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April 2014

On 2/4 the Russian Federal Communications and Mass Media Agency (Roskomnadzor) said it would purge Crimea of ‘harmful’ information. On 10/4 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution depriving the Russian delegation of voting rights. On 17/4 in Geneva Ukraine, Russia, the USA, and the EU announced agreement on measures aimed at defusing the crisis in Ukraine. On 22/4 Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev was told he was barred from entering Crimea for five years.

Freedom of expression 
On 8/4 rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova called for the full rehabilitation of those convicted in the Pussy Riot case. On 9/4 the State Duma’s Culture Committee discussed a draft cultural policy document i.a. on the Internet that declared Russia's need to preserve its unique “state-civilization”. On 11/4 the Human Rights Council denounced as illegal the dismissal of Andrei Zubov, a professor at MGIMO, over an article criticizing Russia's actions in Ukraine. On 13/4 at least 5,000 people took part in a Moscow rally to denounce a government crackdown on independent media. On 21/4 rights ombudsman Pamfilova criticized a bill requiring bloggers with more than 3,000 daily visitors to register with Roskomnadzor. The bill was approved by the State Duma (on 22/4) and the Federation Council (on 29/4). On 22/4 founder of VKontakte Pavel Durov announced he had left Russia after he was forced to sell his shares in the company. On 29/4 Sova Centre released a report expressing concern over increased internet censorship.

Right of association 
In a speech on 8/4 President Putin called on the FSB to ensure Russia does not let the West use local civil rights groups to foment unrest. On 8/4 Russia’s Constitutional Court struck down a legal challenge to ‘foreign agent’ law. On 8/4 St. Petersburg City Court upheld on appeal a lower court ruling that the Memorial Anti-Discrimination Center is a foreign agent.

Right of assembly 
On 6/4, six protesters were detained on Manezh Square for supporting the Bolotnaya Square prisoners. On 30/4 Moscow authorities said they would not allow the opposition to stage a rally on Bolotnaya Square on 6/5.

Electoral rights 
On 15/4 the State Duma approved in a first reading a bill to end direct mayoral elections in some of Russia's largest cities.

High profile prosecutions 
On 2/4 a Krasnodar court gave a three-year suspended sentence and a fine of 70,000 roubles to NGO activist and professor Mikhail Savva. On 12/4 Mikhail Savva appealed the ruling. On 8/4 Human Rights Watch called on the authorities to immediately release Ruslan Kutaev, arrested in Chechnya on 20/2 on drugs charges and allegedly tortured. On 1/4 reports said Russian content providers began receiving warnings for permitting reposting from the blog of Aleksei Navalny. On 22/4 Aleksei Navalny said he had been denied access to the Internet to prevent him publicizing a letter from Yves Roche to prosecutors refuting the charges against him. On 22/4 a Moscow district court found Aleksei Navalny guilty of slandering Moscow City Duma Deputy Aleksei Lisovenko, who alleged Navalny posted referred to him on Twitter as a ‘drug addict’. On 24/4 a Moscow court extended Navalny’s house arrest by six months. On 28/4 a Moscow court returned the Yves Rocher case against Aleksei Navalny and his brother to the prosecutors.

North Caucasus 
On 15/4 Russian security forces killed four suspected militants in Dagestan in a security operation. On 26/4 Russian forces killed up to five suspected militants in Derbent, Dagestan. On 28/4, a witness for the prosecution testifying at the trial of ex-mayor of Makhachkala Said Amirov said he had been subjected to torture in Dagestan after his arrest.
Rights in Russia,
31 May 2014, 10:04