Human Rights in Russia

February 11th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Human Rights Watch have said:

The Kremlin in 2012 unleashed the worst political crackdown in Russia’s post-Soviet history, Human Rights Watch said today in itsWorld Report 2013. The authorities introduced a series of restrictive laws, harassed and intimidated activists, and interfered in the work of nongovernmental organizations, crushing hopes for reform following the winter 2011 mass protests.

“This has been the worst year for human rights in in recent memory,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Russia’s civil society is standing strong but with the space around it shrinking rapidly, it needs support now more than ever.”

In its 665-page report, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including an analysis of the aftermath of the Arab Spring. The willingness of new governments to respect rights will determine whether the Arab Spring gives birth to genuine democracy or simply spawns authoritarianism in new clothes, Human Rights Watch said.

In Russia, since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in May, a parliament dominated by members of the pro-Putin United Russia party has adopted a series of laws that imposed dramatic new restrictions on civil society. A June law introduced limits on public assembliesand raised relevant financial sanctions to the level of criminal fines, re-criminalized libel, and imposed new restrictions on internet content.

Russia isn’t going to turn back into the USSR, but it is clear that the path it is on is one of authoritarianism and towards totalitarian.  It may not have the reach the old USSR had, but its veto on the UN Security Council means it helps makes the world a worse place.

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35 Responses to “Human Rights in Russia”

  1. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    Oh boo hoo hoo the “gays” can’t parade half naked under the Statue of Alexander Nevsky whining about their “rights” to marry each other and all the while the degenrate west sinks further into sordid squalor and decay.

    Get a clue

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  2. Lance (2,311 comments) says:

    @Andrei
    Methinks the crackdown in Russia extends beyond gays.

    It would be bad for you if you openly opposed Putin in Russia, no matter what the issue.

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  3. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    Also one of the few places on the planet where average life expectancy has declined. A shit hole with oil. Saudi Arabia without the sun or religion but just as oppressive of its people.

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  4. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    How’s that freedom of speech thing going in good old blighty then?

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  5. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    Things are not too rosy in merry old England for cafe owners who display the Bible for patrons to peruse in their own establishments either.

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  6. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    But for this report I would never have guessed. The statement at the bottom of page 537 is particularly enlightening.

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  7. Scott (1,614 comments) says:

    Andrei – understand where you are coming from but I was just reading this morning that the authorities are cracking down on churches that are not Russian orthodox. So an evangelical church was bulldozed in the middle of the night while police stood around and did nothing.

    I think when a church becomes a “state” church that there can be problems. The church doesn’t want to be seen as aiding and abetting repressive governments. The church wants to be on the side of the poor.

    That’s why I believe the best situation is for the church to be separate from government. Certainly to provide moral guidance and conscience to the government. But not to be aiding and abetting oppressive government actions.

    That’s why freedom of worship is important. And under the current government it seems like they favour one church, the Russian orthodox church, and may be actively persecuting the rest. The government should stay out of church life in my view, and stick to their proper sphere. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”.

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  8. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    @ Andrei your link is to a piece about a drunk racist, nothing to do with bible display.

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  9. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    @KiwiGreg
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2041504/Police-tell-cafe-owner-Stop-showing-Bible-DVDs-arrest-you.html

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  10. David Farrar (1,812 comments) says:

    Good to see that Andrei is a fan of totalitarian governments, so long as they are on the side of his God.

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  11. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    A mate of mine grew up in Vladivostok, and has lived in NZ for the last decade. He travels back home each year, and each year has been returning with stories of a worsening environment. People can, and do just go missing, and the speed with which police investigations are shelved is inversely proportional to the missing person’s support of Putin. The message is clear: Opposition can cost you your life.

    Putin is of course, a former high ranking KBG officer and leopards don’t change their spots, no matter how fervently tolerant nations my wish otherwise.

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  12. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    It’s worth remembering that in Soviet Russia (as with everywhere else communism has occurred) communism took over from basically a medieval feudal system where the owners had everything and the owned had nothing… they’ve never known a free democratic system of government.

    Little wonder corruption, organised crime and a politician in the style of a mob boss/warlord thrive there. Survival of the most vicious.

    Comrade Andreievski should try Angola for his winter holidays, I hear they hate gays there also…

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  13. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Good to see that Andrei is a fan of totalitarian governments, so long as they are on the side of his God.

