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Russia is a country where thousands are detained at peaceful demonstrations and even single-person picketers are thrown behind bars — all in the name of public safety and even public health.  In this country however, there is one…
Men carrying a banner reading “Putin and Kadyrov are Russia’s foundation”. Grozny, Chechnya, January 2016.

It’s vital that the international community not abandon Sudan at this critical juncture

Over the past three weeks, despite an internet shutdown and disruptions in mobile and text based communications, protesters in Sudan have found ways for their chants challenging the military’s Oct. 25 takeover to echo around…
آلاف المتظاهرين المؤيدين للديمقراطية نزلوا إلى الشوارع لإدانة استيلاء العسكر على الحكم في الخرطوم، السودان في 25 أكتوبر/تشرين الأول 2021.

While most eyes were on Geneva, the Duma intensified its crackdown on dissent.

At his post-summit news conference on Wednesday President Putin defended Russia’s repressive laws that punish dissent.  With most eyes on Geneva, the Duma made one of those laws a lot harsher. It amended the criminal code to open the…
Anastasia Shevchenko and Mikhail Iosilevich. Both have been prosecuted under Russia’s law on “undesirable” foreign organizations. 
April was a terrible month for freedom of expression in Russia. In early April, the authorities struck at Roman Anin, editor-in-chief of iStories (Important Stories), a new outlet specializing in investigative journalism. The Russian Federal…
Editors of the student magazine DOXA Natalya Tyshkevich, left, and Alla Gutnikova wait at the Basmanny District Court, in Moscow, Russia.
The Kremlin undoubtedly hopes that by packing Alexei Navalny off to prison, it will keep him out of sight, out of mind. Yet Navalny’s many social-media-savvy followers make that unlikely. A growing movement of people discontented with corruption,…
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny takes part in a march in memory of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, Russia, February 29, 2020.
In late February of this year, Russia’s criminal investigative agency announced that it had referred to a court an investigation into criminal negligence by two police officers that happened on January 14, 2020 in the Siberian city of…
In February 2017, parliament decriminalized first instances of battery among family members.

Foreign Minister Should Raise Issue of Attacks on Civil Society

Foreign Minister Ann Linde’s trip to Moscow this week, the first one during Sweden’s chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), comes as Russia is in the midst of a severe human rights crisis. Last month’s arrest…
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, meets with Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde in Moscow, February 2, 2021.

A Story of Two Lawyers Highlights a Bigger Problem with Russia’s Justice System

Attacks, detention and prosecution of lawyers - including while performing their professional duties - is not unusual in Russia, but what happened ahead of the January 23 protests  takes this harassment to a new level. I spoke with two lawyers…
Mikhail Benyash and Mansur Gilmanov

Soviet Dissident, Physicist Was Early Inspiration for Human Rights Watch

Yuri Orlov, renowned human rights activist and distinguished physicist, died on September 27, at the age of 96. He was a major inspiration for us when we founded Helsinki Watch, which eventually grew to be Human Rights Watch. Orlov was the founder of…
The Russian flag flies on a courthouse building in St. Petersburg, Russia, March 15 2020.
The Supreme Court in Karelia on Wednesday overturned and vastly increased the sentence in the child sexual abuse case against Yuri Dmitriyev, a researcher and rights advocate who exposed mass graves of political prisoners executed during the Stalin…
Historian Yuri Dmitriev, who was on trial on charges of involving his adopted daughter in child pornography, of illegally possessing components of a firearm, and of depravity involving a minor, speaks with people after a hearing outside a court building in Petrozavodsk, Russia. April 5, 2018.

It appears that the city authorities have used Covid-19 as a pretext to deny permission for protests over a constitutional referendum.

A mother pleads with police, “Where are you taking him, he didn’t do anything!” and then addresses the crowd - “my son is a minor, he didn’t do anything!” Journalists run around, shouting “Let him go, he’s a journalist,” and then clapping when they…
As the call to prayer rolls over of Magas, the capital of Ingushetia, Russia’s smallest North Caucasus republic, hundreds of men busily unroll plastic mats, turning the central square into an open-air prayer ground. “Allahu Akbar!” The…
Men praying at the protest rally in Magas, Ingushetia
Many of those who follow news from Russia have been counting down the days this summer with a sinking feeling. Now , autumn is here, bringing even closer the very real possibility that Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian filmmaker on hunger strike in a Russian…
Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov gestures from a defendants' box as he attends a court hearing in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, July 21, 2015.
  As Russia hosts the World Cup—the biggest single-event sports competition on the planet—the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) should make clear that its rules off the pitch…
A Fifa tem influência para exigir respeito a direitos humanos

Russia today is at its most repressive since the Soviet era.

On a short trip to Moscow for the first time in years, my brother could not stop raving about the revamped city center, its broad sidewalks, leafy beer gardens and fairy lights.  Moscow isn’t half-bad these days, especially with its World Cup…

Students have featured prominently in Russia’s latest wave of anti-corruption protest, and now they're facing repression as a result

Two weeks ago, a third-year law student in Kaliningrad, at the western end of Russia, learned he was being expelled from his university. The management of the Kant Baltic Federal University denied that Oleg Alexeev’s role in organising…
12 June: Police detain Oleg Alexeev during an anti-corruption protest in the city centre of Kaliningrad, Russia.
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