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December 2014

Right of assembly 
On 1/12 Sergei Ivanov, head of the Kremlin administration, told regional officials to prevent street protests. On 2/12 Moscow police detained and released without charge participants in a seminar on political protests. On 3/12 a court in Kostroma awarded 3,000 roubles compensation to activist Nikolai Alekseev over unlawful banning of gay-pride events. On 4/12 the European Court of Human Rights said Russia violated rights of Aleksei Navalny and Ilya Yashin during their December 2011 arrest and subsequent administrative detention in Moscow. On 10/12 Sergei Mokhnatkin was convicted of assaulting two police officers at a Moscow rally on 31/12/13 and sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. On 30/12 rallies in support of the Navalny brothers were held in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities, with over 250 people detained in Moscow.

Right of association 
The Justice Ministry added NGOs to the register of ‘foreign agents’: on 10/12 the Moscow School of Civic Education; on 25/12 the Andrei Sakharov Centre, the Kaliningrad-based Human Rights Center and a Krasnodar college alumni association; and on 30/12 a further six: including Citizens’ Watch and Human Rights Resource Centre (St. Petersburg), and Individual & the Law (Mari El). A new law prohibits groups registered as "foreign agents" taking part in election-monitoring.

Freedom of expression
On 3/12 the Supreme Court ruled the Jehovah's Witnesses website extremist. On 8/10 Dozhd TV was expelled from its Moscow studios. On 8/12 Evgeny Mezdrikov, editor of Taiga.Info in Novosibirsk, was assaulted. On 30/12 OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media called for the shutdown of the Tomsk broadaster TV-2 to be prevented. City officials have said its signal will not be transmitted after 1/1/15. On 18/12 Moscow police detained 19 activists, intending to ask President Putin ‘inconvenient questions’ near the building where Putin held his annual news conference.

Aleksei Navalny 
On 2/12 Moscow City Court upheld the extension until 14/1/15 of the house arrest of Aleksei Navalny, imposed in the Yves Rocher fraud case. On 19/12 prosecutors asked the court to sentence Navalny to 10 years in prison. A Facebook page inviting Navalny’s supporters to attend a rally on 15/1/15, the day his verdict was to be announced, was blocked on orders of the General Prosecutor. A subsequent Facebook page was not blocked. On 30/12 a Moscow court convicted Navalny of fraud, handing him a 3.5 years suspended sentence. Navalny’s brother, Oleg, was sentenced to prison for the same term. Both were fined. On 30/12 police detained Navalny at a protest against the verdicts.

North Caucasus
On 4/12 a gun battle between militants and security forces in Grozny left at least 19 dead. On 8/12, days after Ramzan Kadyrov called for the homes of families of militants to be razed, masked individuals set four homes on fire in the village of Yandi, Chechnya. On 10/12 Ramzan Kadyrov accused Igor Kalyapin, a human rights defender who had criticized the notion of collective punishment, of indirectly organizing the attack in Grozny. On 11/12 supporters of Kadyrov disrupted a Moscow press conference in Moscow at which Kalyapin spoke eggs. On 13/12 the Grozny office of the Joint Mobile Group of rights defenders, headed by Kalyapin, was set on fire. On 18/12 in Kabardino-Balkaria three suspected militants were killed by security forces. On 23/12 Kabardino-Balkaria Republic Supreme Court convicted all 57 defendants of participating in attacks on police and security facilities in Nalchik in October 2005. 54 received sentences from 10 years to life.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky 
On 7/12 police sought to prevent Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaking by video link to supporters at a St Petersburg hotel. On 16/12 the ECtHR said it had rejected an appeal by Russia against the 1.9 billion euros damages it must pay to Yukos shareholders.