Human rights in Russia


Human rights in Russia

The rights and liberties of the citizens of the Russian Federation are granted by Chapter 2 of the Constitution adopted in 1993.cite book
title= The Constitution of the Russian Federation
url= http://www.russianembassy.org/RUSSIA/CONSTIT/
language= English translation
publisher= Embassy of the Russian Federation
location= Washington, D.C.
accessdate= 2008-03-16
] Russia is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has also ratified a number of other international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (fully) and the European Convention of Human Rights (with reservations). These international law instruments take precedence over national legislation according to Chapter 1, Article 15 of the Constitution.

After his visits to the Russian Federation in 2004, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the first Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, said that "the fledgling Russian democracy is still, of course, far from perfect, but its existence and its successes cannot be denied."cite web
url=https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=846655
title=Report by Mr. Alvaro Gil-Robles on his Visits to the Russian Federation
publisher=Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights
date=2005-04-20
accessdate=2008-03-16
]

In recent years Vladimir Lukin, current Ombudsman of the Russian Federation, has invariably characterized the human rights situation in Russia as unsatisfactory. However, according to Lukin, this is not discouraging, because building a lawful state and civil society in such a complex country as Russia is a hard and long process.cite web
url=http://ombudsman.gov.ru/doc/ezdoc/06text_eng.doc
title=The Report of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation for the Year 2006
last= Lukin |first= Vladimir |format=MS Word |year=2007 |accessdate=2008-03-16
[http://ombudsman.gov.ru/doc/ezdoc/06.shtml Russian language version] .]

However, Andrey Illarionov, former senior economic policy adviser to President Vladimir Putin, now working for the Cato Institute, claimed in January 2007 that freedom in Russia has deteriorated dramatically since 2000 and that the year 2006 "was an extraordinary one in a sense of destruction of all types and all elements of freedom." [ [http://www.cceia.org/resources/transcripts/5422.html Freedom in the World 2007: Is Freedom Under Threat?] Peter Ackerman, Andrei Illarionov, Jennifer L. Windsor, Joanne J. Myers, January 302007.]

Freedom House considered Russia partially free with scores of 5 on both political rights and civil liberties (1 being most free, 7 least free) in 2002-2004 and not free with 6 on political rights and 5 on civil liberties in 2005-2007 according to the Freedom in the World reports. [ [http://freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=15 Freedom in the World:] The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties.] In 2006 The Economist published a democracy rating, putting Russia at 102nd place among 167 countries and defining it as a "hybrid regime with a trend towards curtailment of media and other civil liberties." [http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/DEMOCRACY_INDEX_2007_v3.pdf Index of democracy by Economist Intelligence Unit] ] Russia occupies 120th place of 157 countries in the Index of Economic Freedom, composed by Heritage Foundation.Fact|date=June 2007

Andrey Illarionov claimed that the rule of law has ceased to exist in Russia and that litigants are now forced to apply not to the Russian courts, but to the European Court of Human Rights. [ [http://www.cceia.org/resources/transcripts/5422.html Freedom in the World 2007: Is Freedom Under Threat?] Peter Ackerman, Andrei Illarionov, Jennifer L. Windsor, Joanne J. Myers, January 302007.] The court has indeed become overwhelmed with cases from Russia. As of June 12007, 22.5% of its pending cases were directed against the Russian Federation. [ [http://www.echr.coe.int/NR/rdonlyres/D240083A-5243-422F-9C5C-DC6A3173246F/0/Pending_casesGraph.pdf ECHR. Pending cases. 01.06.2007] ] In 2006 there were 151 admissible applications against Russia (out of 1634 for all the countries), while in 2005 - 110 (of 1036), in 2004 - 64 (of 830), in 2003 - 15 (of 753), in 2002 - 12 (of 578). [ [http://www.echr.coe.int/NR/rdonlyres/69564084-9825-430B-9150-A9137DD22737/0/Survey_2006.pdf ECHR. Survey of activities. 2006] ] [ [http://www.echr.coe.int/NR/rdonlyres/461D3893-D3B7-4ED9-AC59-8BD9CA328E14/0/SurveyofActivities2004.pdf ECHR. Survey of activities. 2004] ] [ [http://www.echr.coe.int/NR/rdonlyres/4753F3E8-3AD0-42C5-B294-0F2A68507FC0/0/2005_SURVEY__COURT_.pdf ECHR. Survey of activities. 2005] ]

According to international human rights organizations as well as domestic press, violations of human rights in Russiacite book
url= http://www.amnesty.org/russia/pdfs/justice-report-eng.pdf
title= Rough Justice: The law and human rights in the Russian Federation
format= PDF |year= 2003 |isbn= 0-86210-338-X
publisher= Amnesty International
accessdate= 2008-03-16
] include widespread and systematic torture of persons in custody by police,cite web
url=http://www.amnesty.org/russia/torture.html
title=Torture and ill-treatment
publisher=Amnesty International |accessdate=2008-03-16
] [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/11/13/russia14557.htm UN Committee against Torture Must Get Commitments From Russia to Stop Torture] ] dedovshchina in Russian Army, neglect and cruelty in Russian orphanages, [http://hrw.org/reports98/russia2/ Cruelty and neglect in Russian orphanages] ] violations of children's rights.cite web
url=http://www.amnesty.org/russia/children.html
title=Children's rights
publisher=Amnesty International |accessdate=2008-03-16
] According to Amnesty International there is discrimination, racism, and murders of members of ethnic minorities.cite web
url=http://www.amnesty.org/russia/minorities.html |title=Ethnic minorities under attack
publisher=Amnesty International |accessdate=2008-03-16
] cite book
url=http://www.amnesty.org/russia/pdfs/racism_report.pdf
title='Dokumenty!': Discrimination on grounds of race in the Russian Federation
format= PDF |year= 2003 |isbn= 0-86210-322-3
publisher= Amnesty International |accessdate= 2008-03-16
] Since 1992 at least 47 journalists have been killed.cite web
url=http://www.cpj.org/deadly/
title=Journalists killed: Statisistics and Background
publisher=Committee to Protect Journalists
accessdate=2008-03-16
(As of January 15, 2008).]

The situation in the Russian republic of Chechnya, ravaged by war, has been especially worrying. During the Second Chechen War, started in September 1999, there were summary executions and "disappearances" of civilians in Chechnya. [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/10/13/russia14384.htm Russia Condemned for Chechnya Killings] ] cite web |url=http://www.amnesty.org/russia/chechnya.html |title=Chechnya – human rights under attack |publisher=Amnesty International |accessdate=2008-03-16] [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/07/27/russia13864.htm Russia Condemned for 'Disappearance' of Chechen] ] According to the ombudsman of the Chechen Republic, Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, as of March 2007 the most complex and painful problem is finding over 2700 abducted and forcefully held citizens; analysis of the complaints of citizens of Chechnya shows that social problems ever more often come to the foreground; two years ago complaints mostly concerned violations of the right to life. [http://www.strana.ru/stories/02/01/22/2386/308150.html Interview with Nurdi Nukhazhiyev by Khamzat Chitigov] for Strana.Ru.]

The Federal Law of 10 January2006 changed the orders affecting registration and operation of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Russia. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/12/08/opinion/edgvosdev.php Russia's NGOs: It's not so simple] by N. K. Gvozdev] cite news
url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/19/AR2006101900831.html
title=Russia Halts Activities of Many Groups From Abroad
first=Peter |last=Finn
work=The Washington Post
date=2006-10-19 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] The Russian-Chechen Friendship Society was closed. [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/10/13/russia14391.htm Court Orders Closure of Russian-Chechen Friendship Society] ]

There are cases of attacks on demonstrators organized by local authorities. [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/10/18/russia14418.htm Supporters of Anna Politkovskaia Attacked at Ingushetia Demonstration] ] High concern was caused by murders of opposition lawmakers and journalists Anna Politkovskaya,cite news
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5416218.stm
title=Chechen war reporter found dead
work=BBC News
date=2006-10-07 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] Yuri Schekochikhin,cite news
url=http://2006.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2006/82n/n82n-s05.shtml
title=Agent unknown
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2006-10-30 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] Galina Starovoitova,cite web
url=http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engEUR460401998
title=Amnesty International condemns the political murder of Russian human rights advocate Galina Starovoitova
publisher=Amnesty International
accessdate=2008-03-16
] Sergei Yushenkov,cite news
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2957823.stm
title=Yushenkov: A Russian idealist
work=BBC News
date=2003-04-17 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] as well as imprisonments of human rights defenders, scientists, and journalists like Trepashkin,cite web
url=http://eng.trepashkin.ru/
title=Trepashkin case
accessdate=2008-03-16
] Igor Sutyagin,cite web
url=http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/russia/4.htm
publisher=Human Rights Watch
work=Human Rights Situation in Chechnya
title=Case study: Igor Sutiagin
accessdate=2008-03-16
] and Valentin Danilov.cite web
url=http://shr.aaas.org/aaashran/alert.php?a_id=290
title=Physicist Found Guilty
work=AAAS Human Rights Action Network
publisher=American Association for the Advancement of Science
date=2004-11-12 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

Judicial and penal system

The judiciary is a subject to manipulation by political authorities according to Amnesty International.cite book
url= http://www.amnesty.org/russia/pdfs/russia_report.pdf
title= The Russian Federation: Denial of Justice
format= PDF |year= 2002 |isbn= 0-86210-318-5
publisher= Amnesty International
accessdate= 2008-03-16
] According to Constitution of Russia, top judges are [appointed] by the Federation Council, following nomination by the President of Russia. [cite book
title= The Constitution of the Russian Federation
chapter= Chapter 7. Judiciary, Article 128
chapterurl= http://www.democracy.ru/english/library/laws/constitution_eng/page6.html#P540_70966
language= English translation
publisher= Democracy.Ru
accessdate= 2008-03-16
] Anna Politkovskaya described in her book Putin's Russia stories of judges who did not follow "orders from the above" and were assaulted or removed from their positions. [http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1843430509 Politkovskaya, Anna (2004) "Putin's Russia"] ] Former judge Olga Kudeshkina wrote an open letter in 2005 in which she criticized the chairman of the Moscow city court O. Egorova for "recommending" judges to make "right" decisions" which allegedly caused more than 80 judges in Moscow to retire in the period from 2002 to 2005. cite news
url=http://2005.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2005/18n/n18n-s42.shtml
title=Open letter to President Putin
first=Olga |last=Kudeshkina
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2005-03-09 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

In the 1990s, Russia's prison system was widely reported by media and human rights groups as troubled. There were large case backlogs and trial delays, resulting in lengthy pre-trial detention. Prison conditions were viewed as well below international standards.Fact|date=February 2007 Tuberculosis was a serious, pervasive problem. Human rights groups estimated that about 11,000 inmates and prison detainees die annually, most because of overcrowding, disease, and lack of medical care.Fact|date=February 2007 A media report dated 2006 points to a campaign of prison reform that has resulted in apparent improvements in conditions. [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article670530.ece?token=null&offset=0 After the Gulag: conjugal visits, computers...and a hint of violence - Times Online ] ] The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has been working to reform Russia's prisons since 1997, in concert with reform efforts by the national government. [ [http://www.sdc-seco.ru/en/Home/Projects/Governance/Prison_Reform_Project SDC in Russia - Prison Reform Project ] ]

The rule of law has made rather limited inroads in the criminal justice since the Soviet time, especially in the deep provinces. [Pomorski, Stanislaw (2001) [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0967-067X(01)00017-4 Justice in Siberia: a case study of a lower criminal court in the city of Krasnoyarsk] . "Communist and Post-Communist Studies" 34.4, 447-478.] The courts generally follow the non-acquittals policy; in 2004 acquittals constituted only 0.7 percent of all judgments. Judges are dependent on administrators, bidding prosecutorial offices in turn. The work of public prosecutors varies from poor to dismal. Lawyers are mostly court appointed and low paid. There was a rapid deterioration of the situation characterized by abuse of the criminal process, harassment and persecution of defense bar members in politically sensitive cases in recent years. The principles of adversariness and equality of the parties to criminal proceedings are not observed. [Pomorski, Stanislaw (2006). [http://www.springerlink.com/content/w76x3474r7856754/fulltext.pdf Modern Russian criminal procedure: The adversarial principle and guilty plea] . "Criminal Law Forum" 17.2, 129-148.]

In 1996, President Boris Yeltsin pronounced a moratorium on the death penalty in Russia. However, the Russian government still violates many promises it made upon entering the Council of Europe. Citizens who appeal to European Court of Human Rights are often prosecuted by Russian authorities, according to the allegations of Politkovskayacite news
url=http://2006.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2006/48n/n48n-s01.shtml
title=It is forbidden even to speak about the Strasbourg Court
first=Anna |last=Politkovskaya
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2006-06-29 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

Torture and abuse

The Constitution of Russia forbids arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment. Chapter2, Article 21 of the constitution states, "No one may be subjected to torture, violence or any other harsh or humiliating treatment or punishment."cite web
url=http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR46/014/2006
title=Russian Federation Preliminary briefing to the UN Committee against Torture
publisher=Amnesty International
date=2006-04-01 |accessdate= 2008-03-16
] [cite book
title= The Constitution of the Russian Federation
chapter= Chapter 2. Judiciary, Article 21
chapterurl= http://www.democracy.ru/english/library/laws/constitution_eng/page2.html#P75_9894
language= English translation
publisher= Democracy.Ru
accessdate= 2008-03-16
] However Russian police are regularly observed practicing torture - including beatings, electric shocks, rape, asphyxiation - in interrogating arrested suspects. A popular method is called Phone Call to Putin.cite web |url=http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR46/004/1997 |title=Torture in Russia |date=1997-04-03 |publisher=Amnesty International|accessdate= 2008-03-16] In 2000, human rights Ombudsman Oleg Mironov estimated that 50% of prisoners with whom he spoke claimed to have been tortured. Amnesty International reported that Russian military forces in Chechnya rape and torture local women with electric shocks, when electric wires are connected to the straps of their bra on their chest.

In the most extreme cases, hundreds of innocent people from the street were arbitrary arrested, beaten, tortured, and raped by special police forces. Such incidents took place not only in Chechnya, but also in Russian towns of Blagoveshensk, Bezetsk, Nefteyugansk, and others.cite news
url=http://2005.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2005/01n/n01n-s00.shtml
title=The entire city was beaten
first=Marat |last=Hayrullin
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2005-01-10 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] cite news
url=http://2005.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2005/19n/n19n-s00.shtml
title=A profession: to mop up the Motherland
first=Marat |last=Hayrullin
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2005-03-17 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] cite news
url=http://2005.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2005/30n/n30n-s15.shtml
title=Welcome to Fairytale
first=Marat |last=Hayrullin
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2005-04-25 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

On 2007 Radio Svoboda ("Radio Freedom", part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) reported that an unofficial movement "Russia the Beaten" was created in Moscow by human rights activists and journalists who "suffered from beatings in numerous Russian cities". [cite web
url=http://www.svoboda.org/ll/soc/0705/ll.073005-1.asp
title=«Россия избитая» требует отставки министра внутренних дел
publisher=Radio Svoboda
language=Russian |date=2005-07-30 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] Torture and humiliation are also widespread in Russian army (see also "dedovshchina"). [http://hrw.org/reports/2004/russia1004/6.htm The Consequences of Dedovshchina] , Human Rights Watch report, 2004 ] Many young men are killed or commit suicide every year because of it.cite news
url=http://2006.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2006/51n/n51n-s11.shtml
title=Terrible Dedovshchina in General Staff
first=Vjacheslav |last=Ismailov
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2005-04-25 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] It is reported that some young male conscripts are forced to work as prostitutes for "outside clients". [ [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/03/09d16e9f-0374-4ca2-84f6-88b9b6f2d0e1.html Conscript's Prostitution Claims Shed Light On Hazing] Radio Free Europe March 21, 2007] Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia works to protect rights of young soldiers.

Crime

In the 1990s, the growth of organized crime ("see" Russian mafia and Russian oligarchs) and the fragmentation of law enforcement agencies in Russia coincided with a sharp rise in violence against business figures, administrative and state officials, and other public figures. [Tanya Frisby, "The Rise of Organised Crime in Russia: Its Roots and Social Significance," "Europe-Asia Studies", 50, 1, 1998, p. 35.] President Vladimir Putin inherited these problems when he took office, and during his election campaign in 2000, the new president won popular support by stressing the need to restore law and order and to bring the rule of law to Russia as the only way of restoring confidence in the country's economy. [cite news
url=http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0312/p06s02-woeu.html
work=The Christian Science Monitor
title=A vote for democracy, Putin-style
first=Scott |last=Peterson
date=2004-03-12 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

According to data by Demoscope Weekly, the Russian homicide rate showed a rise from the level of 15 murders per 100,000 people in 1991, to 32.5 in 1994. Then it fell to 22.5 in 1998, followed by a rise to a maximum rate of 30.5 in 2002, and then a fall to 20 murders per 100,000 people in 2006. [ [http://demoscope.ru/weekly/2007/0281/barom03.php Russian demographic barometer] by Ekaterina Shcherbakova at [http://demoscope.ru Demoscope Weekly] , issue of 19 March - 7 April 2007.] [ [http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita World statistics of murders per capita] , by NationMaster.Com]

With a prison population rate of 532 per 100,000 population, Russia is tied with Bermuda, the United Kingdom and Belarus and second only to the United States (2005 data). [ [http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/rel/icps/world-prison-population-list-2005.pdf World Prison Population List 2005] ]

Criminology studies show that for the first five years since 2000 compared with the average for 1992 to 1999, the rate of robberies is up by 38.2% and the rate of drug-related crimes is higher by 71.7%. [http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/12/22/006.html Big Costs and Little Security] - by Vladislav Inozemtsev, Moscow Times, December 22, 2006. ]

Politically-motivated prosecutions

Espionage cases

During the Soviet period, scientists encountered substantial administrative barriers when working with foreign colleagues Fact|date=July 2008. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, which coincided with a decrease in government funding of science, many scientists broadened their contacts with foreign laboratories. A point to note is that administrative norms of secrecy in Russia are still more strict than those accepted in the West. [cite web
url=http://lenta.ru/articles/2006/03/24/spy/
publisher= Rambler
work= Lenta.Ru
author=Alexei Napylov
title=Утраченные секреты горения
language= Russian
quote=According to 'Independent military survey', in the U.S. only 2-3% of scientific information considering national defence is secret, while in Russia only 2-3% of that is not secret.
accessdate=2008-03-16
]

There were several cases when the FSB accused scientists of alleged revealing state secretes to foreign nationals, while the defendants and their colleagues claimed that the information or technology was based on already published and declassified sources. Even though the cases often garnered public reaction, the cases themselves were in most cases held in closed chambers, with no press coverage or public oversight.

The scientists in question are:
* Igor Sutyagin (sentenced to 15 years).
* Physicist Valentin Danilov (sentenced to 14 years).
* Physical chemist Oleg Korobeinichev (held under a written pledge not to leave city from 2006. [http://www.mosnews.com/news/2006/03/23/korobeinichev.shtml Russian Scientist Charged With Disclosing State Secret] ] In May 2007 the case against him was closed by FSB for "absence of body of crime". In July 2007 prosecutors publicly apologized to Korobeinichev [ [http://www.online-translator.com/url/tran_url.asp?lang=en&url=http%3A%2F%2Flenta.ru%2Fnews%2F2007%2F07%2F31%2Fkorobeinichev%2F&direction=re&template=General&cp1=NO&cp2=NO&autotranslate=on&transliterate=on&psubmit2.x=50&psubmit2.y=23 Prosecutors of Novosibirsk refused to make public apologies to the scientist] , July 2007, computer translation from Russian] for "the image of spy").
* Academician Oskar Kaibyshev (given a 6-year suspended sentence and a fine of $130,000). [http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/08/09/001.html Oskar Kaibyshev convicted] ] [ [http://www.concatenation.org/news/news9~06.html Science Fiction News] , September 2006]

Ecologist and journalist Alexander Nikitin, who worked with the Bellona Foundation, was likewise accused of espionage. He published material exposing hazards posed by the Russian Navy's nuclear fleet. He was acquitted in 1999 after spending several years in prison (his case was sent for re-investigation 13 times while he remained in prison). Other cases of prosecution are the cases of investigative journalist and ecologist Grigory Pasko, sentenced to three years' imprisonment and later released under a general amnesty, [http://www.index.org.ru/mayday/pasko_a.html Grigory Pasko site] ] [http://193.71.199.52/en/international/russia/envirorights/pasko/24748.html The Pasko case] ] Vladimir Petrenko who described dangers posed by military chemical warfare stockpiles and was held in pretrial confinement for seven months, and Nikolay Shchur, chairman of the Snezhinskiy Ecological Fund who was held in pretrial confinement for six months. [http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/world/russia/fsb-cases.htm Counterintelligence Cases] - by GlobalSecurity.org]

Other cases

Viktor Orekhov, a former KGB captain who assisted Soviet dissidents and was sentenced to eight years of prison in the Soviet era, was sentenced in 1995 to three years of prison for alleged possession of a pistol and magazines. After one year he was released and left the country. [ [http://www.evartist.narod.ru/text1/81.htm#з_10 Service, part III] by V. Voronov (in Russian)]

Vil Mirzayanov was prosecuted for a 1992 article in which he has claimed that Russia was working on chemical weapons of mass destruction, but won the case and later emigrated to the United States [ [http://sutyagin.ru/pressa/031117.html Details of national counterintelligence] (in Russian) by Vladimir Voronov.]

