians want to remember

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Julia Reed in Moscow – November 7, 2013) “Who was killed in your family?” A man in a beret in his early 60s asked me as he joined the long queue of people. We were both attending the annual recital of the names of the victims of political repressions in Russia by the Solovetsky […]

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The writing on the wall?

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(opendemocracy.net – Daniil Kotsyubinsky – November 5, 2013) Daniil Kotsyubinsky is a Russian historian and journalist based in St. Petersburg On Friday, a Russian news agency had its publishing licence revoked, supposedly for publishing two ‘profane’ Youtube clips. For Daniil Kotsyubinsky, however, the episode was but the latest example of a ‘summary execution’ ­ intended as a warning to any […]

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Greenpeace Rebuffs Talk of Arctic Protest Conspiracy

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – November 1, 2013) In early October, Rosneft head Igor Sechin made a brief, enigmatic comment suggesting that there was more than meets the eye behind a Greenpeace protest Sept. 18 against a Gazprom oil rig in the Arctic, an action that resulted in the arrest of 30 people and a black eye […]

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Victims of Soviet Repressions Remembered

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 31, 2013) Events were held around the country Wednesday to commemorate the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions, which is devoted to those affected by political persecution in the Soviet Union. Hundreds of people held a rally in central St. Petersburg near the Solovetsky Stone, a monument to victims of political […]

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Moscow Times: Russians See Greenpeace Protest as a Foreign Plot

Polar Map of Major Rail Lines in Russia, Canada and United States, With Hypothetical Additional Route Drawn In Connecting Them Across Bering Strait

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 29, 2013) State pollster VTsIOM released survey results Monday regarding last month’s Greenpeace protest in the Arctic that indicate more than a third of Russians believe the protest was a foreign plot and more than two-thirds disagree with the group’s message of needing to protect the environment from oil drilling. Armed […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Authorities Dismiss Punk Rocker’s Jail Abuse Claim

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian investigators will not open a criminal case into allegations by jailed feminist punk rocker Nadezhda Tolokonnikova that a prison official threatened to kill her, a spokesperson for the Investigative Committee said Thursday. “A decision has been taken not to open a criminal case because no crime was committed,” said Natalya Afanasieva, a spokeswoman […]

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Russian Rights Council Asks Prosecutor To Suspend Checks On NGOs

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – October 21, 2013) The Russian presidential human rights council has sent a letter to Prosecutor-General Yuriy Chayka, asking for checks on NGOs to be suspended until a complaint about the law “On foreign agents” is considered in the Constitutional Court, council head Mikhail Fedotov told state news agency RIA Novosti on 21 October. “Today we sent a […]

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Prisoners of the psyche: Forced psychiatry in today’s Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 16, 2013) A court last week ordered activist Mikhail Kosenko to undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment for attacking a riot police officer during the May 6, 2012 protest rally on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration. The ruling sparked concerns among rights activists that Soviet-era punitive psychiatry, when dissidents were found to […]

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The Revolution Of The Nerds

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – October 10, 2013) The fact that a Moscow court found Mikhail Kosenko guilty of assaulting a police officer despite video evidence to the contrary didn’t exactly come as a surprise. In recent years, Russian courts have convicted Mikhail Khodorkovsky of stealing oil from himself and Aleksei Navalny of embezzling money without making a profit, just […]

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Kremlin Adviser Likens Greenpeace Piracy Charge to Gang Rape

Polar Map of Major Rail Lines in Russia, Canada and United States, With Hypothetical Additional Route Drawn In Connecting Them Across Bering Strait

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov & Henry Meyer – October 11, 2013) President Vladimir Putin’s human rights adviser urged prosecutors to drop piracy charges against Greenpeace activists for an Arctic protest, saying it’s as stupid as accusing them of raping the oil platform they scaled. “These charges are laughable because there isn’t the slightest justification for accusing the crew […]

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Top Clinic Denies Return to Soviet-Era Punitive Psychiatry

