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February 2015

Political opposition
On 6/2 investigators searched the home of Roman Alburov, director of Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. On 12/2 investigators searched the apartment of the parents of Navalny associate Nikita Kulachenkov. On 15/2 Navalny was detained by Moscow police for distributing leaflets about a planned demonstration on 1/3. On 20/2 he was sentenced to 15 days’ prison for the offence. On 17/2 a court had ended Navalny’s house arrest, but upheld a suspended 3.5 year prison term (and a similar term in prison for his brother Oleg). On 18/2 a court upheld the ban on Navalny's website. On 27/2 Boris Nemtsov was shot and killed late at night in central Moscow. His killer escaped.

Human rights defenders 
On 4/2 Murad Magomedov, a lawyer from Memorial Human Rights Centre, was severely beaten near the Dagestan Supreme Court. On 5/2 the home and office of Lyudmila Kuzmina, head of the Samara branch of Golos, were raided after she was accused of large-scale tax evasion. On 9/2 investigators announced a new charge of fraud against Lyudmila Bogatenkova, chair of Budennovsk Soldiers' Mothers Committee.

Right of association 
On 4/2 the Sakharov Center filed a complaint against an inspection by the Ministry of Justice that led to the Center being designated a ‘foreign agent’. On 13/2 prosecutors warned the Russian branch of Transparency International in a likely precursor to designation as a ‘foreign agent’. On 24/2 OSCE Representative on Media Freedom condemned “continued intimidation” of media NGOs in Russia. On 26/2 the Ministry of Justice designated the Voronezh-based Media Rights Centre a ‘foreign agent’. On 26/2 two members of Pussy Riot filed a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights over Russia's refusal to register their prisoners' rights group, Zona Prava.

Freedom of expression 
On 8/2 the independent Tomsk station TV-2 ceased broadcasting by cable after it was stripped of its licence. Reporters Without Borders ranked Russia #152 out of 180 countries in its 2015 World Press Freedom Index. On 15/2 activist Pavel Shekhtman facing jail time on extremism charges said he was seeking asylum in Ukraine. On 26/2 journalist Dmitry Shipilov from Kemerovo said he had applied for asylum in Ukraine.

Right of assembly 
On 16/2 a coalition of opposition activists applied to Moscow authorities for permission to hold a demonstration on 1/3. On 20/2 the activists agreed to hold the demonstration in a Moscow suburb. On 24/2 officials in Arkhangelsk banned a previously approved gay-rights rally. On 25/2 police detained Ivan Nepomnyashchikh, a 33rd suspect in the notorious Bolotnoe case on a charge of assaulting a police officer.

By 1/2 almost 25,000 signatures had been gathered for a petition to release Svetlana Davydova, detained on 22/1 accused of treason. On 2/2 she retracted testimony she gave earlier. On 3/2 she was released from Lefortovo. On 16/2 Moscow City Court ruled her pre-trial detention had been illegal, but did not drop the charges against her. On 2/2 a lawyer for detained Nadia Savchenko said she remained ‘resolute’ after 50 days’ hunger strike. On 7/2 the Investigative Committee refused to drop charges against her. On 10/2 a court extended her detention until 13/5. On 23/2 rights activist Valery Borshchev visited Savchenko in detention and said she was experiencing health problems. On 25/2 an appeal court rejected Savchenko's challenge against extension of her pre-trial detention. On 3/2 investigators brought a new charge against Oleg Sentsov of unlawful possession of explosives. On 12/2 a Crimean court remanded Akhtem Chyyhoz, deputy head of the Mejlis, detained on 29/1 on public order charges, in custody for 3 months. On 8/2 courts in Crimea remanded Oleksandr Kostenko (on charges relating to the 2014 Kyiv protests) and Iskender Kantemirov (on public order charges relating to events in Simferopol in February 2014) in custody for 2 months.