Vladimir Kazantsev who disclosed illegal purchases of eavesdropping devices from foreign firms was arrested in August 1995, and released at the end of the year, however the case was not closed. [ [http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/07/28/011.html Researchers Throw Up Their Arms] ] Investigator Mikhail Trepashkin was sentenced in May 2004 to four years of prison.

Journalist Vladimir Rakhmankov in January 9 2006 was sentenced for alleged defamation of the President in his article "Putin as phallic symbol of Russia" to fine of 20,000 roubles (about [http://www.cbr.ru/currency_base/DD_print.asp?date_req1=27/12/2005&date_req2=14/01/2006&VAL_NM_RQ=R01235 695 USD] ). [ [http://www.cursiv.ru/news/ News of site] cursiv.ru (in Russian)] [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/6/DF7B2E15-2F9F-4A8B-AAF0-A7622F0D33F7.html Russia: 'Phallic' Case Threatens Internet Freedom] ]

Political dissidents from the former Soviet republics, such as authoritarian Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, are often arrested by the FSB and extradited to these countries for prosecution, despite the protests from international human rights organizations.cite news
url=http://2006.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2006/51n/n51n-s12.shtml
title=ЧАЙКА ЗАЛЕТИТ В ЕВРОПЕЙСКИЙ СУД?
first=Irina |last=Borogan
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2006-10-07 |accessdate = 2008-03-16
] cite news
url=http://2006.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2006/82n/n82n-s11.shtml
title=FSB serves to Islam
first=Aleksander |last=Podrabinek
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2006-10-30 |accessdate = 2008-03-16
] The special security services of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaidjan also kidnap people in Russian territory, with the implicit approval of the FSB.cite news
url=http://2006.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2006/14n/n14n-s18.shtml
title=Special services of former Soviet republics in Russian territory
first=Andrei |last=Soldatov
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2006-02-27 |accessdate = 2008-03-16
]

Many people were also illegally detained to prevent them from demonstrating during the G8 Summit in 2006.cite news
url=http://2006.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2006/54n/n54n-s34.shtml
title=Surveying all oppositioners in the city of Saratov
first=Nadezda |last=Andreevav
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2006-07-20 |accessdate = 2008-03-16
]

uspicious killings

Some Russian opposition lawmakers and investigative journalists are suspected to be assassinated while investigating corruption and alleged crimes conducted by state authorities or FSB: Sergei Yushenkov, ‎Yuri Shchekochikhin, Alexander Litvinenko, Galina Starovoitova, Anna Politkovskaya, Paul Klebnikov.

ituation in Chechnya

The Russian Government's policies in Chechnya are a cause for international concern. It has been reported that Russian military forces have abducted, tortured, and killed numerous civilians in Chechnya, [cite web
url=http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/chechnya/unchr-chechnya-02.htm
publisher=Human Rights Watch
work=Human Rights Situation in Chechnya
title=Abuses by Russian forces
date=2003-04-07 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] but Chechen separatists have also committed abuses, [cite web
url=http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/chechnya/unchr-chechnya-03.htm
publisher=Human Rights Watch
work=Human Rights Situation in Chechnya
title=Abuses by Chechen forces
date=2003-04-07 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] such as abducting people for ransom. [ [http://www.hrvc.net/news2004/6-1-04.html Five people abducted in Chechnya] ] Human rights groups are very critical of cases of people disappearing in the custody of Russian officials. Systematic illegal arrests and torture conducted by the armed forces under the command of Ramzan Kadyrov and Federal Ministry of Interior have also been reported. [cite web
url=http://hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/chechnya1106/
publisher=Human Rights Watch
title=Widespread Torture in the Chechen Republic
date=2006-11-13 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] There are reports about repressions, information blockade, and atmosphere of fear and despair in Chechnya. [cite news
url=http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n13/neis01_.html
work=London Review of Books
title=Diary |first=Anna |last=Neistat
date=2006-07-06 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

As claimed in 2005 [http://www.memo.ru/hr/hotpoints/N-Caucas/atmstr/ report] by Memorial, there is a system of "conveyor of violence" in Chechen Republic (as well as in neighbouring Ingushetiya) when a person suspected in crimes connected with activity of separatists squads, is unlawfully detained by members of security agencies, and then disappears. After a while part of detainees is found in centers of preliminary detention (while some allegedly disappear forever), and then he is tortured to confess to a crime or/and to slander somebody else. According to Memorial, psychological pressure is also in use. [ [http://www.memo.ru/hr/hotpoints/N-Caucas/atmstr/G5.htm Fabrication of criminal cases (at example of the case of Vladovskikh)] , chapter of 2005 report by Memorial.] Known Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya compared this system with Gulag and claimed the number of several hundred cases. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/31/AR2006033101584.html Stalinism Forever - by Anna Politkovskaya - The Washington Post] ]

A number of journalists were killed in Chechnya or supposedly for reporting on the conflict. [http://todayintheuk.blogspot.com/ Today In The UK - Journalists killed in Chechnya] ] List of names includes less and more famous: Cynthia Elbaum, Vladimir Zhitarenko, Nina Yefimova, Jochen Piest, [http://www.rorypecktrust.org/benefic/kerimov.htm Farkhad Kerimov] , [http://www.cpj.org/attacks95/att95europe.html Natalya Alyakina] , [http://www.cpj.org/deadly/1995_list.html Shamkhan Kagirov] , Viktor Pimenov, Nadezhda Chaikova, Supian Ependiyev, Ramzan Mezhidov and Shamil Gigayev, [http://www.library.cjes.ru/online/?a=con&b_id=1&c_id=267 Vladimir Yatsina] , [http://www.cpj.org/news/2001/killed_release_01.html Aleksandr Yefremov] , Roddy Scott, Paul Klebnikov, [http://www.jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=409&issue_id=3394&article_id=2369984 Magomedzagid Varisov] , and Anna Politkovskaya. [cite news
url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,1890838,00.html
title=Obituary: Anna Politkovskaya
first=David |last=Hearst
work=The Guardian
date=2006-10-09 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

Governmental organizations

Efforts to institutionalize official human rights bodies have been mixed. In 1996, human rights activist Sergey Kovalev resigned as chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission to protest the government's record, particularly the war in Chechnya. Parliament in 1997 passed a law establishing a "human rights ombudsman," a position that is provided for in Russia's constitution and is required of members of the Council of Europe, to which Russia was admitted in February 1996. The Duma finally selected Duma deputy Oleg Mironov in May 1998. A member of the Communist Party, Mironov resigned from both the Party and the Duma after the vote, citing the law's stipulation that the Ombudsman be nonpartisan. Because of his party affiliation, and because Mironov had no evident expertise in the field of human rights, his appointment was widely criticized at the time by human rights activists. International human rights groups operate freely in Russia, although the government has hindered the movements and access to information of some individuals investigating the war in Chechnya.Fact|date=February 2007

Some German politicians see things differently; Gerhard Schröder, the former German prime minister, explained to all the Western states that Putin is a "flawless democrat".cite web
url=http://www.kontakt.erstebankgroup.net/report/stories/Issue02_07_Was+soll+ich+fuerchten_dt+en/en
title=What should I be afraid of?
first=Jewgenija
last=Albaz
coauthors= Interviewed by Eduard Steiner
work=Kontakt |publisher=Erste Bank Group
date=2007-04 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