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – October 10, 2013) Russia’s top psychiatric institution held an open house Wednesday in an attempt to popularize its work, amid speculation about a revival of Soviet-style punitive psychiatry following the sentencing of an opposition protester to mandatory mental treatment. The Serbsky Center of Social and Judicial Psychiatry welcomed about a dozen journalists […]

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Russian State Duma passes bill in first reading giving new grounds to inspect NGOs

Russian Duma Building

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 9, 2013) The Russian State Duma has passed a bill in the first reading expanding grounds for unscheduled inspections of non-governmental organizations (NGO). According to the explanatory materials to the bill, it is expected to expand the list of grounds over which the Justice Ministry can hold unscheduled inspections of NGOs regarding which the information on […]

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Interfax: Loss of ‘sovereignty’ unacceptable price for quality of life – Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 2, 2013) Loss of national “sovereignty” is not an acceptable price for higher quality of life in Russia, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday. “It’s impossible for Russia to swap sovereignty for better quality of life, because if we lose our sovereignty, we will lose the country,” Putin said at a meeting of the Council on […]

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How the Moscow mayoral election was stolen

Sergei Sobyanin file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG, September 12, 2013) Everyone assumes that the Kremlin cheats when it comes to elections. Did the Kremlin steal the Moscow City election for mayor on September 8 from opposition blogger Alexei Navalny? Ballot stuffing has been par for the course. It is widely accepted that the authorities added about 12% to the […]

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Roizman Called In for Questioning 2 Days After Mayoral Win

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 11, 2013) Opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman, who won Sunday’s mayoral vote in Yekaterinburg, was scheduled to be questioned by investigators Tuesday as a witness in a criminal case against a former employee of his City Without Drugs foundation. Roizman, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, was one of the few opposition members to win […]

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Apartment Raid Leaves Navalny Supporters Baffled

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – August 15, 2013) Supporters of mayoral hopeful Alexei Navalny on Wednesday were struggling to find answers over an incident that took place Tuesday evening that saw police force their way into a central Moscow apartment to seize what they said were illegal campaign materials. In a statement released Wednesday, police explained the […]

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Russia’s judicial system: summertime sadness

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief – August 6, 2013) It was a bit of throwaway news last week: A young man behind the wheel of a Ferrari had struck and killed a pensioner in Moscow in early July. The young man in question, rumored to be the son of a well-known businessman, was let go under […]

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Moscow’s killing fields: inside a Stalinist execution site

File Photo of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Joy Neumeyer – August 5, 2013) Across from the sprawling Gazprom offices on Moscow’s southern fringes, there is a forest. It is quiet, full of mushrooms and dead leaves. The only people usually there are a pair of monks, who live by a church built on the property. The forest is part of a village […]

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Russia Stands before Abyss of a New Totalitarianism, Pastukhov Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 17, 2013) Vladimir Putin’s “restorationist policy” is rapidly leading Russia to the abyss of a new totalitarianism, one in which political repression will spread across the entire society claiming ever new victims and ultimately Putin and his entourage as well, according to Vladimir Pastukhov, one of the most brilliant analysts of […]

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Gordeyeva and Russian emigrants: Brave Sir Robins?

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief – July 8, 2013) Journalist Katerina Gordeyeva’s recent Colta.ru essay, “The impossibility of an island,” has caused quite a stir among Russian intellectuals. In the essay, Gordeyeva spoke about letting go of the illusion that Russia’s progressive middle class can live on its own special island, separate from reality. She urged […]

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58 Percent of Russians Now Say Kremlin Using Repression

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 8, 2013) Ever more Russians tell pollsters the Kremlin is repressing its political opponents, a reflection of their own anger about declines in their standard of living and of their sense that the country is increasingly unstable, according to experts who nonetheless argue that these popular attitudes will not produce a […]

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Whistle-Blower’s Case Revives Concerns Of Punitive Psychiatry In Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – April 18, 2013 – Robert Coalson) The whole process took less than an hour. At 10:26 a.m. on March 18, Lyudmila Popkova was handed a piece of paper ordering her to appear before Moscow Judge Tatyana Neverova. At 11 a.m. the same day. Hustled off to court by investigators, Popkova spent 15 minutes in front of […]

