Repressions against the Russian anti-war movement. Ten months of the full-scale war

December 2022

Русская версия

It has been ten months since the beginning of the full-scale war. Throughout this time, the Kremlin has been escalating the intensity of domestic repressions. . Here is an overview of repressions in Russia between 24 November and 24 December, 2022.

The right to freedom of assembly

Since 24 February, there have been only 29 days without arrests for an anti-war stance in Russia.

In December the State Duma considered and adopted 12 repressive laws in at least one reading. One of these laws is a new standard of increased liability for “foreign agents”. All “agents” are to face criminal liability if they get two administrative fines in a span of a year. Moreover, according to the new law, people not included in the registry but operating as foreign agents can also face an administrative lawsuit.

Another innovation: from now on, spreading materials not included in the extremist registry but considered extremist by federal law will also entail liability. Examples of this include publishing a photo of Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini, regardless of the context. The Duma also issued a draft legislation regarding administrative liability for the production and distribution of maps and other imagery that “challenges territorial integrity of the Russian Federation” — this would cover, for instance, sharing a map with Crimea not marked as Russia.


Criminal cases

This month, 30 new defendants in criminal anti-war cases came to light. Among them is a Petersburg activist Daniil Krinari, who was detained in Hrodna, Belarus, brought to Moscow, and charged with cooperation with a foreign state (article 275.1 of the Criminal Code of Russian Federation); a former school teacher Nikita Tushkanov, who posted a photograph of the explosion of the Crimea bridge and is now  prosecuted under part 2 of article 205.2 and part 1 of article 280.3 of the Criminal Code; Valery Badmaev – chief editor of the “Modern Kalmykia” publication (p.1 art. 280.3 of the Criminal Code).

Ilya Yashin was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for his stream about Bucha. This is the longest sentence given for article 207.3 of the Criminal Code (public dissemination of knowingly false information about the use of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. Vladimir Rumyantsev, a stoker from Vologda, was sentenced to 3 years of general regime penal colony. So far during the full-scale war, at least 51 defendants have been convicted under the “anti-war case.”


Meanwhile, OVD-Info defense attorneys have helped 46 defendants in 27 criminal cases in 25 cities. Additionally, legal counsel was present in two searches and two interrogations. Support OVD-Info

Administrative cases

OVD-Info defense attorneys partook in 226 administrative cases and helped 53 defendants in the past month. For example, our project’s lawyers helped detainees during the law enforcement’s visit to the coworking “Open space”  in Moscow.

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Extrajudicial Pressure

There are 9 known cases of extrajudicial pressure from 24 November to 24 December.

«Foreign Agents» and «Undesirable Organizations»

On 1 December, 2022, the Ministry of Justice published a unified register of “foreign agents'', which includes all those who have ever been recognized as a “foreign agent”. Sakharov’s center was fined 10 times 500,000 rubles each, for a total of 5 million rubles, for the lack of the corresponding disclaimer of “foreign agents'' on the videos. The Sakhalin Environmental Watch, after 27 years of operation, announced its closure once it was announced a "foreign agent".

From 24 November to 24 December, the Russian authorities recognized two organizations as "undesirable" - the analytical center "Riddle" and the "Russian Anti-War Committee in Sweden". Since 24 February, 23 organizations have been included in this list.

Blocking and Censorship


This month Roskomnadzor blocked, for instance: news portal KavPolit, the fact-checking project Provereno.Media, Chernigov News, many links to «opposition portal Soprotivlenie2», website of Vladimir’s town magazine «Rezonans», another domain of the project “I want to live” dedicated to helping Russian soldier defect and surrender in  Ukraine. The Pervomaisky District Court of Omsk blocked the caricature of Vladimir Putin, where the symbol of Russian special operation, English letter “Z”, is compared to the Nazi swastika.

Pressure on Independent Media

The Sakhalin news agency announced their closure – they’ve been blocked for the second time. The journalistic alliance Barents Press International has also suspended its work in Russia starting from 1 January 2023.

Searches continued in the justifying terrorism case against journalists Andrei Grigoriev and Aisylu Kadyrova – in Kazansecurity services carried out a search in the apartment of Tatarstan journalist Nailya Mullaeva, a search also took place at the properties of  Tatarstan activist Elina Yasonova.

 The independent Dagestani media “Chernovik” terminated publishing the printed version of the newspaper due to pressure from the republican authorities on printing houses.

 In Astrakhan siloviki detained the parents of blogger Vasily Shvetsov, who had emigrated from Russia, his parents were held overnight at the police station. They have not been told why they were detained.  

Pressure on Civil Society

The oldest human rights organization in Russia, the Moscow Helsinki Group, received a liquidation lawsuit from the Ministry of Justice. Ural “Memorial” will be evicted from the premises due to the decision of the authorities of Yekaterinburg city to terminate the lease agreement with human rights activists.

The city court of St. Petersburg declared the “Vesna” movement as extremist. 

The Ministry of Justice recommended disbarring Mikhail Benyash on the basis of inspection of his Telegram channel. According to a Ministry official, one of the publications of the attorney "contains analogies of the Nazi regime, as well as Hitler with the president of the Russian Federation."

Mikhail Benyash also received a withdrawal from the judge in the cases he led the Court of Appeal in the city of Sochi. The reason was his “foreign agent” status.

The anti-war artist Daniil Shershnev was sent to a military unit in the Tver region for compulsory military service. In Samara, libertarian Yegor Beschastnov was forcibly taken to the military commissariat - the draft board decided to send the activist to the army. The next day, Yegor Beschastnov wrote that he was in Kazakhstan without explaining how he crossed the border.

Links to other data and reports by OVD-Info: