This article originally appeared in Foreign Policy Magazine on March 1, 2012.
See the original piece here.
In the five months since the Russian public was handed this fait accompli, Putin has been booed during an appearance at a mixed martial arts match, increasingly ridiculed on the Internet, and seen his party, United Russia, fail to win a majority in parliamentary elections last Dec. 4, despite extensive fraud in its favor. Large, peaceful protests across the country since those elections -- including one this past Sunday in which demonstrators circled Moscow's Ring Road -- represent a clear indicator of the desire for change.
Eight human rights groups and a prominent Russian activist are urging Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to ensure that business executives Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev receive a fair second trial that upholds their human rights.
Freedom House is deeply concerned by reports that Russian authorities are harassing and marginalizing opposition candidates running for the mayor of Sochi, the city chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Freedom House and seven other nongovernmental organizations issued a joint statement today condemning yesterday's attack on Russian human rights defender Lev Ponomarev and calling on leaders at the G20 meeting to press Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to find and prosecute those responsible.