    Unable to tolerate any objections to all things gay, DPF resorts to a ridiculous strawman.

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  14. greenjacket (348 comments) says:

    Andrei: “Oh boo hoo hoo the “gays” can’t parade half naked under the Statue of Alexander Nevsky whining about their “rights” to marry each other and all the while the degenrate west sinks further into sordid squalor and decay.”

    Hey Andrei – if you feel more comfortable living in Russia where people can beat up gays with impunity, then no-one is stopping you.

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  15. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    So suddenly the left are concerned about “human rights” in the former glorious workers paradise. A shame they were not so interested as millions were killed or placed in concentration camps by their fellow socialists. A bit late now lefties.

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  16. sbk (299 comments) says:

    “millions were killed or placed in concentration camps by their fellow socialists”…only to have the true bully boys take control of all the resources and industry…hah ha leftist suckers …the one true axiom,better me than him.

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  17. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    So suddenly the left are concerned about “human rights” in the former glorious workers paradise. A shame they were not so interested as millions were killed or placed in concentration camps by their fellow socialists. A bit late now lefties.

    So you just assume anyone on the political left in NZ must be a fan of the Soviet authorities’ atrocities?

    You sir are an idiot.

    A real Blue-Ribbon, Gold-Medal-with-Bar, Best-in-Show idiot.

    You just reminded me why I set that thing up so that I wouldn’t have to look at your stupid, stupid spew on these pages. Excuse me while I find out why that’s no longer working, and fix it asap…

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  18. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Ahh, that’s better! :cool:

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  19. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    So you just assume anyone on the political left in NZ must be a fan of the Soviet authorities’ atrocities?

    No I do not. However, they are part of the same political ideology. I invite you to consider how you would feel about a Neo Nazi group, that claimed to “not be like that” and attempted to distance themselves from their history. Would you be so tolerant ? I doubt it.

    You just reminded me why I set that thing up so that I wouldn’t have to look at your stupid, stupid spew on these pages. Excuse me while I find out why that’s no longer working, and fix it asap…

    Censorship and removal of free expression is a very leftist trait. How ironic.

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  20. somewhatthoughtful (437 comments) says:

    BY your (idiotic) logic, Kea, because the National party are part of the same “ideology” as right-wing tyrants who murdered their own people like Pinochet, therefore you support state sponsored murder? Moron.

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  21. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    somewhatthoughtless, no that is not my position. I do not suggest that the average kiwi lefty supports the extremes of socialism. Though like yourself, they are quick to avoid the true history of the left and focus on right wing strawmen.

    The fact remains that ALL left wing regimes have appalling human rights records, when they have total control. I am not aware of ANY democratic right wing free market capitalist regimes with similar records. If your on the left then you are part of that movement.

    The key difference is that ALL left wing regimes have been evil and murderous. No exceptions. And do not bother using democratic Nordic countries as an exception. They are capitalist freemarket countries.

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  22. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    Good to see that Andrei is a fan of totalitarian governments, so long as they are on the side of his God.

    Election results 2012 Russian Federation
    Vladimir Putin United Russia 63.60%
    Gennady Zyuganov Communist 17.18%
    and followed by the minnows – looks like a mandate to me much as it discomforts the liberal elites

    See in the West we are surrendering our sovereignty to an internationally focused technocratic elite, the Helen Clarks, Tony Blairs, Barack Obamas as well as the unelectect bureaucrats of the UN and in the case of Europe the EU.

    And they need to wipe out the history and heritage of nations to advance their cause and power – they have to make the people feel bad about their past and what their ancestors did, to hate the faith of their fathers (these people are the intellectual heirs of Marx after all).

    So for example on the 200th anniversary of the outlawing of slavery in the British Empire, Tony Blair instead of celebrating Great Britains leadership in the feild of human rights and dignity took the occaision to apologize APOLOGIZE FFS for Britains involvment in slavery.

    And that is what these little grey men and women do to advance their grip on their subjects and sell us all down the river.

    And Vladimir Putin is not going along with this – can you imagine him apologizing for anything as he rebuilds his nation and maintains its sovereignty?

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  23. eszett (2,272 comments) says:

    I am sure he will not apologise for the election that he rigged, andrei.

