What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now? "With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed."
Concerns for the safety of Russian lgbt activist Nikolai Alexeyev. "After passing passport control at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, Mr Alekseev’s boarding pass was cancelled and his luggage unloaded from the plane upon a request from Russian authorities. He was taken into custody around 19:00 MSD, and has not yet been released." Text messages stating that he was withdrawing his case before the ECHR and seeking asylum in Belarus are believed to be fake or coerced under torture.
"Without the participation of Microsoft, these criminal cases against human rights defenders and journalists would simply not be able to occur"
Russia Uses Microsoft to Suppress Dissent - Adding to its long-running series on corruption and abuse in post-Communist Russia, the New York Times has reported on Russian authorities using the pretext of software piracy to seize computers from journalists and political dissidents critical of current policies. In a surprising twist, lawyers representing Microsoft have been found working with Russian police, despite reporters and NGOs providing evidence of legitimate software purchases. An official response to the NYT piece suggests impostors claim to represent Microsoft in Russia, and notes the company's offer of free software licenses to these and similar groups.
Magomed Yevloyev, who blogged human rights abuses committed by police in Russia's volatile Ingushetia region, was shot in the temple while in police custody today. The site, ingushetiya.ru (English version), reported the brutal anti-insurgent "Dirty War" tacticts committed by police against Ingushetia's civilian population.
Russia's attack on independent voices. In 2005, Alexandra Poolos interviewed Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya. Two years later, Politkovskaya is one of fourteen journalists murdered since Vladimir Putin came to power, and Frontline sent Poolos to Russia to investigate the Kremlin's crackdown on independent voices. She reports on voices struggling to survive -- the last independent newspaper, a persecuted Chechen activist -- amidst a booming economy and resurgent authoritarianism.
Pot criticises kettles for chromatic similitude. Now, on the one hand, it's refreshing that the US State Department acknowledges the human rights abuses of allies such as Israel; but this annual catalogue of the world's foibles smacks just a little of sanctimonious short-sightedness. But I'm torn on this one: are such state-sponsored surveys a useful basis on which to judge the "ethical" basis of foreign policy, or are they propaganda exercises, designed to direct attention away from domestic failures and to paper over the hypocrisies of policy?