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April 2016

Freedom of expression 
On 1/4 authorities launched a hate-crime investigation against Kursk region lawmaker Olga Li for social media comments critical of President Putin. On 1/4 it was reported the authorities had suspended academic accreditation for the European University at St Petersburg. On 14/4 the FSB raided the headquarters of Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim investment group, possibly to put pressure on Prokhorov to sell RBC media holding. On 18/4 a Moscow court sentenced poet Nikolai Bogoliubov to a 200k rouble fine and one year’s community service for inciting ethnic hatred. On 20/4 prosecutors opened a criminal case against artist Petr Pavlensky, accused of setting fire to the FSB HQ. On 26/4 Pavlensky refused to allow vandalism charges against him to be dropped over a 2014 performance in St. Petersburg. On 26/4 prominent blogger Anton Nosik was charged with extremism for a post that called for ‘wiping Syria off the face of the Earth.’

Right of assembly 
On 7/4 Maksim Panfilov was arrested and charged with rioting and violence against a police officer at the May 2012 Bolotnaya Square demonstration. On 26/4 the European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay 35,000 Euros ($40,000) to five jailed protesters, all detained by police whilst picketing between 2006 to 2012.

Right of association 
On 4/4 French authorities granted Russian rights defender Nadezhda Kutepova, head of the NGO Planet of Hopes, political asylum in France. On 27/4 a Kaliningrad court declared the German-Russian House cultural centre a ‘foreign agent’. On 28/4 participants arriving at the award ceremony for young history students organised by Memorial were pelted with chemicals by nationalist activists. On 19/4 Saratov-based NGO Sotsium that assists HIV patients was designated a ‘foreign agent’.

Elections / Opposition politicians 
On 6/4 the Prosecutor General’s Office began an investigation into Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. On 8/4 Moscow City Court suspended proceedings to collect more than 16m roubles ($237,000) from Aleksei Navalny and other defendants in response to a ruling by the ECtHR. On 19/4 four candidates from the Anti-Corruption Foundation withdrew from the Barvikha municipal elections in protest against fraud. On 19/4 the Constitutional Court ruled Moscow may ignore part of a European Court of Human Rights judgment in a dispute on prisoner voting rights. On 20/4 the Central Electoral Commission ordered election results from Barvikha annulled. On 26/4 Mikhail Konev, head of the Parnas youth wing, was reported kidnapped in Moscow. On 27/4 Navalny filed a lawsuit against state-owned media holding VGTRK and two of its employees for portraying him as a CIA agent.

On 15/4 Judge Tatyana Leskina of Saratov Regional Arbitration Court was fired after accepting a lawsuit calling for President Putin’s dismissal. On 22/4 the State Duma elected ex-police general Tatyana Moskalkova human rights ombudswoman.

On 1/4 at least 35 Crimean Tatars were detained by anti-extremism police at a café outside Simferopol. On 6/4 Nadia Savchenko, sentenced to 22 years in prison, started a ‘dry’ hunger strike and demanded her immediate return to Ukraine. On 13/4 Crimean Prosecutor General suspended the Crimean Tatars’ Mejlis 'in order to prevent violations of federal law.' On 18/4 the Justice Ministry suspended the Mejlis for alleged ‘extremist activities.’ On 26/4 the Supreme Court of Crimea designated the Mejlis a terrorist organization and banned it in Russia. On 19/4 prosecutors in Crimea opened a criminal investigation into journalist Mykola Semena from the Ukrainian Radio Svoboda service on charges of inciting separatism. On 19/4 OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović expressed concern about the intimidation of Semena.