    No surprise in your commitment to a totalitarian regime. I guess that is your infamous “christian live and let live philosophy”

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  24. somewhatthoughtful (437 comments) says:

    No, Kea, you’re still a moron. You’re trying to draw a (straw man, if you even know what that means…?) comparison between authoritarian left-wing regiemes and democratic right-wing ones as if somehow that proves that authoritarian right-wing regiemes never killed people. That is a blinkered view of the world if ever I’ve seen one, I’m also looking up the state murder stats for the 5th labour govt. but I can’t seem to find them….

    Again: Moron.

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  25. Bingo99 (42 comments) says:

    @Andrei… I’m not sure how to address your apparent contradictions and wilful disregard of fact when it comes to Russia. It’s a dying country, literally – the population is shrinking and life expectancy is falling, reflecting the wider decay within Russia’s government, business leaders and social institutions.

    You claim the West is surrendering to a”technocratic elite”. Maybe, but at least we’re aware of it and can openly discuss and oppose it. Whereas Russia got hoiked off to the oilgarchs and any other number of shady dealers who are in-hoc with Putin’s regime. A regime, I might add, that “won” a highly questionable election, where ballot stuffing, vote tampering and voter initmidation was not only widely reported, but well documented (see: filmed evidence).

    Meanwhile, the West is still struggling to limit arms shipments to the Assad regime so it can indisriminantly kill its citizens. Yes this charge can be laid at other arms exporters in the West, but how many of the purchasing governments are currently wiping out tens of thousands of their citizens?

    In short, Putin’s regime makes the world a worse place.

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  26. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    Let’s rain on your parade a bit Bing

    Firstly you are correct about the demographic crisis in the Russian Federation and indeed the Russian Government identified the problem more than a decade ago and has been doing things to address it and has succeeded in raising the birthrates somewhat

    And currently the birthrates in the Russian Federation are higher than most EU nations and are approximately the same as those of the formerly Great Britain and much higher than those of Germany or Holland for example

    But wait there is more – in the formerly Great Britain about 10% of the population is foreign born and these people account for fully 25% of the babies who are being born today uh oh Why is nobody talking about this? I wonder. What does it mean for the future of the formerly Great Britain? Anyway do you think that this might have something to do with the necessity to imprison those of Anglo Saxon descent who, tongue loosened by drink say out loud what must not be said when finding themselves surrounded by non Anglo Saxon Englishmen, whose whose ancestors have been in the formerly Great Britain perhaps since the sinking of the Belgrano perhaps, or quite possibly not even that long.

    AS for the Oligarches who were looting Russia in the 90s one of the first things Putin did of course was to clip their wings and make them pay their tax – some of them of course bailed taking their ill gotten loot with them to the west where they live as comfort as “dissadents”. Some tried to oppose Putin in the political arena so they could continue to loot Russia but when convicted of tax evasion are transformed into political dissadents in the minds of the usual suspects, who would normalyy loath and detest such men and all they stand for, Mikhail Khodorkovsky the most famous of these

    …..where ballot stuffing, vote tampering and voter initmidation was not only widely reported, but well documented (see: filmed evidence)

    Y’all seen the shit that went down in the 2012 American Presidential Election?

    In short, Putin’s regime makes the world a worse place.

    Who is it again ordering drone strikes in God knows how many countries now and has destablized just about the entirity of the North African Continent as well as the ME in the process? It aint Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin my friend, no it is not

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  27. Bingo99 (42 comments) says:

    Oh Andrei. Your preoccupation with the United Kingdom is both fascinating and, frankly, odd. No one claims it is a bastion of perfection. But there’s a reason millions flock there as opposed to, say, Russia.

    For starters, you assume that a growing immigrant population is inherently negative for the UK. Immigration can be challenging in terms of integration, but by and large the UK has prospered as its immigrant population contributes to the community and economy – many of whom are Russian immigrants, I might add. Has it occured to you that the UK is a desirable destination for a reason? Namely, a representative government that, for all its faults, is on the whole accountable and a defender of pretty basic human rights?

