Bolotnaya Arrests Signaled New Era of Russia’s Political Prosecutions | Freedom House

Bolotnaya Arrests Signaled New Era of Russia’s Political Prosecutions

Washington

Tens of thousands of Russians gathered two years ago today on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square to protest the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s third term as president. In subsequent weeks, 27 individuals were charged with a variety of offenses, including participation in mass riots and use of force against police. Nine have been convicted, four are on trial, and three remain to be tried; 11 others were granted amnesty before the Sochi Olympic games, and one committed suicide. The Bolotnaya investigations and trials constitute the most wide-reaching case of political persecution since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“The Bolotnaya case represents how average Russian citizens can fall victim to Russia’s crackdown on civil society,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House.  “By exercising their freedoms of expression and assembly, those involved in the Bolotnaya case have lost their liberty, become subject to the cruelties of the Russian judicial system, and been made examples of for others who might think of speaking out or participating in demonstrations.”

Freedom House calls for the immediate release and pardon of all Bolotnaya prisoners, as well as the 13 arrested during today’s attempted anniversary demonstration.

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014 and Freedom of the Press 2014, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2013.

To learn more about Russia, visit:
Russian “Foreign Agents” Law Forces Closure of “Memorial” Human Rights Group
Freedom in the World 2014: Russia
Freedom of the Press 2014: Russia (draft report)
Freedom on the Net 2013: Russia
Nations in Transit 2013: Russia
Freedom House Blog
Freedom House on Russia: 2003-2014

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhousedc) and stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our RSS feedsnewsletter and our blog.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter.