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End Crackdown on Independent Voices

(Berlin) – Russian authorities have taken punitive action against three local human rights defenders and their organizations in recent days, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities imposed arbitrary, draconian bureaucratic penalties against the…
The Russian flag flies on a courthouse building in St. Petersburg, Russia, March 15 2020.
News

Privacy, Political Targeting Concerns; Lack of Regulation, Data Protection, Oversight

(Moscow) – Russian authorities continue expanding their use of facial recognition technology across the country, with no regulation, oversight, or data protection and against the backdrop of misidentification reports, Human Rights Watch said today.…
A surveillance camera operates in Red square near the Kremlin in Moscow.
News

“Foreign Agents” Law Leads to Criminal Penalty

Correction: This text has been corrected to reflect the location of the 2019 police raid. (Moscow) – A court in Sochi, Russia, has convicted a prominent human rights defender on criminal charges related to the country’s “foreign agents” law,…
Semyon Simonov
News

Rescind Bills; Repeal Abusive ‘Undesirables’ Law; Reform Extremism Laws

(Moscow) – A group of Russian lawmakers introduced three bills on May 4, 2021 that would add new dangerous tools to the already significant arsenal of legislative weapons for the country’s crackdown on dissenting voices, Human Rights Watch said today…
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin addresses the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, in Moscow, Russia. July 22, 2020.
News

Less Police Violence, But Intimidation, Advanced Roundups

(Moscow) – Russian police detained more than 1,600 people countrywide who were taking part in protests on April 21, 2021, against the treatment of the jailed and critically ill opposition figure Alexey Navalny, Human Rights Watch said today. Police…
A woman argues with a police officer during a protest in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Ulan-Ude, Russia, April 21, 2021.
News

End Unfounded Persecution, Lawsuit Against Kremlin’s Critics

Update 6/9/2021: On June 9, the Moscow City Court ruled in favor of a request by the prosecutor’s office to classify all three groups - the Anti-Corruption Foundation, the Foundation for Protection of Citizens Rights, and Navalny’s headquarters…
Police officers outside the Moscow City Court building. February 02, 2021. Russia, Moscow.
News

Fines, Smear Campaigns, Potential Blocking for Noncompliance

(Moscow) – Russian authorities are escalating pressure on social media companies, forcing them to censor online content deemed illegal by the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Social media platforms have received warnings and face fines and…
A man wearing a face mask to protect against Covid-19 uses his smartphone among Moscow City skyscrapers in Moscow, Russia, January 11, 2021.
News

Detention, Intimidation Violate Rights and Abuse Covid-19 Measures

(Moscow) – Russian authorities are harassing, intimidating, and detaining activists and students ahead of protests planned for January 23, 2021 in solidarity with the detained opposition leader Alexey Navalny, Human Rights Watch said today. Russian…
Police officers detaining Alexei Navalny's supporter at Vnukovo airport, Moscow, on January 17, 2021. © 2021 Emin Dzhafarov/Kommersant/Sipa via AP Images
News

Rescind New Bill; Repeal Abusive ‘Foreign Agents’ Laws

Update (November 30, 2020): This news release was corrected to reflect additional grounds on which a person or organization can be designated a “foreign agent.” (Moscow) –  A new bill introduced in Russia’s parliament on November 18, 2020…
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin addresses the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, in Moscow, Russia. July 22, 2020.
News

Rescind New Bill; Repeal Abusive ‘Foreign Agents’ Law

(Moscow) – A bill introduced in Russia’s parliament on November 10, 2020 would further restrict the ability to function of independent groups that are already suffocating under the restrictive “foreign agents” law and other legislation, Human Rights…
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin addresses the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, in Moscow, Russia. July 22, 2020.
News

Prosecutor Demands Data on Student Protesters, Contact with Foreigners

(Moscow) – Prosecutors have ordered a university in Moscow to submit detailed information on students and faculty who participated in mass protests and had contacts with foreign groups, Human Rights Watch said today. The order is part of an inspection…
Tens of thousands of people rallied in central Moscow Russia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, for the third consecutive weekend to protest the exclusion of opposition and independent candidates from the Russian capital's city council ballot.
News

Authorities Seek to End Three-Month Protests in Khabarovsk

(Moscow) – Police in Khabarovsk, in Russia’s Far East, on October 10, 2020 beat peaceful protesters and arbitrarily detained over 20 people, Human Rights Watch said today. Alexander Prikhodko, born in 1977, who was among those arrested, is under…
Participants in a rally in Khabarovsk, in Russia's Far East, Saturday, to support the former region's governor Sergei Furgal on Oct. 10, 2020. Police detained several dozen protesters in the first crackdown since such rallies started three months ago.
News

Authorities Use Abusive Law to Penalize Critics

Update: On September 29, Moscow prosecutor office indicted Yuliya Galyamina on charges of repeated violation of the legislation on mass gatherings. (Moscow) – Russian authorities are prosecuting a Moscow municipal assembly member and…
Yuliya Galyamina holding placard “Down with the Tsar”, July 2020, Moscow 
News

15-Year Sentence Sought Despite Earlier Acquittal, Apparent Political Motivations

Update: On September 29, the Supreme Court of Karelia overturned the 3.5-year sentence handed down to Yuri Dmitriev by the first instance court, and increased the punishment to 13 years’ imprisonment in a high security penitentiary. Update: On…
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.
News

Repeal Abusive ‘Foreign Agents’ Law

Udate: On July 20, Semyon Simonov was indicted. The same day, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights urged Russian authorities to drop the charges against him and to “urgently review the current legal framework in order to bring it in…
Semyon Simonov
News

Detentions Put Them at Added Health Risk

(Moscow) – Dozens of journalists in Russia face fines or detention for peacefully protesting in solidarity with their colleagues whom authorities are criminally prosecuting for their journalism work, Human Rights Watch said today. Russian authorities…
Mariya Starikova stands in front of the FSB building in Moscow with a placard reading “Freedom to Ivan Safronov”, July 7, 2020.
News

Drop Charges; Free Detainees

Update: On May 29, police in Moscow arbitrarily detained 30 more people, including journalists, district council representatives and activists who were conducting single person pickets in protest of the arrest of Ilya Azar and the detention of his…
Echo of Moscow journalist, Tatiana Feleghengauer, detained by police on May 28, 2020.
News

New Chechen Leadership Attack on Novaya Gazeta

(Moscow) – Last week, the Kremlin’s spokesperson dismissed a grave threat by Chechnya’s governor, Ramzan Kadyrov, against an independent outlet, Novaya Gazeta, Human Rights Watch said today. Russian authorities should immediately take the threat seriously…
Journalist Elena Milashina, following an attack in Chechnya.
News

Clear Konstantin Kotov of All Charges, Repeal Repressive Protest Law

(Moscow) – Russian authorities should withdraw all charges and immediately free a civic activist imprisoned for involvement in peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today. Russia’s parliament should repeal the 2014 law mandating…
Konstantin Kotov and his lawyer, Maria Eismont, wait for the verdict in his case at Moscow's Tverskoi district court, September 5, 2019.
News

Stop Assault, Intimidation of Activists

(Moscow) – Police in southern Russia on February 13, 2020 raided the homes and office of activists who provide legal and psychological assistance to survivors of domestic violence, Human Rights Watch said today. The raids took place in…
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