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Russia Working Group Statement on Political Repression in Russia
June 11, 2012
Early this morning, Russian police and investigative authorities executed simultaneous raids on the homes of several of the leading members of the Russian opposition. The homes of, among others, Alexei Navalny, Ilya Yashin, Ksenia Sobchak, Sergei Udaltsov, Boris Nemtsov as well as those of Mr. Navalny’s parents and parents-in-law and Mr. Udaltsov and Mr. Yashin’s parents, were extensively searched and computers and papers taken. Further, each of the leaders were summoned to appear for questioning about their role in the May 6 protest march on June 12 at 11AM, only an hour before they are to participate in a planned anti-Putin demonstration.
Today’s raids are a further escalation of pressure on the opposition and the latest indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen repression over compromise with this new force in Russian politics. In conjunction with a draconian new law on protests that went into effect over the weekend, these searches are aimed at intimidating would-be dissenters and preventing both the organizers and the general population from peacefully gathering in tomorrow's opposition demonstration.
The Russia Working Group and others concerned with human rights in Russia call on the Obama administration to immediately and publicly condemn the actions of Mr. Putin’s government in the strongest terms and at the highest levels. At his planned meeting with Mr. Putin in Los Cabos, Mexico next week, President Obama should stress the unacceptability of such brutal actions and underscore the importance of freedom of association and a vibrant opposition. Further, he should instruct the U.S. Embassy to monitor the demonstrations and attend any trials that may take place.
Jamie M. Fly
David J. Kramer