OVD-Info report on 'Political repression in Russia, 2011-2014: extrajudicial persecution '

posted 14 Apr 2015, 13:36 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Apr 2015, 13:40 ]
10 April 2015

Source: HRO.org (info)
On 10 April, 2015, OVD-Info published its report ‘Political Repression in Russia, 2011-2014: Extrajudicial Persecution’. Extrajudicial persecution involves a wide range of practices designed to disrupt the political or social activities of a specific person without subjecting them to criminal or administrative proceedings.

The practices employed during the period of analysis can be divided into the criminal and institutional.

Criminal practices include the use of unlawful means to disrupt the activities of activists: threats, destruction of property, assault and murder.

Institutional practices include the use of powers, for the same purposes, by law enforcement agencies and a very wide range of officials. For example, threats to take children out of care, the expulsion of non-Russian undesirables from the country with the help of the Federal Migration Service and FSB, putting pressure on businesses, dismissals, etc.

A preliminary classification of such practices suggests that extrajudicial persecution in Russia consists predominantly of physical attacks of varying degrees of cruelty; arson and the destruction of property; 'preventive conversations' under duress; threats; dismissals; attacks on businesses; pressure using mass media; the withdrawal of residence permits; threats to withdraw parental rights; disruptions of concerts; cyber attacks; the blocking of Internet content; restrictions on freedom of movement; and instances of electoral fraud. All of the above forms of harassment are dealt with in the report on the basis of case studies taken from the years 2011-2014.

Having analysed the collected material and identified the specific features of such repression, OVD-Info concludes that due to the lack of documentary evidence it is difficult to verify and estimate the frequency of extrajudicial persecution.

When talking about this type of repression, it makes sense to focus not so much on the number of incidents, their specific criteria, structure and agency, as on the 'activist's narrative'.

The very existence and prevalence in society of the perception that the authorities are linked to threats, beatings and other cases of extrajudicial persecution says as much about the authorities and political culture, as do actual cases of criminal and procedural political repression.

Based on this analysis, you can hazard the claim that the extrajudicial political persecution of activists has been an integral part of the Russian political landscape from 2011-2014.

This report forms the third part of research conducted by OVD-Info into modern Russian political repression, the aim of which is to give an account of how it is arranged, how widespread it is and against whom it is directed. The first report dealt with criminal prosecutions and the second, administrative prosecutions.

Read the Report in full here 

Translated by Lindsay Munford