Since President Putin’s election, Russian authorities have intensified their assault on basic freedoms and undermined rule of law. The assault takes many forms. New bills restrict the activities of non-governmental organizations, criminalize public actions “committed to insult the religious feelings of believers” and outlaw activism by LGBTI individuals and their supporters.
New controls over the media are being used to smear government critics and bolster the government’s policy line. Authorities use secret detention facilities and torture, especially in the North Caucuses region, to silence critics and deny them access to counsel. These measures are widespread and systematic.
This crackdown,should be a matter of grave concern to the United States. Moscow’s lack of respect for human rights speaks volumes about its reliability as a potential partner to the United States and Europe in addressing pressing international security concerns, from the conflict in Syria to the danger of nuclear proliferation.