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A right, not a crime: Violations of the right to freedom of assembly in Russia

A right, not a crime: Violations of the right to freedom of assembly in Russia
02
jun
2014

The respect for the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association has long been tenuous in Russia. In the two years since President Putin’s inauguration for a third term in May 2012, however, these have come under a sustained assault.

Legislative changes have tightened the screws on already restrictive regulations. New and old laws are being more restrictively applied, while the penalties for their transgression and the range of those falling within their scope have increased significantly.

This report focuses specifically on the freedom of peaceful assembly, in respect of which the anti-Putin protest on Bolotnaya Square 6 May 2012 marked a significant turning point. The arrests in the wake of the protest were a pre-cursor to new restrictions on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, while the prosecutions and convictions of peaceful protesters that followed have signalled the Russian authorities’ determination to discourage and stamp out protest.