Russia Overview

Civic space in Russia has closed markedly since 2012 as the state and its agents have unleashed a brutal and insidious assault on civil society, human rights groups, independent media and anyone that opposes the state. The crackdown has included the beating and arrest of peaceful protestors, repressive new laws governing online expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, vile attacks on LGBTI and environmental activists and a growing intolerance of dissent. As a result, many civil society organisations have closed or had funding cut off, the number of protests has dwindled and the state has significantly extended its reach over the Internet. Authorities have even begun to arrest individual social media users who post content which is at odds with the official state line. Civic space is especially constrained in the North Caucasus region, where journalists are regularly intimidated by public figures and organisations conducting human rights monitoring are threatened and harrassed.