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Detention of Editor-in-Chief Highlights the Attacks on Journalism

Today, a court in Moscow sentenced Sergei Smirnov, editor-in-chief of the independent “Mediazona” news outlet, to 25 days in detention for “repeated violation” of the public assemblies’ rules. His offense? Retweeting a humorous tweet about Smirnov’…
The Editor-in-Chief of Mediazona, Sergey Smirnov, in front of Pskov Regional Court, after the trial of Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva, Pskov, Russia, July 6 2020.
News

Irina Slavina’s Death Follows Police Raid on Her Apartment

Journalist and publisher Irina Slavina (Murakhtayeva) died after setting herself on fire on October 2, a day after a police raid on her apartment and following years of harassment by Russian authorities and others. Slavina ran Koza Press, an…
Irina Slavina poses in Nizhniy Novgorod, March 2019, in a photo posted to social media.
News

Authorities Abuse Criminal Justice to Silence Independent Media

Today, a Russian court sentenced journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva to a fine of 500,000 rubles (approx. USD$ 7000) on bogus terrorism charges. The conviction of the journalist, who works for the Echo of Moscow and Radio Free Europe, is another…
Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva (left) attends the trial in the Second Western District Military Court.
News

Authorities Should End Sham Prosecutions and Allow Free Debate

Today, the trial against journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva is set to start in Pskov, Russia, on groundless charges of publicly supporting terrorism. Authorities have indicted her for “public incitement to terrorist activity, public justification or…
Светлана Прокопьева выступает на презентации книги в Москве.
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

Amendment Would Extend Restrictions to Individuals, Including Bloggers

Update: On December 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law, which expands the status of “foreign agents” to private persons. Update: On November 25, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament endorsed the law, which…
An interior view of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in Moscow, Russia, January 20, 2017.
News

Russia Needs More, not Less, Independent Reporting

This week brought the bombshell announcement that Ivan Safronov and Maxim Ivanov, two veteran reporters for Kommersant, were pressured into resigning, spurring the paper’s entire politics desk to quit in protest. The business newspaper…
A general view shows the Spasskaya Tower and the Kremlin wall in central Moscow, Russia, May 5, 2016.
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Misuse of Counter-Terrorism Laws Against Media

Update: Due to Covid-19 pandemic, a court has suspended Prokopyeva’s trial for undetermined period of time. Update: The hearing in Svetlana Prokopyeva’s case is scheduled for April 20. The casefile contains 12 volumes and the…
Svetlana Prokopyeva, Pskov.
News

The New Times at Risk of Closing

(Moscow) – A Russian court has issued a stifling fine to The New Times, an independent Russian magazine, for supposed failure to report foreign funding, putting it at risk of closure, Human Rights Watch said today. The New Times is known…
Evgeniya Albats, editor-in-chief of The New Times, profile picture.
News

Authorities Say Posting is ‘Incitement to Terrorism’

In the early hours of May 18, a team of police and security officials raided the apartment of Viktor Korb, a journalist from Omsk. One of the agents shoved a search warrant in Korb’s face and the team conducted a 10-hour search, turning…
Russian journalist Viktor Korb.
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Chancellor Visiting Amid New Levels of Repression

(Berlin) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 18, 2018 in Sochi is a crucial opportunity to press for the release of a wrongfully detained Russian human rights defender and to raise other key…
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017
News

FIFA Should Stand Up for Rights One Month Before Kickoff

(Berlin) – The FIFA World Cup starting on June 14, 2018, will take place during the worst human rights crisis in Russia since the Soviet era, Human Rights Watch said today. FIFA should use its leverage with the Russian authorities to address labor…
The Russian and Brazilian football teams play a pre-World Cup international friendly match at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia on March 23, 2018. The FIFA World Cup final will be played at this stadium on July 15 2018. (c) 2018 Ashley Kowalski
News

Repressive Laws, Charges Against Critics, Impunity for Abuse

(Moscow) – The Russian government escalated its crackdown on the political opposition and peaceful protesters during 2017, in advance of the 2018 elections, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2018. The government also took…
Riot police detain a man during an anti-corruption protest on Tverskaya Street in central Moscow, Russia, June 12, 2017.
News

Violent Attack on Echo of Moscow Reporter Reminder of Vitriol Against Kremlin Critics

Independent journalists have known for some time now that Russia is far from a safe place for them to work. Today’s violent attack on Tatyana Felgengauer, deputy editor of the Russian radio station Echo of Moscow, is a bone-chilling reminder of…
201710eca_russia_ekho
News

Other Countries Should Follow Mexico’s Lead

Ensuring good health care at the start of life is a longstanding goal for the global community, and major funding backs efforts to reduce maternal and child deaths. By contrast, health care at the end of life – a need almost as…
Doña Remedios and her daughter at the pharmacy of the National Cancer Institute in Mexico City, Mexico on September 1, 2014 to fill a prescription for morphine. They have to travel for several hours to procure the medication because there are no hospitals
News

4 Sentenced to Prison for Operating ‘Extremist Organization’

This week, a Moscow court found four members of the group For Responsible Government guilty of operating an “extremist organization” and handed down prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half to four years. One of them,…
Screenshot from video depicting, from left to right, Kirill Barabash, Alexander Sokolov, and Valery Parfenov in the courtroom, Moscow, August 10, 2017.
News

Repressive Laws and Policies Restrict Online Speech, Stifle Critical Voices

(Moscow) – Russia has introduced significant restrictions to online speech and invasive surveillance of online activity and prosecutes critics under the guise of fighting extremism, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 83-page…
An illustration depicting a small pointer (for a mouse) chained as it scrolls over a Russian website.