Non-governmental organizations

The lower house of the Russian parliament passed a bill by 370-18 requiring local branches of foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to re-register as Russian organizations subject to Russian jurisdiction, and thus stricter financial and legal restrictions. The bill gives Russian officials oversight of local finances and activities. The bill has been highly criticized by Human Rights Watch, Memorial organization, and the [http://www.indem.ru/en/index.shtml INDEM Foundation] for its possible effects on international monitoring of the status of human rights in Russia. [cite news
url= http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/23/international/europe/23cnd-russia.html
title= Russia Moves to Increase Control Over Charities and Other Groups
first= Steven Lee |last= Myers
work=The New York Times
date=2005-11-23 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] In October 2006 the activities of many foreign non-governmental organizations were suspended using this law; officials said that "the suspensions resulted simply from the failure of private groups to meet the law's requirements, not from a political decision on the part of the state. The groups would be allowed to resume work once their registrations are completed." Another crackdown followed in 2007. [cite news |url=http://www.independent.co.uk/news/europe/crackdown-on-ngos-pushes-600-charities-out-of-russia-462525.html
title=Crackdown on NGOs pushes 600 charities out of Russia
first=Alastair |last=Gee
work=The Independent
date=2007-08-22 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

Freedom of religion

The Constitution of Russian Federation provides for freedom of religion and the equality of all religions before the law as well as the separation of church and state. As Vladimir Lukin had stressed in his 2005 Ombudsman's report, "the Russian state has achieved significant progress in the observance of religious freedom and lawful activity of religious associations, overcoming a heritage of totalitarianism, domination of a single ideology and party dictatorship".cite web
url=http://ombudsman.gov.ru/doc/ezdoc/05text_eng.doc
title=The Report of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation for the Year 2005
last= Lukin |first= Vladimir |format=MS Word |year=2006 |accessdate=2008-03-16
[http://ombudsman.gov.ru/doc/ezdoc/05.shtml Russian language version] .]

Russia is a multi-ethnic country with a large majority of Orthodox Christians (61%), high proportion of Muslims (12%), 1% of Jews, about 1% of Catholics, and so on. According to Alvaro Gil-Robles, relations between the representatives of the different religious communities are generally harmonious.

Gil-Robles emphasized the amount of state support provided by both federal and regional authorities for the different religious communities, and stressed the example of the Republic of Tatarstan as "veritable cultural and religious melting pot". Along with that, Catholics are not always heeded as well as other religions by federal and local authorities.

Vladimir Lukin noted in 2005, that citizens of Russia rarely experience violation of freedom of conscience (guaranteed by the article 28 of the Constitution). So, the Commissioner's Office annually accepts from 200 to 250 complaints dealing with the violation of this right, usually from groups of worshipers, who represent various confessions: Orthodox (but not belonging to the Moscow patriarchy), Old-believers, Muslim, Protestant and others.

The different problem arises with concern of citizens' right to association (article 30 of the Constitution). As Vladimir Lukin noted, although quantity of the registered religious organizations constantly grows (22144 in 2005), an increasing number of religious organization fail to achieve legal recognition: e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and others.

The influx of missionaries over the past several years has led to pressure by groups in Russia, specifically nationalists and the Russian Orthodox Church, to limit the activities of these "nontraditional" religious groups.Fact|date=August 2007 In response, the Duma passed a new, restrictive, and potentially discriminatory law in October 1997. The law is very complex, with many ambiguous and contradictory provisions. The law's most controversial provisions separates religious "groups" and "organizations" and introduces a 15-year rule, which allows groups that have existed for 15 years or longer to obtain accredited status. According to Russian priest and dissident Gleb Yakunin, new religion law "heavily favors the Russian Orthodox Church at the expense of all other religions, including Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism.", and it is "a step backward in Russia's process of democratization". [cite web
title=Father Gleb Yakunin: Religion Law Is a Step Backward for Russia
url=http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/rellawyak.shtml
work=FSUMonitor
publisher=Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union
accessdate=2008-03-16
]

The claim to guarantee "the exclusion of any legal, administrative and fiscal discrimination against so-called non-traditional confessions" was adopted by PACE in June 2005. [http://assembly.coe.int//main.asp?link=http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc05/EDOC10568.htm Resolution 1455] of PACE, June 2005.]

Anna Politkovskaya described cases of prosecution and even murders of Muslims by Russia's law enforcement bodies at the North Caucasus.cite news
url=http://2005.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2005/18n/n18n-s10.shtml
title=One can pray. But not too often
first=Anna |last=Politkovskaya
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2005-03-14 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] cite news
url=http://2006.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2006/51n/n51n-s29.shtml
title=A man who was killed 'just in case'
first=Anna |last=Politkovskaya
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2006-07-10 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] However, there are plenty of Muslims in higher government, Duma, and business. [ [http://www.kremlin.ru www.kremlin.ru] , [http://www.gov.ru www.gov.ru] , [http://www.rspp.ru www.rspp.ru] ]

Press freedom

:"See also Media freedom in Russia"
Reporters Without Borders put Russia at 147th place in the World Press Freedom Index (from a list of 168 countries). [http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=639 Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006] ] According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 47 journalists have been killed in Russia for their professional activity, since 1992 (as of January 15, 2008). Thirty were killed during President Boris Yeltsin's reign, and the rest were killed under the current president Vladimir Putin. [cite web
url=http://www.cpj.org/attacks07/europe07/rus07.html
work= Attacks on the Press in 2007 |title=Russia
publisher=Committee to Protect Journalists
accessdate=2008-03-16
quote=Fourteen journalists have been slain in direct relation to their work during Putin’s tenure, making Russia the world's third-deadliest nation for the press.
] According to the Glasnost Defence Foundation, there were 8 cases of suspicious deaths of journalists in 2007, as well as 75 assaults on journalists, and 11 attacks on editorial offices. [cite web
url=http://www.gdf.ru/digest/digest/digest363e.shtml
publisher=Glasnost Defense Foundation
title=Digest No. 363
date=2007-12-27 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] In 2006, the figures were 9 deaths, 69 assaults, and 12 attacks on offices. [cite web
url=http://www.gdf.ru/digest/digest/digest312e.shtml
publisher=Glasnost Defense Foundation
title=Digest No. 312
date=2007-01-09 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] In 2005, the list of all cases included 7 deaths, 63 assaults, 12 attacks on editorial offices, 23 incidents of censorship, 42 criminal prosecutions, 11 illegal layoffs, 47 cases of detention by militsiya, 382 lawsuits, 233 cases of obstruction, 23 closings of editorial offices, 10 evictions, 28 confiscations of printed production, 23 cases of stopping broadcasting, 38 refusals to distribute or print production, 25 acts of intimidation, and 344 other violations of Russian journalist's rights. [cite web
url=http://www.gdf.ru/digest/digest/digest261e.shtml
publisher=Glasnost Defense Foundation
title=Digest No. 261
date=2006-01-10 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, famous for her criticisms of Russia's actions in Chechnya, and the pro-Kremlin Chechya government, was assassinated in Moscow. Former KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky believes that the murders of writers Yuri Shchekochikhin (author of " [http://www.yabloko.ru/Publ/Raby/rab.html Slaves of KGB] "), Anna Politkovskaya, and Aleksander Litvinenko show that the FSB has returned to the practice of political assassinations, [cite web
url=http://www.svobodanews.ru/Transcript/2006/11/20/20061120204213113.html
title=Бывший резидент КГБ Олег Гордиевский не сомневается в причастности к отравлению Литвиненко российских спецслужб
publisher=Radio Svoboda
language=Russian |date=2006-11-20 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] practised in the past by the Thirteenth KGB Department.Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin, "The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West", Gardners Books (2000), ISBN 0-14-028487-7]

Opposition journalist Yevgenia Albats in interview with Eduard Steiner has claimed: "Today the directors of the television channels and the newspapers are invited every Thursday into the Kremlin office of the deputy head of administration, Vladislav Surkov to learn what news should be presented, and where. Journalists are bought with enormous salaries."

