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The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has revealed Thursday that repression in Russia has intensified considerably since 2012, thus reaching a new level after a decade of reformist legislations.
This was expressed by the organization in a new report in which it stressed that in recent times Russia has isolated itself from its international partners, repressed political opposition, stifled attitudes critical of the Kremlin or silenced media.
“Repression has gradually intensified since 2012 — following mass protests in the context of the parliamentary and presidential elections — and has reached its peak with the new reform laws passed after the start of the war,” the OSCE has argued in the report.
Most of the new laws passed in the last year are reportedly forcing NGOs, anti-corruption activists, journalists and human rights defenders to reduce or stop their activities or even to leave the country.
The OSCE has pointed out that although Russia’s 1993 Constitution is in line with the organization’s human rights commitments, in recent years federal and regional law enforcement agencies have come under the direct control of President Vladimir Putin.
In this regard, the body’s report stresses that more restrictive laws such as the so-called Foreign Agents Law, restrictions on freedom of expression with the new fake news law, or the regulation of the media and the Internet “do not conform to OSCE standards based on pluralism and a strong and independent civil society.”
Also, according to the body, propaganda, pressure on opinion formation, the use of criminal law for other purposes, the use of violence against social organizations and the media, the dispersal of peaceful assemblies, and the ineffective investigation of the murders of journalists “have created a climate of fear and intimidation.”