How serious is the suppression of opposition in Russia? – News 24

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What good is a human rights lawyer in today’s Russia? Pavel Chikov continues to fight against the odds. He says a less gruesome outcome is better than a more dire result, and is committed to doing everything he can for his clients.

“Look, we are not talking about justice in terms of free democratic justice. “We’re not talking about justice like in the US or anywhere else,” Chikov said. Fox News.

“But we still managed to win cases, we were able to reduce penalties and consequences. And sometimes they even drop cases, he says.

Chikov has been at work for a while and says restrictions on freedom of speech and the press are nothing new. What is new is a situation of “military censorship”, with brutal new laws providing up to fifteen years in prison for sharing what the government would consider “fake news” about the military. But in terms of the number and severity of sanctions against anti-war sentiment, it is not as bad as one might think so far. Although 18,000 protesters have been detained since the start of the war, only 300 have been fined. Only 21 criminal cases were opened.

“We are not talking about a big wave of criminal prosecutions right now. But the problem is that even a few cases have a chilling effect on everyone, especially when it comes to journalists.”

A woman walks past a mural depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, March 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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He points out that Alexander Nevzorov, a veteran journalist and broadcaster, faces a ten-year prison sentence for covering the attack on the Mariupol maternity hospital. Fox News interviewed Nevzorov last month. He was abroad when the lawsuit was filed against him.

On the other hand, it is a little surprising that state television employee Marina Ovsyannikova, who jumped on the set during the live broadcast, did not receive a harsher condemnation with an anti-war banner. “I can say that the huge public outcry that started immediately saved him from worse consequences. So the government, you know, decided to give him a small fine. Also, they have small children. »

“But they decided not to press charges against him, which is surprising. But he stayed in Russia. So that’s something, you know, a bold move,” Chikov says.

You hear the stories of people being arrested before the police have a chance to read the signs or hear what they are saying, the situation is very turbulent. I asked Chikov which last arrest seemed the most infamous to him.

“A well-known story concerns an English teacher in Penza, one of the Russian cities. His students asked him why they could no longer go to sports competitions abroad, and he explained why. And this discussion was recorded by one of the students, then forwarded to the police and a criminal investigation was opened against the teacher,” he said.

A man reacts standing near his dilapidated house after the Russian bombardment in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Monday, March 21, 2022.  At least eight people died in the attack.  (AP Photo/ (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

A man reacts standing near his dilapidated house after the Russian bombardment in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Monday, March 21, 2022. At least eight people died in the attack. (AP Photo/ (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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School is for athletes. According to Chikov, the screaming student is fifteen years old. There have been many cases of neighbors going to neighbors’ homes. But Chikov adds that this is not a new phenomenon and did not happen by chance. She met him on cases he had worked on before.

“We’re seeing how these criminal cases started because someone tipped someone off,” he said. He claims that often cat pigeons, including plants in offices, are funded and supported by the government.

Cases of wakefulness have also been reported. Dmitry Muratov, Nobel Peace Prize winner and editor of Novaya Gazeta, whose publication was suspended due to threats from state censorship, was attacked with acid red paint on a train on Thursday. “Here’s one for our guys,” said the unknown assailant, according to Muratov.

Finally, what were the effects of President Putin’s threat to cleanse society of “scumbags and traitors”? Chikin also says that this is nothing entirely new, but “the rhetoric is changing. Yes, it’s getting more military. It’s getting more and more intimidating, menacing, you know. we, civil society in Russia.”