One Big Thing: Russia Silences and Discredits Its Critics at Home and in United States
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What is it?
- The Russian government is one of the world’s worst human rights abusers at home and abroad. Each year, dissidents and members of the opposition are beaten, jailed, tortured and killed for standing up to their government.
- Vladimir Putin regularly uses governmental mechanisms as well as a network of criminal thugs to silence dissidents of his regime. Popular Kremlin techniques used to dispose of Putin’s opponents are unwarranted police raids, assassination by poison and targeting opposition leaders’ family members.
- In January 2020, Vladimir Putin announced a constitutional change that will allow him to maintain his grip on power after he leaves the presidency in 2024. This extension of his power indicates the continuation of Russia’s appalling human rights regime.
Why is it important?
- Western governments have punished Russia for its human rights record, particularly when it’s nationals are targeted on foreign soil. The U.S., U.K and others have imposed sanctions, visa bans and expelled diplomats.
- The U.S., EU and other international reactions are usually the only way victims and the victims’ families receive justice. The actual culprits are rarely held to account. The Russian regime goes out of its way to protect its own –blaming human rights defenders or opposition leaders for the crimes committed by its own security services and thugs.
- Russia also goes out of its way to spread disinformation in Russia, but increasingly in the U.S. via its news outlet RT and Radio Sputnik.
- Opposition politicians are technically allowed under the Russian constitution, but they face a variety of inhibiting challenges to their work and everyday lives. The Kremlin regularly uses its security services to spy and prevent their work.
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