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Half of Putin's Decrees Classified in 2023 – Mediazona

Vladimir Putin. Gavriil Grigorov / TASS

One in two decrees signed by President Vladimir Putin in 2023 was classified, the independent news website Mediazona reported Tuesday, marking a new annual record for the number of "secret" decrees made during the Russian leader's time in power. 

Presidential decrees in Russia are numbered sequentially at the start of each year, and Mediazona said it calculated that 49.5% of Putin's decrees in 2023 were classified by counting the number of missing documents from publicly available records.

The outlet also noted that the number of decrees issued last year by Putin remained virtually unchanged, totaling 997, up by just one from the previous year.

In 2022, when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, the share of classified presidential decrees reached 45%, according to Mediazona. 

The previous record of 47% classified presidential decrees in a single year was set at the height of the Second Chechen War in 2001.

Presidential decrees in Russia can be classified for a number of reasons, such as when rewarding troops or pardoning convicted criminals who agree to fight in Ukraine, Medizona wrote.

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