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December 2013

Volgograd bombings 
On 29/12 an explosion at Volgograd station killed at least 17. On 30/12 at least 14 died in the bombing of a city trolleybus. On 31/12 the death toll reached 34.

North Caucasus 
Police said 9 suspected militants were killed in Dagestan: five on 5/12, one on 26/12, one on 28/12, and two on the night of 29/12. On 16/12 FSB officers killed four alleged militants in Kabardino-Balkaria. Over 13-16/12 authorities questioned at least 11 Circassian rights activists and confiscated equipment. On 27/12, an explosion near a Pyatigorsk police building killed three. On 30/12 one person was killed in the bombing of a police car in Dagestan. On 31/12 a bomb killed a prosecutor’s aide in Dagestan.

On 3/12 International Memorial Society called for a broad amnesty. On 18/12 Russian MPs approved an amnesty bill. On 23/12 Pussy Riot’s Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were released. The two said they would set up a prisoners’ rights group. By 27/12 criminal charges had been dropped against all 30 Greenpeace activists.

High profile cases 
On 3/12 Aleksei Navalny’s license to practice law was revoked. On 4/12 Mikhail Savva announced that the FSB had accused him of links with the CIA. On 5/12 Savva was transferred from pre-trial detention to house arrest. On 6/12 prosecutors raised the prospect of new criminal charges against Mikhail Khodorkovsky. On 20/12 President Putin signed a pardon for Khodorkovsky; that day Khodorkovsky arrived in Germany. On 25/12 Supreme Court chair Vyacheslav Lebedev filed an application to reconsider the first of two cases against Khodorkovsky. On 20/12 environmental activist Evgeny Vitishko who reported on Sochi Winter Games construction was sentenced to three years in prison. On 31/12 Tver Region Court granted parole to Ilya Farber, controversially convicted of bribery in 2012.

Right of association 
On 4/12 Civic Dignity announced the 124 rights NGOs had won Kremlin-funded grants. On 12/12 a St. Petersburg court ruled Memorial Anti-Discrimination Centre must register as a ‘foreign agent’. On 23/12 the UN Committee against Torture voiced concern at this decision. On 25/12 Ryazan region court quashed on appeal a warning issued against Ryazan Memorial Society by prosecutors under the ‘foreign agent’ law.

Right of assembly 
On 2/12, 11 demonstrators were detained picketing the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow. On 6/12 Sergei Udaltsov was charged with organizing riots. On 16/12 a witness said riot police beat one of the accused, Sergei Krivov at the Bolotnaya rally. On 18/12 an international commission said there were no riots at the May 2012 rally. On 19/12 a Moscow court amnestied four Bolotnaya defendants. On 26/12 Moscow City Court returned the case against Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhaev to the prosecutors. On 31/1, 28 people were detained in central Moscow at a rally for free assembly.

LGBT rights 
On 3/12 a court in Arkhangelsk found two LGBT activists guilty of ‘gay propaganda’. On 3/12 the Constitutional Court published a ruling dismissing a challenge to a local law banning “gay propaganda”. On 9/12 Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Russia plans to oppose use of the term "sexual orientation" in international law. On 14/12 some 100 people occupied and damaged part of Central Station, Moscow’s largest gay club.

Freedom of expression/residence 
On 9/12 President Putin issued a decree ordering the liquidation of RIA Novosti and appointed Dmitry Kiselev head of the agency to replace it. On 28/12 a Moscow theatre director said he had been banned from holding the premiere of a film about Pussy Riot. On 23/12 President Putin signed into law bills 1) increasing criminal liability for fictitious residential registration and 2) giving the FSB powers to investigate cybercrime; on 30/12 he signed into law bills 1) enabling prosecutors to block websites containing ‘extremism’ and 2) making dissemination of separatist views a criminal offence.