Russia’s growing intolerance of dissent


Today, at Moscow’s eminent House of Cinematography, pro-Kremlin protesters attacked the award ceremony of an annual student competition organized by the civil society group Memorial, writes Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch:

The competition aims to “motivate young people to carry out independent research into the history of the past century and awaken their interest in the fates and lives of ordinary people, which make the founding blocs of the country’s history.”

Just a few weeks earlier, on March 21, Russian nationwide television ran a malicious story about  the exhibition “Different Wars” co-organized and hosted by Memorial….The state television news program accused Memorial activists of being “foreign agents” and defiling Russia by “re-writing” its history in the interests of their foreign funders.

“Today’s attack at the Moscow House of Cinematography and other similar incidents send a chilling, and non-subtle signal to the public at large,” Lokshina notes. “Unless you’re looking for trouble, keep quiet, don’t engage in any activism, stay away from civil society groups, and don’t look for interpretations and ideas that aren’t approved by the government.” RTWT

The appointment of new human rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova has provoked a mixed reaction in part because she is a former law enforcement official and a conservative politician who supported a series of controversial laws, Russia Direct reports.

According to Leonid Gozman (left), democratic activist and a fellow of the National Endowment for Democracy, Moskalkova’s background does matter and has serious implications for Russia’s opposition and human rights campaigners.

“If one looks at her life path, it will be clear that she supported many repressive laws,” he told Russia Direct. “Nether does she abstain from voting nor is she absent [during the parliamentary sessions]. She is pretty notorious for her [conservative] rhetoric and the oppression of civil freedoms.”

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