Freedom of assembly

:"See Freedom of assembly in Russia"

Ethnic minorities

:"See also: Ethnic groups in RussiaRussian Federation is a multi-national state with over 170 ethnic groups designated as nationalities, population of these groups varying enormously, from millions in case of e.g. Russians and Tatars to under ten thousand in the case of Nenets and Samis. Among 85 subjects which constitute the Russian Federation, there are 21 national republics (meant to be home to a specific ethnic minority), 5 autonomous okrugs (usually with substantial or predominant ethnic minority) and an autonomous oblast. However, as Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Gil-Robles noted in 2004 report, whether or not the region in "national", all the citizens have equal rights and no one is privileged or discriminated on account of their ethnic affiliation.

As Gil-Robles noted, although co-operation and good relations are still generally the rule in most of regions, tensions do arise, whose origins vary. Their sources include problems related to peoples that suffered Stalinists repressions, social and economic problems provoking tensions between different communities, and the situation in Chechnya and the associated terrorist attacks with resulting hostility towards people from the Caucasus and Central Asia, which takes the form of discrimination and overt racism towards the groups in question.

Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe [The Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe builds its work in Russia on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, European document, ratified by Russia in 1998.] in May 2007 issued concern that Russia still hasn't adopted comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, and the existing anti-discrimination provisions are seldom used in spite of reported cases of discrimination. [http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/minorities/2._framework_convention_(monitoring)/2._monitoring_mechanism/6._resolutions_of_the_committee_of_ministers/1._country-specific_resolutions/2._second_cycle/PDF_2nd_CM_Res_RussianFederation_eng.pdf Resolution on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities] , Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe, May 2, 2007]

As Gil-Robles has noted in 2004, minorities are generally represented on local and regional authorities, and participate actively in public affairs. Gil-Robles emphasized the degree of co-operation and understanding between the various nationalities living in the same area, as well as the role of regional and local authorities in ethnic dialogue and development. Along with that, Committee of Ministers in 2007 noted certain setbacks in minority participation in public life, including the abrogation of federal provisions for quotas for indigenous people in regional legislatures.

Although the Constitution of the Russian Federation recognises Russian as the official language, the individual republics may declare one or more official languages. Most of subjects have at least two — Russian and the language of the "eponymous" nationality. As Ministers noted in 2007, there is a lively minority language scene in most subjects of the federation, with more than 1,350 newspapers and magazines, 300 TV channels and 250 radio stations in over 50 minority languages. Moreover, new legislation allows usage of minority languages in federal radio and TV broadcasting.

In 2007, there were 6,260 schools which provided teaching in altogether 38 minority languages, and over 75 minority languages were taught as a discipline in 10,404 schools. Ministers of Council of Europe has noted efforts to improve the supply of minority language textbooks and teachers, as well as greater availability of minority language teaching. However, as Ministers has noted, there remain shortcomings in the access to education of persons belonging to certain minorities.

There are more than 2,000 national minorities' public assotiations and 560 national cultural autonomies, however the Committee of Ministers has noted that in many regions amount of state support for the preservation and development of minority cultures is still inadequate. Alvaro Gil-Robles noted in 2004, that there's a significant difference between "eponymous" ethnic groups and nationalities without their own national territory, as resources of the last are relatively limited.

Russia is also home of a particular category of minority peoples, i.e. small indigenous peoples of the North and Far East, who maintain very traditional lifestyles, often in a hazardous climatic environment, while adapting to the modern world. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian Federation passed legislation to protect rights of small northern indigenous peoples. Gil-Robles has noted agreements between indigenous representatives and oil companies, which are to compensate potential damages on peoples habitats due to oil exploration. As Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe noted in 2007, despite some initiatives for development, the social and economic situation of numerically small indigenous peoples was affected by recent legislative amendments at the federal level, removing some positive measures as regards their access to land and other natural resources.

Alvaro Gil-Robles noted in 2004, that like many European countries, Russian Federation is also host to many foreigners, who when concentrated in a particular area make up so-called new minorities, who experience troubles e.g. with medical treatment due to absence of registration. Those who are registered encounter other integration problems because of language barriers.

Committee of Ministers has noted in 2007 that despite efforts to improve access to residency registration and citizenship for national minorities, still those measures haven't regularised the situation of all the persons concerned.

Foreigners and migrants

On October 2002 the Russian Federation has introduced new legislation on legal rights of foreigners, designed to control immigration and clarify foreigners' rights. Despite this legal achievement, as of 2004, numerous foreign communities in Russia faced difficulties in practice (according to Alvaro Gil-Robles).

As of 2007, almost 8 million migrants are officially registered in Russia [http://www.fms.gov.ru/press/publications/news_detail.php?ID=9792] , while some 5-7 million migrants do not have legal status. [http://www.fms.gov.ru/press/publications/news_detail.php?ID=9420]

Most of foreigners arriving in Russia are seeking for job. In many cases they have no preliminary contracts or other agreements with a local employer. A typical problem is the illegal status of many foreigners (i.e., they are not registered and have no identity papers), what deprives them of any social assistance (as of 2004) and often leads to their exploitation by the employer. Despite that, foreigner workers still benefit, what with seeming reluctance of regional authorities to solve the problem forms a sort of "modus vivendi". As Gil-Robles noted, it's easy to imagine that illegal status of many foreigners creates grounds for corruption. Illegal immigrants, even if they have spent several years in Russia may be arrested at any moment and placed in detention centres for illegal immigrants for further expulsion. As of 2004, living conditions in detention centers are very bad, and expulsion process lacks of funding, what may extend detention of immigrants for months or even years. Along with that, Gil-Robles detected a firm political commitment to find a satisfactory solution among authorities he spoke with.

There's a special case of former Soviet citizens. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, 1991 Nationality Law recognised all former Soviet citizens permanently resident in the Russian Federation as Russian citizens. However, people born in Russia who weren't on the Russian territory when the law came into force, as well as some people born in the Soviet Union who lived in Russia but weren't formally domiciled there weren't granted Russian citizenship. When at December 31, 2003 former Soviet passports became invalid, those people overnight become foreigners, although many of them considered Russia their home. The majority were even deprived of retirement benefits and medical assistance. Their morale has also been seriously affected since they feel rejected.

