April 12, 2023

Screws are Tightening


Screws are Tightening
Moscow, 2019. Valery Tenevoy

In the nine months in 2022 following the start of Russia's War on Ukraine, Russian courts handed down 69 sentences under new “anti-war” articles, and defendants were sentenced to real prison terms in 20 cases. Those numbers have been met and exceeded in just the four months from December 2022 to March 2023: 65 sentences have been handed down, 27 of them with real prison terms.

Thus, we are seeing a doubling of the intensity of political repression against Russian citizens.

The length of prison sentences themselves have also increased, and new arrests are on the rise, revealing the regime's inability to cope with the continued murmur of antiwar protests. In March alone, according to OVD-Info, more than 800 persons were subjected to various forms of repression or harrassment by authorities for taking an anti-war stance, and 37 new cases were opened.

Some 40 percent of the state's cases have to do with “dissemination of deliberately false information” (Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code) and “discrediting” (Article 280.3 of the Criminal Code of the Criminal Code) the armed forces. But there is a new wrinkle. In March, in Khabarovsk, an activist of the “I/We Furgal” movement was charged under the article “incitement to treason” (Article 275 of the Criminal Code of the Criminal Code).

Victimizing Children

Another new development has put children at risk. In two cases in March, children whose parents are defendants in anti-war cases were sent to an orphanage.

In the Tula region, 13-year-old Masha Moskaleva was held in a boarding school for over three weeks, and her father is being deprived of parental rights.

In Buryatia, the 15-year-old adopted son of activist Natalya Filonova son was sent to an orphanage, and she herself has been in a pre-trial detention center since November of last year.

And then there is extrajudicial pressure, e.g. threatening or harassing individuals without starting a court case. On March 19, a presentation of books by the artist Sasha Skochilenko, who is accused of spreading fake news about the Russian Armed Forces, was disrupted at the Open Space civil club.

Sixteen-year-old Yegor Balazeykin, suspected of setting fire to two military registration and enlistment offices, was threatened by local security forces, who said they would beat and rape him, then send him to a psychiatric hospital.

On March 21, it became known that a criminal case had been opened for “repeat discrediting” against Oleg Orlov, co-chairman of the Memorial Human Rights Center.

More Repressive Laws

In addition to the 33 repressive laws enacted since the invasion began, amendments to Articles 207.3 and 280.3 of the Criminal Code came into force in March. It is now possible to prosecute persons for “discrediting” volunteers participating in the war in Ukraine, specifically, for talking about criminals recruited for the war from prisons. The maximum term of punishment under these articles was increased from three to five years, and it allows the accused to be immediately taken into custody; the statute of limitations has been increased to six years.

More Foreign Agents

In March, 13 persons and organizations were added to the register of “foreign agents” (23 were added in February), including economist Sergei Guriev, blogger Ilya Varlamov, feminist Nika Vodwood (NixelPixel), the World Wide Fund for Nature, and others. Four organizations were added to the list: Transparency International, the British Institute of Public Administration, the German organization Solidarus and the Forum of Free Peoples of Post-Russia.

Since the beginning of Russia's War on Ukraine, 27 organizations have received the status of "undesirable."

The Extremism Feint

In addition to the “anti-war” line of attack, the state has also been vigorously pursuing critics with its "anti-extremist” line. According to the Sova analytical center, Russian courts issued 48 sentences against 53 people for “aggressive public statements” in first three months of 2023, of which 21 were sentenced in March against 22 people. The reasons were calls in social networks to attack government officials and overthrow the regime, publication of photographs of Hitler, the rehabilitation of Nazism, and the demonstration of Nazi symbols.

In March, four people were convicted of “participation in extremist communities and organizations” (in total, since the beginning of 2023, 17 people have been charged with such a charge). In connection with the “rehabilitation of Nazism” case, on March 21, searches were carried out in Moscow against employees of International Memorial and at its offices (also in mid-March, volunteers and employees of the Perm Memorial were searched).

Source: RE:Russia

 

Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
Russia Rules

Russia Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955