In advance of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to
Moscow this week, Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the
Committee to Protect Journalists sent him a letter to call
attention to the ongoing crackdown
in Russia on non-governmental organizations--including those that support
press freedom and freedom of expression.
In the year since Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian
presidency, independent media, civil society groups, and opposition activists
have been under
attack. But as he has done in the past, Putin recently
asserted that his government is not engaged in political repression.
New York, April 15, 2013--Prosecutors in Abakan,
capital of the Republic of Khakassia in southern Siberia, should drop the criminal
defamation charges against an online journalist, the Committee to Protect
Journalists said today. News accounts are reporting that after four months of
investigation, Mikhail Afanasyev's case is moving to court, although no date
has yet been set.
Mikhail Beketov's recovery, in photos by CPJ and news agencies.
Beketov, the former crusading editor of the independent newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda in the Moscow suburb,
Khimki, died this afternoon at a Moscow hospital. A choking
episode during lunch led to heart failure, Elena Kostyuchenko, Beketov's friend
and a reporter for the newspaper Novaya
Gazeta, told CPJ by phone from Moscow. Really, though, Beketov's life was
taken by the thugs who
smashed his skull, broke his legs, pulverized his hands, and left him to die in
the freezing cold nearly five years ago. He defied them, surviving that November 2008 night and valiantly rallying in the ensuing years, but the once robust and fearless editor was
never the same.
Recent statements by Vladimir Putin and
Russian Member of Parliament (MP) Aleksey Mitrofanov, as well as raids on human
rights organizations, signal that the threat hanging over civil society and
freedom of expression in Russia has become reality. Since Putin returned to
presidential office in May, the Kremlin has passed a series
of restrictive laws and provisions, but until recently authorities had not
acted upon many of them.
Every second crime committed in Russia goes unsolved,
President Vladimir Putin said Friday, addressing a conference of the nation's
high-ranking Interior Ministry officials. "The low crime-detection rate and
impunity for the criminals do not serve justice but undermine public trust in
law enforcement agencies, as well as the state per se," Putin said, according
to his website.
The trial of Dmitry
Pavlyuchenkov, a former police lieutenant colonel and a key suspect in the
2006 murder of prominent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya,
started at Moscow City Court today under presiding Judge Aleksandr Zamashnyuk.
York, December 6, 2012--Authorities should immediately investigate Wednesday's
murder of a journalist in Russia's volatile North Caucasus and ensure the
perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said
Two unidentified men shot Kazbek Gekkiyev, 28, in the head three times while he was returning home from work with his friend at around 9 p.m. in Nalchik, the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, according to local and international news reports. The gunmen asked Gekkiyev his name before they shot him and then fled in a getaway vehicle, according to the state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta. The journalist's friend was unharmed, news reports said.
Record-high temperatures swept most of Europe this summer, but
in Moscow the weather, much like the political climate, was chilly. I spent three
months in the capital at the invitation of the Russian Union of Journalists, and witnessed
how Vladimir Putin's third term in office kicked off with the passage of
restrictive laws, harassment and prosecution of dissent, the jailing of an
irreverent punk-rock band, and death threats by a top-ranking official against
a prominent editor.