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Social Media Platforms Should Not Yield to Pressure

The final days of 2021 were marked by a particularly vicious escalation of Russia’s crackdown on independent reporting and activism. Amid a flurry of new “foreign agent” designations, arrests of political activists, and appalling court rulings…
An iPhone screen shows the Telegram account of OVD-Info
News

Russia Should End Discrimination Against Women in Custody Cases and Beyond

This week, the European Court on Human Rights ruled that Luisa Tapayeva, a Chechen woman, should be reunited with her four daughters who were taken from her after their father died. Under local customs, children are “owned” by the father and his…
A picture from an animation by Justice Initiative Project on the custom of taking children away from mothers in Chechnya and Ingushetia.
News

Apple and Google Should Account for Limiting Access to Election Information

Apple and Google capitulated to Russian authorities last week when they removed access to the Navalny Smart Voting app on the eve of the weekend’s parliamentary election. The move helped undermine Russian voters’ ability to access information about…
Police officer wearing face mask stands on duty at the polling station on July 1, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
News

Labor Inspectorate Should Prioritize Regular Inspections of Delivery Companies

The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred a boom in food delivery services in Georgia, where the streets are packed with mopeds carrying branded boxes for companies like Glovo or Bolt Food. These app-based employers offer a seductive pitch for would-be…
Bolt Food couriers protest in Tbilisi, Georgia, on March 24, 2021
News

Follows Netherlands Government’s Decision to Halt Adoptions

A recent inquiry in the Netherlands into intercountry adoptions uncovered such damning abuses that the government froze all overseas adoptions. Following the Dutch investigation, the Swedish Family Law and Parental Support Authority, the agency…
Vy över Sveriges parlament (riksdag) i Stockholm den 9 april 2006.
News

Another Women’s Rights Group Could Be Labeled a “Foreign Agent”

In Russia, working to prevent and combat domestic violence can be considered a “political activity.” And that means risking state harassment and intimidation. The authorities are now targeting Nasiliu.net center, an awareness-raising group that…
The staff of Nasiliu.net center, an awareness-raising group that provides assistance to domestic violence survivors.  
News

Robust Data Security Safeguards Should Be Put in Place

Last week, Russian media reported a major personal data leak of Covid-19 patients admitted to Moscow hospitals, as well as Muscovites who had been ordered to self-quarantine, or fined over violating the self-quarantine regulations. According to the…
A woman wearing a face mask looks at her smartphone as she walks through a street in Moscow, Russia, November 23, 2020. 
News

Parliament Should Reject Bill, Ensure Access to Information Online

On November 19, a draft law was submitted to Russia’s parliament that would give authorities power to block websites that have censored Russian state media content. The bill claims these websites violate Russians’ right of access to information.…
A man checks his smartphone while waiting to board a subway in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2019. 
News

Activists File an Application to European Court of Human Rights

Activist Alyona Popova and politician Vladimir Milov have lodged a complaint over Russia’s use of  facial recognition technology during protests to the European Court of Human Rights. Their lawyer, Kirill Koroteyev, said this would be the…
Two surveillance camera are seen in a street in Moscow, Russia
News

Public Abuse of Dead Woman’s Mother Will Deter Others Seeking Help

Two weeks ago, Madina Umaeva, 23, died in Russia’s Chechen Republic under suspicious circumstances. She had previously complained to family members about her husband repeatedly beating her. On the day she died, neighbors heard screams from her house…
The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, on December 13, 2011.
News

Entire Country’s Personal Data to Be Stored in One Place

Update: On June 8, President Putin signed the bill into law. The law will enter into force incrementally, starting January 1, 2022. A new law for creating a “uniform federal database” in Russia infringes on the right to privacy and weakens…
A Russian state flag waves on top of a hammer and sickle at the State Duma, lower parliament chamber, headquarters in Moscow, Russia
News

COVID-19 Provides Excuse to Extend; New Monitoring Technology

Moscow’s officials are forging ahead with installing one of the world’s biggest surveillance camera systems equipped with facial recognition technology, despite protests from activists. The system is ostensibly to help in the fight against…
Two surveillance camera are seen in a street in Moscow, Russia
News

Government Response to European Court Defies Belief – and the Facts

According to Russian authorities, men in Russia are more likely to suffer from discrimination in domestic violence cases – an outrageous claim that flies in the face of the facts. The dubious statement is part of Russia’s…
A A protest performance staged by women’s rights activists in Saint Petersburg after Russia’s adoption of domestic violence legislation, January 2017.
News

Crackdown on Social Media Broadens

Update: On April 2 a Yeysk court fined Alexander Korovainy 5,000 rubles ($77) for his Facebook post under Article 20.33 for distributing materials from an “undesirable” organization. Last month, Alexander Korovainy shared an image on his…
201903europe_russia_korovainy
News

Concerns Over Government’s Increased Control of Online Speech

An acquaintance living in the United States asked me if it was true that Russia is about to “cut off its Internet” from the rest of the world. He sounded panicked - his family still lives in Russia. He was concerned about recent reports…
The Google app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017.
News

Ban Marriage for Anyone under 18

When the news broke last week that a 41-year-old man from Kelantan had married an 11-year-old girl, alarm bells went off in Malaysia’s newly elected government as well as among nongovernmental groups. The Kelantan state police started …
Jina, a 22-year-old transgender woman, sports a tattoo of a butterfly—a transgender symbol signifying transformation.
News

Opposition Politician Alexei Navalny and Campaigners Sentenced

This afternoon, a court in Moscow sentenced the press secretary of Russia’s leading opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, to 25 days in jail for “repeated violation” of regulations on public rallies, an administrative offense. …
Policemen detain opposition supporters during a protest ahead of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration ceremony, Moscow, Russia May 5, 2018.
News

The Russian Government Versus Telegram Messaging Service

Last weekend, I attempted to buy new sneakers online for my 5-year-old, but Amazon’s website was down. My husband wanted to look up traffic updates on Google, but Google Search was down. I tried to check in online for my Monday morning flight, but the…
Tanya Lokshina’s own paper plane for Internet freedom. Moscow, April 22, 2018.
News

Moscow Court Rules to Block Access to Telegram Messenger in Russia

This morning, Moscow’s Tagansky District Court issued a ruling to block access to Telegram, a popular messaging service with close to ten million users in Russia, and close to 200 million worldwide, for failure to hand encryption keys…
A man poses with a smartphone in front of a screen showing the Telegram logos in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina November 18, 2015.
News

One Year Since Legislative Changes Weakened Protections

A jealous husband from a small town near Moscow took his 25-year-old wife and mother of their two small boys, Margarita Gracheva, to the woods, put a knife to her throat, and threatened to kill her. The woman called the police, but when a police…
A A protest performance staged by women’s rights activists in Saint Petersburg after Russia’s adoption of domestic violence legislation, January 2017.