Basic freedoms are being denied in Russia. New laws brought in by Putin's government in 2013 have targeted basic human rights. The result is a Russia where you are increasingly gagged from talking about your political beliefs, stopped from expressing your gender and sexual identity, and banned from involvement with any non-governmental rights groups.

The new laws are wide-ranging - and intentionally vague - but we've put together a handy overview of some of the ways Russians have been repressed by them in the past year.

 

Freedom of expression and assembly restricted

Since 2012, nearly 5,000 people have been detained in 'authorised protests' in and around Moscow. And it's not surprising when changes to federal law have meant it's almost impossible to be given permission to hold a rally, public meeting, demonstration or march.

Even when a protest is allowed, you're still at risk. On 6 May 2012, protesters in Bolotnaya Square were brutally beaten by police after a very small number of protesters turned violent. Hundreds of peaceful protesters were randomly arrested, including peaceful proteser Mikhail Kosenko, who was forcibly sent for psychiatric treatment in a court ruling that harks back to Soviet-era tactics to silent dissent.

You're not only at risk in a crowd. In November 2012, two 'one-person protests' - one of the few forms of protest that doesn't require police permission - on opposite sides of a university building were arrested when police decided they constitued an unauthorised 'public meeting'. And even more bizarre, 200 people were dispersed in St Petersburg when their mass pillow fight was declared an 'unauthorised gathering'. Five ringleaders were fined by the courts.

Any form of criticsm can be singled out. The St Petersburg Museum of Power was shut down, just 10 days after opening, for exhibiting pictures that satirised Russian politicians including President Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev, and police confiscating the offending works of art. State censorship is in full swing.

LGBTI rights trampled

New laws heavily restrict efforts by the LGBTI community to fight for equal rights. In 2012, a Moscow Court banned Gay Pride for 100 years, despite the European Court of Human Rights declaring Pride bans in Moscow illegal just two years earlier.

Russian states have all implemented legislation outlawing 'propoganda of non-traditional sexual relations', an all-pervasive law that effectively stops teachers saying that being homosexual is as normal as bring heterosexual, and stops teenagers from seeking help and advice from sexual health clinics. 

NGOs silenced

Non-governmental organisations that participate in 'political activities' - a term that's helpfully not defined in the new law - and receive overseas funding must register as 'foreign agents'. To most Russians, 'foreign agent' means 'spy', something not lost, we suspect, on the authorities.

So far 1,000 NGOs have been 'inspected', including the Moscow offices of Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. After heavy fines, four NGOs have closed their doors including an LGBT film festival, and an election monitoring organisation.

What you can do

With the Winter Olympics not far away, all eyes are on Putin's Russia and how the authorities deal with legitimate protest, dissent and criticism. Help us highlight the repression and human rights crackdown - share our infographic.