Another special case are Meskhetian Turks. Victims of both Stalin deportation from South Georgia and 1989 pogroms in the Fergana valley in Uzbekistan, some of them were eventually dispersed in Russia. While in most regions of Russia Meskhetian Turks were automatically granted Russian citizenship, in Krasnodar Krai some 15,000 Meskhetian Turks were deprived of any legal status since 1991. Unfortunately, even measures taken by Alvaro Gil-Robles in 2004 didn't make Krasnodar authorities to change their position; Vladimir Lukin in the 2005 report called it "campaign initiated by local authorities against certain ethnic groups". The way out for a significant number of Meskhetian Turks in the Krasnodar Krai became resettlement in the United States. [ [http://www.churchworldservice.org/Immigration/archives/2005/09/74.html Meskhetian Turk resettlement: the view from Krasnodar Krai] , September 19, 2005] As Vladimir Lukin noted in 2005, there was similar problem with 5.5 thousand Yazidis who before the disintegration of the USSR moved to the Krasnodar Krai from Armenia. Only one thousand of them were granted citizenship, the others could not be legalized.

In 2006 Russian Federation after initiative proposed by Vladimir Putin adopted legislation which in order to "protect interests of native population of Russia" provided significant restrictions on presence of foreigners on Russian wholesale and retail markets. [cite web
url=http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/speeches/2006/10/05/1156_type82913_112091.shtml
title=Opening Address at the Session of the Council for the Implementation of Priority National Projects and Demographic Policy
first=Vladimir |last=Putin
publisher=President of Russia |date= 2006-10-05 |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20061012235857/http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/speeches/2006/10/05/1156_type82913_112091.shtml
archivedate=2006-10-12
quote=I charge the heads of the regions of the Russian Federation to take additional measures to improve trade in the wholesale and retail markets with a view to protect the interests of Russian producers and population, the native Russian population.
[http://www.kremlin.ru/appears/2006/10/05/1910_type63374type63378type82634_112066.shtml Russian language version] .
]

There was a short campaign of frequently arbitrary and illegal detention and expulsion of ethnic Georgians on charges of visa violations and a crackdown on Georgian-owned or Georgian-themed businesses and organizations in 2006, as a part of 2006 Georgian-Russian espionage controversy. [ [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/09/30/russia16977.htm Russia Targets Georgians for Expulsion] . The Human Rights Watch. October 1, 2007.]

"Newsweek" reported that " [In 2005] some 300,000 people were fined for immigration violations in Moscow alone. [In 2006] , according to Civil Assistance, numbers are many times higher." [cite news
url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/44421
work=Newsweek
title=State of Hate
first=Owen |last=Matthews |coauthors=Anna Nemtsova
date=2006-11-06 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

Racism and xenophobia

As Alvaro Gil-Robles noted in 2004, the main communities targeted by xenophobia are the Jewish community, groups originating from the Caucasus, migrants and foreigners, and sexual minorities.

In his 2006 report, Vladimir Lukin has noted rise of nationalistic and xenophobic sentiments in Russia, as well as more frequent cases of violence and mass riots on the grounds of racial, nationalistic or religious intolerance. [http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-11-14-voa35.cfm Xenophobia in Russia Becoming Dangerously Common] ]

Human rights activists point out that 44 people were murdered and close to 500 assaulted on racial grounds in 2006. [cite web
url=http://www.svobodanews.ru/Article/2006/12/26/20061226200516160.html
title=Год нетерпимости: 500 пострадавших, 44 убитых
publisher=Radio Svoboda
language=Russian |date=2006-12-26 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] . According to official sources, there are 150 "extremist groups" with over 5000 members in Russia.cite web
url=http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR46/018/2006
title=Russian Federation: Racism and xenophobia rife in Russian society
publisher=Amnesty International
date=2006-05-04 |accessdate=2008-03-16
]

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has noted in 2007, that high-level representatives of the federal administration have publicly endorsed the fight against racism and intolerance, and a number of programmes have been adopted to implement these objectives. This has been accompanied by an increase in the number of convictions aimed at inciting national, racial or religious hatred. However, there has been an alarming increase in the number of racially motivated violent assaults in the Russian Federation in four years, yet many law enforcement officials still often appear reluctant to acknowledge racial or nationalist motivation in these crimes. Hate speech has become more common in the media and in political discourse. The situation of persons originating in the Northern Caucasus is particularly disturbing.

Vladimir Lukin noted that inactivity of the law enforcement bodies may cause severe consequences, like September 2006 inter-ethnic riot in town Kondopoga of the Republic of Karelia. Lukin noted provocative role of the so-called Movement Against Illegal Immigration. As the result of the Kondopoga events, all heads of the "enforcement bloc" of the republic were fired from their positions, several criminal cases were opened.

According to nationwide opinion poll carried by VCIOM in 2006, 44% of respondents consider Russia "a common house of many nations" where all must have equal rights, 36% think that "Russians should have more rights since they constitute the majority of the population", 15% think "Russia must be the state of Russian people". However the question is also what exactly does the term "Russian" denote. For 39% of respondents Russians are all who grew and were brought up in Russia's traditions; for 23% Russians are those who works for the good of Russia; 15% respondents think that only Russians by blood may be called Russians; for 12% Russians are all for who Russian language is native, for 7% Russians are adepts of Russian Christian Orthodox tradition. [ [http://wciom.ru/novosti-analitika/press-vypuski/press-vypusk/single/3772.html "Russia for Russians or for all?"] (in Russian), press release by VCIOM]

According to statistics published by Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, in 2007 in Russia foreign citizens and people without citizenship has committed 50,1 thousand crimes, while the number of crimes committed against this social group was 15985. [http://www.mvd.ru/stats/10000033/10000147/5194/]

LGBT rights

:"See LGBT rights in Russia"

Psychiatric institutions

There are numerous cases when people "inconvenient" for Russian authorities are imprisoned in psychiatric institutions during the last years. [cite news |url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/13/wasylum113.xml |title=Labelled mad for daring to criticise the Kremlin |work=The Daily Telegraph |author=Adrian Blomfield |date=2007-08-14 |accessdate=2008-03-16] [http://fairuse.100webcustomers.com/fuj/latimes47.htm Speak Out? Are You Crazy?] - by Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times, May 30, 2006 ] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/29/AR2006092901592_pf.html In Russia, Psychiatry Is Again a Tool Against Dissent] - by Peter Finn, Washington Post, September 30, 2006] [http://www.aapsonline.org/nod/newsofday339.php Psychiatry used as a tool against dissent] - by Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, October 2, 2006 ]

Little has changed in the Moscow Serbsky Institute where many prominent Soviet dissidents had been incarcerated after having been diagnosed with sluggishly progressing schizophrenia. This Institute conducts more than 2,500 court-ordered evaluations per year. When war criminal Yuri Budanov was tested there in 2002, the panel conducting the inquiry was led by Tamara Pechernikova, who had condemned the poet Natalya Gorbanevskaya in the past. Budanov was found not guilty by reason of "temporary insanity". After public outrage, he was found sane by another panel that included Georgi Morozov, the former Serbsky director who had declared many dissidents insane in the 1970s and 1980s. [http://www.chechentimes.org/en/comments/?id=10108 Psychiatry’s painful past resurfaces] - from Washington Post 2002] Serbsky Institute also made an expertise of mass poisoning of hundreds of Chechen school children by an unknown chemical substance of strong and prolonged action, which rendered them completely incapable for many months.cite news
url=http://2006.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2006/92n/n92n-s10.shtml
title=A mysterious illness moves along the roads and makes frequent stops in schools
first=Marina |last=Litvinovich
work=Novaya Gazeta |language=Russian
date=2006-12-04 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] The panel found that the disease was caused simply by "psycho-emotional tension". [http://www.jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=416&issue_id=3672 What made Chechen schoolchildren ill?] - The Jamestown Foundation, March 30, 2006 ] [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/03/19/MNGVJHOKJE1.DTL War-related stress suspected in sick Chechen girls] - by Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2006]

