Sunday, February 18, 2024

Kremlin’s Judicial Repressions Still Relatively Limited in Number but That Could Easily Change, Rogov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 15 – Russian activists say that the Kremlin is repressing some people in order to intimidate others, that the number of political prosecutions is not yet high, but that there is enormous room for growth with the only limiting factor being Putin’s decision rather than any limits in the repressive capacity of the Russian state as such.

            Kirill Rogov, founder of Re:Russia, observes that “repressions in Russia are not massive but already systemic and planned,” with “around a thousand new political and semi-political criminal prosecutions each year” (

            But, he continues, “in general, there are no restrictions on growth in terms of organizational capabilities such as the number of agents, investigators, prison places and so on; and it is entirely possible to increase this number to several thousand a year” without radical changes in the system.

            At present, Rogov says, what limitations there are on this growth “come from above,” from Kremlin leaders who have concluded that the current number of cases is “sufficient” and represents a kind of “’smart’ repression.” But there is no reason to think that “this understanding will not change in the future.”

            It is sometimes suggested that the Kremlin because its laws are so elastic can bring charges against any resident of the Russian Federation. That is likely the case, but the Important Stories portal suggests that some are particularly at risk (

            The portal lists four such groups – 20 million Russians who oppose the war, three million who are part of the LGBT population, ten million who support Navalny, and 40 million who use social media hosted by Western provides. These total 73 million or just over half of the population of the country.


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