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Documentary Series Shows ‘Hairs and Wrinkles’ of Opposition Leaders

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – April 8, 2013) Anti-Kremlin leader Alexei Navalny walks methodically past a crowd of protesters standing behind metal barricades on Bolotnaya Ploshchad, heading for a stage. Two baby-faced police officers step out of his way, blank expressions on their faces. “We’re with you,” a man in sunglasses says to Navalny. “Thanks,” Navalny answers […]

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Former ‘Provocateur’ Blames Police for Bolotnaya Clashes

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – March 22, 2013) A man professing to be a former government operative has said that police officials, including the former interior minister, were involved in organizing clashes at an opposition rally last year, allegations that members of the Kremlin human rights council say could be trustworthy. The online television channel Politvestnik posted […]

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At Putin’s Order, FSB Now Using Social Networks to Target Opposition

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 12, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/03/window-on-eurasia-at-putins-order-fsb.html) At the direction of President Vladimir Putin, the FSB is not only monitoring social networks but using one of their features to create problems for those opponents of the regime who use them by posting statements on their sites and then invoking the appearance of those materials […]

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“Moscow Trials” Puts Art on Trial, Trials in Art

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – March 11, 2013) Journalist and theater director Mikhail Kaluzhsky called it a “theatrical slam.” Olga Shakina, a journalist from the Dozhd television channel, said it was a moment when “one theatrical event replaced another.” What they were discussing on Saturday on Echo Moskvy radio was a now-notorious performance of “Moscow Trials,” a […]

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Russians fear aging more than repression – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alina Lobzina – February 12, 2013) Russians have nearly lost their fear of returning to Stalinism while old age and helplessness scare them more, a recent poll showed. The number of those concerned over a new wave of Stalin-era repression, anarchy, and civil wars has shrunk by nine times and 6.5 times respectively in comparison […]

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Russian Government Now Views Internet as Main Threat to Its Position, Agora Says

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 4, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/02/window-on-eurasia-russian-government.html) The growth in Internet use in the Russian Federation over the last year has meant that “for the first time, the Internet began to be considered by the Russian government as the main source of threat to its well-being and stability,” according to the annual report of […]

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Police Began Violence At Protest, Panel Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Winning – February 4, 2013) Members of the Kremlin’s human rights council believe that police, not activists, instigated violence at a May opposition protest, a council member said Friday. “The qualification of the Bolotnaya Ploshchad protest as a mass riot was artificially thought up by the Investigative Committee. It does not reflect the reality […]

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Russia sinks to 148th place on Press Freedom Index

File Photo of Russian Television Studio

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru –  Yulia Ponomareva, Combined report – February 4, 2013) Russian media fell near the bottom of the list on the 2013 Press Freedom Index. The authors of the rating, Reporters without Borders, cite President Putin’s return to power as the main catalyst in the increase of repression aimed against the opposition. Russian media personages, […]

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Navalny says prosecution aims to bar him from elections

Alexei Navalny file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) – Opposition campaigner Alexei Navalny said his prosecution in the fraud case connected with the Kirovles logging company is part of the law enforcement services’ plan to obstruct his political activities and prevent him from running in elections. “The goal is to obstruct my political activities and to prevent my running in elections, all of which […]

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Investigators Open New Case Against Putin Foe

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

MOSCOW/IRKUTSK, January 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ Investigators opened a new criminal case against opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev on Friday and denied media reports of his disappearance. Investigators accuse the activist of spreading false information, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told RIA Novosti on Friday, stemming from Razvozzhayev’s continuing claims that he was tortured into confessing his role in organizing mass […]

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‘Final’ Charges Brought against Opposition Figure Navalny

Alexei Navalny file photo

MOSCOW, January 18 (RIA Novosti) – Final charges in a grand embezzlement case have been brought against Russian opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny, the Investigative Committee said on Friday. Navalny has refused to testify, committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said, adding the investigation into the case “is nearing completion.” Navalny has been charged with “organizing embezzlement on a grand scale” and faces […]

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