EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019: Russia updates

According to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World during 2019 the situation of human rights and democracy in Russia has continued to degrade.

The report outlined the following findings:
  • Russian civil society remains pro-active in spite of negative trends.
  • Politically motivated judicial cases are meant to silence independent voices and set an example for critical voices (e.g. Yuri Dimitriev).
  • High-profile murders of political figures remain under-investigated and the perpetrators remain unaccountable.
  • Following Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, the human rights situation there deteriorated significantly, including denial of: freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of religion or belief. Russian authorities persecute those who oppose the annexation including Crimea’s ethnic and religious minorities, namely Crimean Tatars.
  • There was a new wave of detentions and torture of gay people in Chechnya in January 2019, leading to the deaths of two of them.
  • The ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses is a grave attack on religious freedom.
  • The scope of the existing legislation on ‘foreign agents’ was extended in 2019 to include individual journalists and bloggers, limiting further the space for free and independent access to information.
  • In the run up to the September 2019 local and regional elections, the use of measures against the opposition, as well as the mass detentions and excessive sentencing of peaceful protesters seriously undermined pluralistic democracy.