Wartime repressions: five months of war

Текст на русском

Українська версія

The war has been going on for 150 days. In addition to the killing of civilians in Ukraine, the Russian state also continues its repressions within the country. We present you a summary of the main data on the pressure on people for an anti-war stance in Russia.

Restriction of the right to freedom of assembly

Since February 24, 2022, there have been 16,380 detentions on the territory of Russia and Crimea for an anti-war stance. The assessment is based on information received by the OVD-Info (Russian human rights media project) or collected from the mass media and social media. Not every change in the total is related to the detentions of recent days, we learn about some cases only after a while. In addition, there is a possibility that we are not aware of all the detentions. Here we describe in detail the calculation methodology.

Repressions at the legislative level

In July, amendments to the Criminal Code came into force, toughening a number of articles relating to «threats to the security» of the state. For example, the article on cooperation with «undesirable» organizations (Article 284.1 of the Criminal Code) introduces a ban on such cooperation for Russian citizens, regardless of their place of residence. There has also been introduced criminal liability for confidential cooperation with foreign states and organizations (Article 275.1 of the Criminal Code), «public calls for activities directed against the security of the state» (Article 280.4 of the Criminal Code), and «manufacture, distribution, public display and promotion of Nazi attributes or symbols» (Article 283.2 of the Criminal Code).

In July, amendments prohibiting public events near government buildings were passed in the first reading. And also came into force a law establishing turnover penalties for foreign IT companies for non-compliance with the «landing law».

Also, the law on extrajudicial blockings, which went into effect in July, will only increase the potential for Internet censorship by giving the Prosecutor General’s Office the right to shut down mass media without trial. And to also block websites with information about discredition and «fakes» without a court of law. Immediately and without the possibility of removing the block.

In addition, the tactic of legislators is astonishing: in at least five cases, amendments were made to old, completely irrelevant laws. Thus, amendments introducing criminal responsibility for «knowingly spreading false information about the performance of state agencies of the Russian Federation» were introduced in the second reading of the law on responsibility for the destruction or damage of forest plantations, which has been in the State Duma since October of last year.

Pressure on human rights defenders

We cannot claim that the pressure on human rights defenders and lawyers began only after February 24. The «Fortress» plan is regularly applied by the policemen during mass protests — this system is used by the law enforcement to deny access to a lawyer to protect detainees at peaceful protests. This violates people’s right to qualified legal assistance.

Last year, OVD-Info, together with «The Advocate Street», released a special project «The chronicles of the „Fortress“».

Criminal cases

Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code went into effect on March 4 of this year, with the first conviction to a real sentence handed down this month. Alexei Gorinov, a municipal deputy in Moscow’s Krasnoselsky district who called the war «a war» at a public meeting, was sentenced to seven years in prison. Alexey did not admit his guilt, unlike others already convicted under article 207.3 of the Criminal Code. The other three sentences under this article are: five years of probation, a fine of one million rubles, and eight months of corrective labor.

During this month 13 cases under Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code were opened, a total of 75 cases since the beginning of the war.

Administrative cases

Article 20.3.3 of the Administrative Code «On Discreditation» came into force in March 2022. At the moment we know about 3303 protocols made under this article.

«Foreign agents» and «undesirable organizations»

Over the past month, the Ministry of Justice has added to the register of «foreign agents» a Limited Liability Company «Helicopter and Co.» — an LLC created by journalist Alexey Pivovarov and 5 individuals: Ruslan Shaveddinov, Maxim Katz, Ilya Yashin, Tatiana Lazareva, Veronika Belotserkovskaya.

At the moment there are 476 «foreign agents» — these are individuals and legal entities, as well as unregistered public associations. We have prepared an analysis of the new law on «foreign agents», which was signed on July 14 and will come into force in December this year.

There are 62 organizations on the «undesirable» list. Since 2015, this status can be assigned to foreign and international non-governmental organizations, which, according to the Russian authorities, pose a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation, the defense capability of the country, or the security of the state.

Since 2021, organizations that cooperate with those already recognized as «undesirable» have also been recognized as «undesirable» but without being placed on the register of «undesirable» due to formal restrictions. Such was the case with «Team 29,» which was essentially declared «undesirable, » but was not put on the registry.

This month, the Russophone online publishing The Insider was added to the list of «undesirable». Also on this list, there are three other mass media: «Important Stories», «Project» and Bellingcat.

Blocking and pressuring of independent media

This month, the courts ruled it legal to block websites of publishings «7×7», «Taiga.Info», and «Meduza.» In total, according to Roskomsvoboda, more than 5,500 websites are blocked by military censorship.

Links to reports and data of OVD-Info:

Summary of anti-war repressions. June 2022

Report in Russian "No war. How the Russian authorities are fighting anti-war protests."

Report in Ukranian "No war. How the Russian authorities are fighting anti-war protests."

Guide "The anti-war case."

The input of information in reply to the call for submissions: Challenges to freedom of opinion and expression in times of conflicts and disturbances.

Alternative report by OVD-Info, Sova, and the Media Center on the Russian Federation's compliance with its International Human Rights Obligations to the 135th Session of the UN Human Rights Committee

Report "Blocking Internet resources as a tool of political censorship."

Project on the law on "foreign agents" — "Inoteka".

Report "How the authorities use cameras and facial recognition against protesters."