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Attacks on Russian Activists and Journalists on the Rise, NGO Warns

Zuma / TASS

An increasing number of civil activists, politicians and journalists have been assaulted in Russia since 2015, according to a report that sounds the alarm on the normalization of state-sanctioned violence.

More than 200 attacks or threats of attack were registered in 2014-2018, the Agora human rights group said in its report on political violence published Friday. 

The report outlines a steady rise in threats and attacks from 21 in 2015, to 35 in 2016 and 77 last year. The first 8.5 months of 2018 already saw 80 threats and attacks, the report’s authors said.

“Security officials receive absolution for committing torture, and their illegal actions no longer fall under the Criminal Code when it comes to political violence to safeguard the government’s stability,” the report says.

Agora’s Apologiya Protesta, which provides assistance to protesters, defines threats as either verbal attacks or property damage, including arson attacks and storming vehicles or offices.

Moscow and St. Petersburg traditionally led the list of cities where most of the threats and attacks took place in the past four years (52 and 23 cases each), followed by the southern city of Krasnodar (15).

Seven regions in central Russia and Siberia had at least five attacks between 2014 and 2018.

“The realities of today are such that if you’ve decided to engage in civil activism, get ready for threats and attacks in addition to detentions at peaceful protests,” warns the report.

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