Disabled and children's rights

Currently, the estimated orphan population in Russia is 2 million and the street children is 4 million. [http://www.spcm.org/Journal/spip.php?article4786 Children of Russia - abused, abandoned, forgotten] - report by Le Journal Chretien ] According to an earlier Human Rights Watch report in 1998, "Russian children are abandoned to the state at a rate of 113,000 a year for the past two years, up dramatically from 67,286 in 1992." "Of a total of more than 600,000 children classified as being “without parental care,” as many as one-third reside in institutions, while the rest are placed with a variety of guardians." "From the moment the state assumes their care, orphans in Russia—of whom 95 percent still have a living parent—are exposed to shocking levels of cruelty and neglect." Once officially labelled as retarded, Russian orphans are "warehoused for life in psychoneurological internaty. In addition to receiving little to no education in such internaty, these orphans may be restrained in cloth sacks, tethered by a limb to furniture, denied stimulation, and sometimes left to lie half-naked in their own filth. Bedridden children aged five to seventeen are confined to understaffed lying-down rooms as in the baby houses, and in some cases are neglected to the point of death." Life and death of disabled children in the State institutions was described by writer Ruben Galiego. Ruben Galliego and Marian Schwartz (Translator) "White on Black" Harcourt 2006 ISBN 0-15-101227-X ] [ [http://www.vor.ru/culture/cultarch278_eng.html#2 Ruben Galliego wins Booker Russia Prize] . ] Still, the recent adoption law made it more difficult to adopt Russian children from abroad.

Human trafficking

The end of communism and collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia has contributed to an increase in human trafficking, with the majority of victims being women forced into prostitution. [cite web
title=Trafficking in human beings
url=http://www.coe.int/T/E/Com/Files/Themes/trafficking/
publisher=Council of Europe
accessdate=2008-03-16
] [cite news
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3979725.stm
title=A modern slave's brutal odyssey
work=BBC News
date=2004-11-03 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] Russia is a country of origin for persons, primarily women and children, trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Russia is also a destination and transit country for persons trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation from regional and neighbouring countries into Russia and beyond. Russia accounted for one-quarter of the 1,235 identified victims reported in 2003 trafficked to Germany. The Russian government has shown some commitment to combat trafficking but has been criticised for failing to develop effective measures in law enforcement and victim protection. [cite web
url=http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2005/46616.htm
title=Trafficking in Persons Report
publisher=U.S. Department of State
date=2005-06-03 |accessdate=2008-03-16
] [cite web
url= http://www.catwinternational.org/factbook/Russia.php
publisher=Coalition Against Trafficking of Women
title=Russia
work=The Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation
accessdate=2008-03-16
]

References

ee also

*Human rights in the Soviet Union
*Human rights in Europe
*Politics of Russia
*International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
*Moscow Helsinki Group
*International human rights instruments

External links

* [http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Europe-and-Central-Asia/Russian-Federation Report 2007: Russian Federation] - report by Amnesty International.
* [http://ombudsman.gov.ru/ Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation] - Office of Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin. English translations of some reports are in the [http://ombudsman.gov.ru/doc/ezdoc/ index] .
* [https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=846655 Report by Mr. Alvaro Gil-Robles on his Visits to the Russian Federation] - Published by the Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights, 2005-04-20.
* [http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/RUIndex.aspx OHCHR: Russian Federation] - from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
* [http://www.unrussia.ru/en/ U.N. Team in the Russian Federation]
* [http://www.unrussia.ru/en/News.aspx?id=211 Statement by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights] - the statement of Louise Arbour after her visit to Russia, including Chechnya, 2006-02-24.
* [http://www.pytkam.net/ Committee Against Torture] - in Nizhny Novgorod.
* [http://hrw.org/doc?t=europe&c=russia Human Rights Watch: Russia]
* [http://hrw.org/reports/2005/russia0605/ Human Rights Watch: Positively Abandoned] - Discrimination against HIV-Positive Mothers and their Children, June 2005.
* [http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2006/issue1/0106p27.htm HIV/AIDS and Human Rights in Russia] - U.N. Chronicle, 2006.
* [http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/212/ IFEX: Russia] - from the International Freedom of Expression Exchange.
* [http://www.freemedia.at/cms/ipi/watchlist_detail.html?country=KW0078 IPI Watch List: Russia] - from the International Press Institute.
* [http://www.fsumonitor.com/ FSUMonitor.com] - published by the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union.
* [http://www.rferl.org/reports/FullReport.aspx?report=574 RFE/RL: Russia Report] - published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
* [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/ Human Rights Country Reports] - published by the U.S. Department of State
* [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/ International Religious Freedom Reports] - published by the U.S. Department of State
* [http://www.hrvc.net/ Human Rights Violations in Chechnya] - last updated in 2006.
* [http://www.therussiasite.org/soc/hr/hr.html Human Rights in Russia] - links.

Further reading

* Emma Gilligan. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=QlJNt_10xxAC Defending human rights in Russia: Sergei Kovalyov, dissident and human rights commissioner, 1969-2003] ." RoutledgeCurzon. 2004. ISBN 0-415-32369-X.
* Pamela A. Jordan. "Defending Rights in Russia: Lawyers, the State, And Legal Reform in the Post-Soviet Era." University of British Columbia Press. 2006. ISBN 0-7748-1163-3.
* Andrew Meier. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=JSN2xljp9P8C Black Earth: A Journey through Russia After the Fall] ." Norton. 2005. ISBN 0-393-32641-1.
* Anna Politkovskaya. "Putin's Russia." Harvill. 2004. ISBN 0-805-07930-0.
* Archana Pyati. " [http://www.humanrightsfirst.com/defenders/pdf/new-dis-russia-021605.pdf The New Dissidents: Human Rights Defenders and Counterterrorism in Russia] ." Human Rights First. 2005. ISBN 0-9753150-0-5. [http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/defenders/hrd_russia/hrd_russia_02.htm About the author] .
* David Satter. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=i-t6jle71ToC Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State] ." Yale University Press. 2003. ISBN 0-300-09892-8.
* Jonathan Weiler. " [http://www.rienner.com/viewbook.cfm?BOOKID=1405 Human Rights in Russia: A Darker Side of Reform] ". Lynne Rienner Publishers 2004. ISBN 1-58826-279-0.

FSB, terror

* Yevgenia Albats. "The State Within a State: The KGB and its Hold on Russia - Past, Present, and Future." Farrar Straus Giroux. 1994. ISBN 0-374-18104-7.
* Yuri Felshtinsky and Alexander Litvinenko. "Blowing up Russia: Terror from within." S.P.I. Books. 2002. ISBN 1-56171-938-2.

Chechnya

* Khassan Baiev and Ruth Daniloff. "The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire." Walker. 2004. ISBN 0-8027-1404-8.
* Anna Politkovskaya. "A Dirty War: A Russian reporter in Chechnya." Harvill. 2001. ISBN 1-860-46897-7.
* Anna Politkovskaya. " [http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/16135.ctl A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya] ." University of Chicago Press. 2003. ISBN 0-226-67432-0.


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