News of the Day: 5 December 2020

RFE/RL: Several protesters have been detained at a rally in Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far East as locals continued for a 148th day to voice opposition to the arrest of the regional governor. Braving subfreezing temperatures, about 150 people attended the December 5 march through the city center. Six people were detained for violating protests laws, OVD-Info, a rights group, reported. Earlier in the week, a journalist was arrested for covering a protest. “Journalists are beaten and persecuted and, we, grandmothers, are dragged to the courts. It’s a shame on the police and the authorities,” one of the protesters, Galina, told RFE/RL.

Caucasian Knot: The bills on the work of non-commercial organizations (NCOs) will make it almost impossible to work in Southern Russia, human rights defenders believe. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that bills had been brought to the State Duma on toughening control over the NCOs financed from abroad; on the ban to be engaged in enlightenment activities without authorities’ permission; and on new restrictions on protests. In 2014, the Russian Constitutional Court (CC) ruled that the organizations recognized as “foreign agents” should not be discriminated as compared to other NCOs, Natalia Evdokimova, the head of the Saint Petersburg Human Rights Council, has recalled. However, as a result, they are prohibited from supporting political parties, delegating their representatives to public oversight commissions (POCs), and engaging in anti-corruption expertise. Alexander Verkhovsky, Director of the “Sova” Information-Analytical Centre, has treated the bills as “an unprecedented attack on civil and political rights.” The main essence of these changes is the establishment of full state control over the educational sphere and a ban on the dissemination of “incorrect” information, Sergey Lukashevsky, Director of the Sakharov Centre, believes. Irina Protasova, a co-chair of the organization “Person and Law” from the Republic of Mari El, has noted that severe restrictions against objectionable NCOs “will kill the activities of human rights organizations in the regions.”

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