Unpunished Violence Against Protesters New ‘Political Norm’ in Putin’s Russia, Report Says
September 21 – Over the last four years, Russian human rights activists say,
there have been at least 209 attacks on activists, politicians and journalists,
few of which have ever been investigated by the police let alone measures taken
against the perpetrators. As a result, such “political force has become the
norm” in Russia today.
largest number of such cases has been registered in Moscow (52), with St.
Petersburg (23) and Krasnodar kray (15) following its lead. Since 2015, the
experts say, the number of such attacks and threats has risen 400 percent. “As
a rule,” Morozova says, “law enforcement agencies do not investigate these
crimes” unless they are directed at pro-Kremlin people.
of Aleksey Navalny and Mikhail Kasyanov are the most frequent targets of such
violence. Since December 2016, Navalny supporters have been attacked by persons
unknown 50 times and threatened 45 times more. Most of the weapons used are
knives or clubs rather than guns.
trend is important, the authors of the report says, because “force against
activists in Russia has become the norm,” something that is possible because of
the support spoken and unspoken the attackers get from well-placed officials
and politicians.Various informal groups
with links to the powers that be, like Putin’s “Cossacks,” are heavily
fact that such people can use violence without threat of punishment is creating
a dangerous situation not only for activists but for Russia as a whole by
creating a class of people who feel themselves beyond the law and thus capable
of acting in increasingly ugly and violent ways.