    The demographic decline in Russia is pretty straightforward – alcoholism, drugs and declining healthcare, arising from low wages, lack of employment opportunities and social malaise, generated by a public sector that is incapable of delivering the support needed, fuelled by a corrupt ruling elite who suppress economic dynamism in favour of corruption, a lack of transparency and a suppression of human rights, with sideline military endeavours to brutally wipe out opposition.

    “Hilarious”, too, that you think it’s preferable for one set of criminals to suppress the rights of another bunch of criminals, though the latter were essentially state sponsored. It’s a sad day when you have to side with one set of crims over another.

    Please enlighten me as to the widespread ballot stuffing and outright fraud of the American election. Or, alternatively, you can elaborate on how fair the Russian election was. Go on.

    Drone strikes? Yes they’re morally dubious, I agree. But we’re aware of them. We can freely debate them and the media can criticise them. Can you do that in Russia? Can you freely debate on national television the sale of weaponry by the Russians to the assad regime? Can you criticise the Kremlin until you’re blue in the face?

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  28. ChardonnayGuy (1,024 comments) says:

    Ah, so all that was autocratic and authoritarian magically vanished when Yeltsin engaged in the showdown against the military coup back in ’91, prompting the fall of the USSR and rise of the post-communist Russian Republic? And of course, Russia was a functional liberal democracy before 1917? Nope. Actually, Russia never underwent a meaningful Enlightenment as most of Western Europe did, explaining its entrenched authoritarian leadership, corrupted electoral process, repression in Chechyna, denial of meaningful media freedom and religious freedom. There’s less difference between Tsar Peter the Great, Stalin and Putin than one might think. They’re all part of the same authoritarian Russian tradition. And Andrei, if you really think homophobia is all that’s wrong with Mother Russia these days, nope. Just take a look at Amnesty International’s country report if you don’t want to take my word for it.

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  29. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    can you imagine him apologizing for anything

    Never. Putin doesn’t appear to be full of the milk of human kindness.

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  30. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    ChardonnayGuy (363) Says:
    February 11th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Well observed.

    I would just like to mention the terrible impact that socialist regimes have had on a more personal level. We have family members snitching to the authorities on their kin and friends reporting on their best mates. Even the most benign conversations may be held in official records by the authorities. People went missing often as a result. Some returned, some did not. This is a feature of all of the socialist regimes.

    This has a devastating effect on social bonds and peoples view of their fellow man. It was very apparent in Eastern Germany when they were allowed access to official files. It will take a long time for those wounds to heal.

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  31. wat dabney (3,470 comments) says:

    The nearest equivalent in NZ would be the Labour Party: a criminal conspiracy by the politically-organised to line their pockets at the expense of the rest of us.

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  32. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    Who is it again ordering drone strikes in God knows how many countries now and has destablized just about the entirity of the North African Continent as well as the ME in the process? It aint Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin my friend, no it is not

    Andrei, You can not say that. That person looks more like his dad than his mum, your racist.

    Meanwhile, the West is still struggling to limit arms shipments to the Assad regime so it can indisriminantly kill its citizens.

    Bingo99, I think you mean “can not”. Obama has used the military forces at his disposal to support the overthrow of governments by radical Islamist militants. Other Western countries have done the same. The Muslim countries have been destabilised and radical Islam is on the rise. Go check what has really happened post the Arab-Spring. Obama has, at the same time, waged war against the Muslims nations on a scale not seen since the Crusades.

    What the Muslim nations do inside their own borders is not our business. They are not dropping bombs on us and invading our lands. We are dropping bombs on them and invading theirs. Obama and the US are the biggest threat to world peace in our life time. Russia is not even on the map in that regard. I am not anti the US, in fact they are the biggest losers in this (beside the thousands Obama’s forces have killed)

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  33. wat dabney (3,470 comments) says:

    Andrei – understand where you are coming from but I was just reading this morning that the authorities are cracking down on churches that are not Russian orthodox.

    Oh dear Andrei,

    “First they came for the gays, and I did not speak out…”, eh?

    Except you did speak out, didn’t your Andrei? You spoke out to cheer the thugs on.

    Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

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  34. Kea (10,451 comments) says:

    Andrei, wat dabney has you on that one buddy.

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  35. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,787 comments) says:

    So Russia is heading in the direction of the Old Clark Regime in New Zealand. Of course Vladimir Putin would do nothing as crass as selling out his own security detail responsible for operating the Presidential motorcade.

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