Russian Federation - September 2022
Journalist sentenced to historic prison term
Marking a new extreme in Russia’s crackdown on independent media, a court sentenced Russian journalist Ivan Safronov to 22 years in prison on charges of high treason on 7 September. The charges centered on Safronov’s reporting, but all material discussed in court was also available online on government and government-controlled media websites. The sentence, which is long even by contemporary Russian standards, is part of a larger crackdown on independent media and public protest during the invasion of Ukraine. As of 28 October, OVD-Info recorded 19,335 arrests for protests against the war and ‘partial mobilization’ in Russia.
Sources: CEPA, Proekt, New York Times, OVD-Info
Regional and municipal elections rife with irregularities
On 11 September Russia held its first elections (municipal, regional, and gubernatorial) since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began. Opposition candidates were subject to pre-election pressure, and hundreds of violations, including pre-printed ballots, were uncovered by the few domestic monitors able to participate.
Russia “partially” mobilizes and “annexes” parts of Ukraine
In the week of 21 September President Vladimir Putin announced illegal and illegitimate annexation referendums in parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine, a “partial” mobilization of Russian military reserves in support of the war on Ukraine, and then oversaw the conduct of sham referendums themselves. The annexation severely infringes on the rights and continued security of the Ukrainian citizens living in the area in question. The mobilization has been marked by haphazard administration and resulted in more than 200,000 Russian men fleeing the country to avoid conscription.
*Given that referendums were held in illegally annexed parts of Ukraine, it is important to note that the negative impact on democracy in Ukraine is a result of Russian action.
Sources: CSIS, BBC, International IDEA