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Despite prisoner amnesty, oppressive Russia escalating harassment of dissenters

by Jane Buchanan, Human Rights Watch The world’s attention has been captivated in recent days by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that he will pardon businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This came a day after parliament adopted an amnesty that will free the two imprisoned Pussy Riot band members’ and charges were dropped against the Artic 30 […]

Journalists Persecuted by Judges in Rostov-On-Don

The release of Mikhail Khodorkovski, Pussy Riot and Greenpeace activists must not divert attention from the many other threats to fundamental freedoms in Russia Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by the judicial harassment of journalists critical of the authorities in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don. Sergei Reznik, a well-known journalist and blogger, has been sentenced to […]

Russia terror analysis: Volgograd and an Olympics under threat

by Andrei Soldatov When Dokku Umarov, the leader of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, issued a statement six months ago promising a strike on the Olympics in Sochi, Russian authorities were faced with two major questions. Experts and the secret services asked whether militants still possessed the capabilities to hit beyond the North […]

Amnestied Pussy Riot pair criticise Putin after release

(Reuters) – Two members of Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot were freed from prison on Monday, deriding President Vladimir Putin’s amnesty that led to their early release as a propaganda stunt and promising to fight for human rights. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, shouted “Russia without Putin” following her release from a Siberian prison, hours after […]

Harassment will continue despite Putin’s amnesty

The harassment of civil society in Russia will continue unabated despite the release of prisoners of conscience, said Amnesty International today. The organization has long campaigned for the immediate and unconditional release of a number of prisoners of conscience (POCs) freed recently under President Putin’s amnesty. Several others being tried in connection with the 2012 […]

Dispatches: Shocked by Russia’s Intolerance

by Tanya Cooper, Human Rights Watch In recent days the presidents of Germany, France and the United States announced they wouldn’t attend the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014. None explained why they decided to skip the Games, but one can guess that the appalling human rights situation in Russia played a part. Of […]

Updated List of Nongovernmental Organizations Targeted under the “Foreign Agents” Law

In early March 2013 the Russian government launched an unprecedented, nationwide campaign of inspections of thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to identify advocacy groups the government deems “foreign agents” and force them to register as such. The list below tracks the legal consequences of the law on dozens of NGOs. Since the beginning of the “foreign agents” campaign, various […]

St. Petersburg Jews searching for identity

After decades of assimilation, young members of Russian city’s Jewish community are connecting to their roots through Jewish student clubs, synagogue activities and annual Limmud festival SAINT PETERSBURG – When Tsar Peter the Great founded Saint Petersburg, the northern pearl of the Great Russia, about 310 years ago, he didn’t imagine a reality which would see […]

Russian Orthodox Church is open to dialogue with Pussy Riot, but without provocations

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=10982  The Moscow Patriarchate is hoping that the members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot who have been released from prison today after being amnestied will improve. “Every person has a right to make public statements, honest debates, and competition of ideas. However, when political manipulations and dangerous provocations happen, it’s unacceptable,” Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the […]

Growing xenophobia may spur inter-ethnic tensions – Public Chamber experts

A draft report of the Russian Public Chamber, “On the Status of Russia’s Civil Society”, affirms a growth of aggressive xenophobia in the country. “Aggressive xenophobia is a serious challenge to contemporary Russia. Xenophobia reached its peak in 2013, according to a survey of the Levada Center, which said that 70-80 percent of the Russian […]