Saturday, February 24, 2024

Moscow’s Use of Trans-National Repression has Grown and Become Unashamed Since Start of Expanded Invasion of Ukraine, Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 20 – Even more than its Soviet predecessor, the government of the Russian Federation has engaged in trans-national repressions, the term experts use to describe actions ranging from harassment to murder against its opponents abroad, Freedom House and other experts who track this plague say.

            But since the start of the expanded invasion of Ukraine, Moscow’s use of this tactic has grown with its authors becoming increasingly unashamed and making it a regular part of their system, these experts say (

            One of the reasons this has happened, they continue, is that the number of Russians who have fled abroad because of the threat of mobilization has increased dramatically. But another is that the Putin regime understands that being more public about what it is doing means that it is able to repress the majority of them by attacking only a relative few.

            According to Novaya Gazeta journalist Olga Nadezhdina, “the Kremlin’s approach is a natural extension of its conception of ‘political war.’ Its readiness to kill those it considers its enemies has been manifested in a minimum of four countries: Ukraine, Bulgaria, Germany and Great Britain,” first and foremost against Chechens but increasingly against Russians as well.

            Sergey Ross, an investigator at the Collective Action organization, says that since the beginning of the expanded war in Ukraine, attacks, from murder to simple harassment, in this category have increased dramatically, although statistics are difficult to come by. Only the US government maintains them and only for cases in the US.

            They agree that the most comprehensive listing of Moscow attacks of this kind is provided by Freedom House and point to its reports as a place to begin both for investigators and for Russians abroad who want to defend themselves against trans-national repression. (The latest Freedom House report with updates is available at

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