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July 2014

Freedom of expression 
On 1/7 a law banning swearing in the arts came into force. On 17/7 journalist Pavel Sheremet announced he quit Russia's Public Television (ORT) in protest at Kremlin policies on Ukraine. The interior ministry offered up to 3.9m roubles for research on identifying the users of the anonymous browsing network Tor. On 22/7 President Putin signed several bills into force, including laws increasing liability for separatism, banning advertising on paid-access TV, and making it mandatory to store data of Russian citizens in Russia. On 23/7 Roskomnadzor, Russia's communications watchdog, went to court to seek the closure of the website of Shaltai Boltai, a group leaking alleged documents and e-mails of high-ranking officials involved in events in Ukraine. Twitter users were subsequently denied access to @b0ltai. On 28/7 Oleg Potapenko editor-in-chief of news website was detained by security officers on return from an NGO forum in Georgia.

Right of assembly 
On 11/7 Mikhail Kosenko, convicted in the Bolotnaya Square case, was released from psychiatric hospital. Amnesty International called for his conviction to be overturned. On 22/7 President Putin signed into force a bill increasing liability for violating regulations on rallies. On 24/7 Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhaev were convicted of organising rioting on Bolotnaya Square in May 2012 and sentenced to four-and-a-half years.

Right of association 
On 21/7 the Ministry of Justice registered five NGOs (Public Verdict, Memorial Human Rights Centre, Jurix, Agora, and Ecodefence) as “foreign agents” for allegedly conducting “political activities” while receiving foreign funding. In a statement on 22/7 Memorial condemned the ‘foreign agent’ law and called for its repeal.

Aleksei Navalny 
On 1/7, Navalny refused to testify in what he called the ‘fabricated’ case of the theft of a painting found in his apartment. On 9/7 investigators searched the apartments of two Navalny associates, Nikita Kulachenkov and Georgy Alburov, in connection with the alleged theft. By 14/7 seven of nine candidates of the "For Moscow" coalition allied with Navalny had been removed from the Moscow City Duma race; on 17/7 the two remaining “For Moscow” candidates, were denied registration. On 30/7 Moscow City Court upheld the extension of the house arrest of Navalny associate Konstantin Yankauskas until 17/10.

Rights defenders, civil society activists 
On 1/7 Andrei Yurov, a member of the Human Rights Council, suffered first-degree burns after attackers in Voronezh threw antiseptic in his face. On 1/7 Novaya gazeta reported a petition launched calling for the release of environmentalist Evgeny Vitishko. On 7/7 Ruslan Kutaev, arrested in February after holding an event marking the 70th anniversary of the Chechen deportation to Kazakhstan, was sentenced to four years in jail for illegal drugs possession. On 27/7 Aleksandr Skobov, a Soviet-era dissident and opposition activist, was stabbed in St. Petersburg.

North Caucasus 
Over 6-8/7 a police officer and seven suspected militants were killed in a special operation in the village of Maidanovskoye, Dagestan.

On 7/7 a Moscow court extended the pretrial arrest of Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov until 11/10. On 7/7 leader of the Crimean Tatars, Refat Chubarov, was barred from entering "Russian territory." On 17/7 a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet came down in east Ukraine killing nearly 300 people on board.

International justice 
On 3/7 the European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia for the mass deportation of Georgians in 2006. On 28/7 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ordered Russia to pay about $50bn to a group of former Yukos shareholders. On 31/7 the European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay Yukos shareholders $2.5bn compensation.