Wartime Repressions Summary. Nine Months of War

November 2022

Русская версия

It’s been nine months since February 24, apart from waging a full-scale war on Ukraine, the Kremlin is unleashing a new wave of repressions inside Russia. We have gathered all available information about the state repressions against the Russian anti-war movement from October 24 to November 24, 2022.

Restrictions of the Right to Freedom of Assembly

In addition to detentions at numerous anti-war rallies, there is information about 132 detentions on for  display anti-war symbols and 157* detentions for anti-war social media posts.

*This is the number of detentions that OVD-Info is aware of. Our analysis of court decisions under Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences on "discrediting" the Russian Armed Forces indicates that the total number of administrative cases for anti-war posts is much higher. Based on the proportion of prosecutions for Internet posts among all the sentences under Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences we have analyzed, along with the total number of cases in which this article has been applied, we can conclude that the authorities filed about 1,500 lawsuits against individuals making anti-war statements on social media.

The Russian legislature adopted the law completely banning “LGBT propaganda.”  The bill authorizes creation of a state agency empowered to track any LGBT-content in order to censor it. In fact, it will be blocked automatically.

The lawmakers also approved 56 pages of amendments toughening the "foreign agents" law. Any information from "foreign agents" will be forbidden for minors, and any individuals or legal entities may be deprived of bank secrecy if suspected of violating the law". Anyone can be deemed a “foreign agent” — the authorities use the law to turn activists into personae non grata.


Criminal Cases

*According to OVD-Info

Some good news: for the first time ever, a lawsuit for “spreading fake information about the Russian Army” was dismissed on October 27. 

It was initiated against a resident of Nizhny Novgorod for sharing a video about the Bucha massacre . The case was dismissed because the post was published "before the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation issued an official rebuttal of the events that had taken place in the cities of Irpen and Bucha of the Republic of Ukraine".

Later on, the Novosibirsk Central Court dismissed the criminal case against a minor for "fakes" about the Russian army (part 1, Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code).

OVD-Info lawyers are helping the total of 48 people on trial under Russian Criminal Code for anti-war activity in 21 different locations. The highest number of cases at the moment is recorded in St. Petersburg (11), Moscow (10), and Makhachkala (5).

Administrative Cases

* According to Mediazona as of 23.11.2022

Over the last month, our defense attorneys visited 43 detainees in 9 cities 32 times. In total, we visited 5,808 detainees at least 975 times since February 24. Between October 24 and November 24, OVD-Info lawyers have worked 397 cases in 31 cities. Overall, since the outbreak of the war, our lawyers have been involved in 8,597 court cases.


Extrajudicial pressure

We are aware of 19 cases of such harassment that have taken place between October 24 and November 24. Among them are the HSE lyceum students, who refused to stand up for the Russian anthem and played the Ukrainian anthem during a state-mandated patriotism lesson. One of the girls was threatened by the  admins of a popular pro-war telegram  channel with "collective appeals to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the prosecutor's office, and the guardianship authorities."

"Foreign agents" and "undesirable organizations"

In total, the Ministry of Justice has included 152 individuals and organizations in the “foreign agents” register since February 24.

4 organizations were declared “undesirable” between October 24 and November 24. Now there are 21 organizations on the register.

Blocking and censorship

*According to “Roskomsvoboda”

This month human rights media projects, such as "Helpdesk.media", "Conscientious objectors movement" and "Teplitsa. Technologies for Social Good", were blocked. Vladimir City Court blocked a petition against mobilization on the Change.org website. An article titled "How to avoid mobilization in Russia?" was banned by three Russian courts and the Prosecutor General, at once.

At Kemerovo Drama Theatre, posters advertising a play based on War and Peace were censored.  Blank paper was glued over the name of the anti-war director Rimas Tuminas. At the Mariinsky Theater the name of the anti-war choreographer Ilya Zhivoy was removed from the list of authors of performances created with his input.

Ekaterina Mizulina, head of the Russian Internet Safety League, demanded to recognize the song "OIDA" by the anti-war rapper Oxxxyimiron as extremist.

The major app "Yandex Music" has removed the song “Chervona Kalyna” performed by the Veryovka Ukrainian Folk Choir and the Ukrainian band "BoomBox." Meanwhile, Russian TV started to mute the words “peace” and “war”. 

Pressure on independent media

A court in Yakutsk fined journalist Timofey Efremov, 30,000 rubles (roughly 500 USD) for using the word “frontlines” on air.

This month, Novaya Gazeta and its Free Space project, as well as the independent Sakhalin publication "Sakhkom", and "The Moscow Times" were blocked on the internet. On the contrary, Google was compelled to unblock the YouTube channels of the "Zvezda" TV network, as well as pay a 100,000 ruble fine.

Pressure on civil society

Eco-activist Arshak Makichyan, who opposes the war in Ukraine, along with his two brothers and his father, have been made stateless as they were stripped of their Russian citizenship.  

The artists of "Pokras Lampas" collective, actress Ksenia Rappoport, and the former head of the Hermitage Museum's contemporary art department, Dmitry Ozerkov were expelled from the Council for Culture and Art of St. Petersburg for anti-war statements.

Vladimir Putin expelled ten people from the Human Rights Council, including Igor Kalyapin, founder of the "Committee Against Torture", Alexander Verkhovsky, head of the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, and political commentator Nikolai Svanidze.

Links to other data and reports by OVD-Info: