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January 2013

‘Anti-Magnitsky’ law 
On 1/1 a law banning the adoption of Russian children by US families and placing new restrictions on NGOs entered into force. On 10/1 Boris Altshuler, director of Right of the Child, called on French President François Hollande to ban Children’s Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, who supported the ‘anti-Magnitsky’ law, from entering France. On 11/1 the Kremlin said Russian children whose adoptions were already approved by a court would be able to join their new families in the US. On 13/1 thousands of people took part in a Moscow march against the ban on U.S. adoptions. On 28/1 the European Court ordered the urgent communication of four applications by US families affected by the ban. 

Human rights defenders 
On 12/1 human rights lawyer Yury Schmidt died in St. Petersburg aged 75. On 25/1 Valery Abramkin, founder and director of the Moscow Centre for Prison Reform, died aged 66. On 19/1 a Moscow march commemorated the lives of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, both killed by neo-Nazis four years ago. 

Civil society activists 
On 9/1 activist Leonid Razvozzhaev, suspected of organizing mass riots, was sent to Irkutsk without informing his lawyer. On 10/1 Razvozzhaev agreed that charges of robbery in Irkutsk against him be dropped due to the expiration of statute of limitations. On 14/1 Razvozzhaev appealed to the General Prosecutor's Office and the Investigative Committee against a refusal to investigate his abduction in Ukraine. On 15/1 a lawyer acting for Razvozzhaev said guards were not allowing him to sit or lie on his bed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. On 18/1 the Investigative Committee said Razvozzhaev had been charged with making a false crime report (of torture). On 30/1 Razvozzhaev lodged a complaint with rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, demanding he be moved to Moscow. On 14/1 Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich withdrew a complaint against her former lawyers. On 16/1 a court dismissed an appeal by Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina to defer her sentence until her five-year-old son reached 14. On 30/1 a video of Pussy Riot's protest against President Putin in Moscow's main cathedral was banned in Russia. On 17/1 Aleksandr Dolmatov, an activist with the Other Russia movement, committed suicide in the Netherlands, apparently after he was designated for deportation to Russia. Friends and lawyers of Dolmatov accused the Netherlands of complicity in his suicide. Dolmatov’s mother wrote to the Queen of the Netherlands requesting her help in investigating the death of her son. On 30/1 Human Rights Watch launched its annual report describing a “reversal of political freedoms” and a “crackdown against civic activism” in Russia. 

LGBT rights 
On 21/1 picketers in Voronezh against a bill to ban "homosexual propaganda" were beaten up. On 22/1 a demonstration against a proposed federal ban on "homosexual propaganda" outside the State Duma was attacked by Orthodox activists. On 28/1 teacher Ilya Kolmanovsky was fired by a Moscow high school for taking part in the demonstration. On 24/1 Kaliningrad region assembly passed a bill banning “homosexual propaganda.” 

On 22/1 reports said the Justice Ministry had refused to include Chuvashia rights NGO Shield & Sword in the ‘foreign agent’ register. On 28/1 the Ministry of Justice published a draft bill setting out the reasons for conducting unscheduled checks of all NGOs. 

Access to information 
On 14/1 the Constitutional Court ruled in a case brought by Memorial that the 30-year classification rule had been misapplied to deny him access to archives. 

North Caucasus 
On 2/1 a gunman was shot dead when he opened fire on a police station in Karachayevo-Cherkessia. On 6/1 security forces killed three militants in Kabardino-Balkaria suspected of planning attacks on church services during the Russian Orthodox Christmas. On 15/1 Judge Magomed Magodemov was gunned down outside his home in Dagestan.
Rights in Russia,
16 Feb 2013, 09:06