CPJ, others urge John Kerry to raise rights in Russia

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. 

Kerry’s visit to Russia coincides with the one-year anniversary of the May 6 anti-government rally on Bolotnaya Ploshchad (Swamp Square) in Moscow, which was forcibly dispersed by police and whose aftermath was marked by sustained, politically motivated harassment, prosecution, and imprisonment of opposition activists, civil rights defenders, and other dissenters.

In the months following President Vladimir Putin’s third inauguration, the Russian Parliament adopted a number of laws restricting fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly; in addition, authorities raided non-governmental organizations that have received grants from abroad. Those raids–made possible by the hastily adopted “foreign agents” law–have stifled organizations as crucial to Russia’s democracy as the human rights center Memorial and the Moscow Helsinki Group.

To read the entire letter calling on Kerry to put Russia’s crackdown on human rights high on his meeting agenda during this week’s visit to Moscow, click here