News of the Week

Week-ending 22 March 2024

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Russia is now at “war” with Ukraine because of Western interference in what Moscow previously called a “special military operation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said. (RFE/RL, 21/3/24)

Russian lawmakers voted on Tuesday to allow future suspected or convicted criminals to join the military, thus expanding the wartime practice of recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine. (The Moscow Times, 19/3/24)

Krasnoyarsk authorities said several prisons will be closed after numbers of inmates fell due to military recruitment. (The Moscow Times, 21/3/24)

Filmmaker Vsevolod Korolyov who criticized the war against Ukraine, was sentenced to three years in prison. (The Mosow Times, 20/3/24)

Russia refused to extend the visa for Spanish journalist Xavier Colas for covering anti-war rallies by Russian women. (RFE/RL, 21/3/24)

Aleksei Navalny

President Putin said he agreed to swap Aleksei Navalny several days before the opposition leader died in prison last month. (RFE/RL, 17/3/24)

A Russian court rejected a lawsuit filed by the mother of late Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny against guards of a prison where he died last month for refusing to provide her son with medical assistance. (RFE/RL, 21/3/24)

A court sentenced SotaVision journalist Antonina Favorskaya to 10 days in jail after visiting the grave of Aleksei Navalny. (RFE/RL, 19/3/24)

Apple, at the direction of Roskomnadzor, has removed an app by Navalny’s team to help users vote for candidates other than Putin. (RFE/RL, 22/3/24)


Independent election watchdog Golos, whose co-director is in jail, said it found unprecedented levels of fraud in elections the international community has called a “sham.”(The Guardian, 18/3/24; RFE/RL, 21/3/24)

Yulia Navalnaya dismissed Vladimir Putin’s election victory as having “no meaning.” (The Moscow Times, 19/3/24)

Vasily Gorelikov, a supporter of Boris Nadezhdin detained while conducting an exit poll, was sentenced to five days in jail. (RFE/RL, 18/3/24)

A St. Petersburg court ordered the arrest of Alexandra Chiryatyeva who wrote “no to war” on her voting ballot. (The Moscow Times, 20/3/24)

LGBT rights

Authorities arrested Diana Kamilyanova and Alexander Klimov, employees of a gay club, as part of the first criminal “extremism” case against members of the LGBTQ+ community. (The Moscow Times, The Guardian, 20/3/24)

Human Rights Defenders

Migrant rights activist Tatiana Kotlyar was fined 450,000 rubles on charges of illegally registering foreigners at her home. (The Moscow Times, 18/3/24)

A court ordered the arrest in absentia of Vladimir Osechkin, founder of the prisoners’ rights NGO (The Moscow Times, 21/3/24)

Freedom of expression

Tatar journalist Ruslan Aysin has been charged with breaking ‘foreign agent’ restrictions and ‘rehabilitation of Nazism’.  (The Moscow Times, 19/3/24)

The websites of Russian independent news outlet SOTA and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Memorial Center for Protection of Human Rights have been blocked by Roskomnadzor. (RFE/RL, 21/3/24)

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