A Moscow court abolished one of Russia’s oldest rights groups. Russian prosecutors banned work by a group exiled journalists and labeled it an illegal organization. “undesirable organization.”
On Friday, President Vladimir V. Putin used Holocaust Remembrance Day to reiterate false claims that justified the invasion. As his government used the state’s levers to suppress independent voices, and to control the Russian view of the war,
The Kremlin’s renewed push this week to quash dissent comes as the war nears the end of its first year, with Western officials estimating more than 100,000 casualties on each side. Russia and Ukraine are locked in an endless battle of attrition, in eastern Ukraine. Both sides want to reconstitute their forces in time for the spring, when they will likely attempt a major offensive.
According to Ukrainian officials, Russian shelling in eastern Ukraine killed at least eight civilians within 24 hours. This is the area of the most intense fighting in recent month, according to official statements.
“The enemy is deliberately destroying our cities and towns,” Telegram reported that Pavlo Kyrylenko was the regional military governor. “Civilians not involved in the protection and operation of critical infrastructure of the region should evacuate.”
But by the Russian government’s design, the Russian public would know little of those losses, the devastation caused by Russian missile strikes or the waves of men sent into frontal attacks by Russian commanders. Since the war began, the Kremlin has steadily dismantled Russia’s independent media, forcing organizations that had survived decades under Mr. Putin out of the country, and cutting off access to Facebook, the BBC and other news sources.
On Thursday, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office designated Meduza, a popular independent news site, an “undesirable organization,” It means that its employees speak to them. “like” Your content, or the sharing of its articles, could lead to criminal prosecution.
The site’s activities “pose a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and the security of the Russian Federation,” the Prosecutor General’s Office Statement.
This decision could limit Meduza journalists based in Latvia’s ability to talk to Russians who have cause to fear retribution. The journalists, however, insisted that they were not discouraged and stated in a Statement: “We will find ways to operate in these new conditions. We will continue to report events to our readers, millions of whom are still in Russia.”
The European Union has condemned the decision and called it “inhumane.” “yet another serious politically motivated attack on media freedom.” It also condemned the Moscow City authority’s decision to end rental agreements. The Sakharov Center A museum devoted to the history and abuses of Soviet Union.
The E.U. has confirmed that the two cases are identical. The E.U. StatementMarked “a dark day for the Russian civil society and a new low point in the Kremlin’s bulldozing of rights and freedoms of the Russian citizens.”
But those were just two actions by Russian authorities this week. A Moscow City Court ordered the closure of the Moscow Helsinki Group, one of the country’s oldest human rights groups, in a decision that was condemned by the U.N. human rights office. The ruling “is yet another blow to human rights and civic space in the country,” Marta Hurtado was a spokeswoman of the office.
Pyotr Verzilov was also charged criminally with publishing the media site Mediazona. On Thursday, he was also accused of “spreading falsehoods about the Russian Army.” He left Russia before the war and said that the charges stemmed out of his posts in Bucha, Ukraine where journalists and investigators discovered evidence of Russian atrocities.
Roskomnadzor (the Russian internet regulator) restricted access to the C.I.A.’s websites. F.B.I. according to The state news agency Tass According to them, there was no reason to block the sites.
Many Russians depend on television to get news. Popular channels are either owned by the state, or they are owned by private companies. Good terms for businessmen with the Kremlin, and all promote Mr. Putin’s government and his war. Emails leaked from Russia’s largest state-owned media company last year showed that, at times, Russia’s military and primary security service, the F.S.B., directed and advised state media employees on portraying the invasion in a positive light.
Correspondents, anchors and TV hosts have for months repeated Mr. Putin’s claims that an objective of the invasion was the “denazification” Ukraine. Mr. Putin has falsely asserted that Ukraine’s leadership is dominated by “neo-Nazi” officials — even though Ukraine’s democratically elected president is Jewish — and has long referred to Ukraine’s 2014 revolution as a fascist coup.
In Observations Putin declared that he would recognize Remembrance Day. “forgetting the lessons of history leads to the repeat of terrible tragedies” The Holocaust history was then linked to the war on Ukraine. He was accused “neo-Nazis in Ukraine” Of crimes against civilians, and of “ethnic cleansing,” He claimed that Russian soldiers were fighting in the war. “especially this evil.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in his Remembrance Day MessageHe also spoke out against the horrors and crimes of the Holocaust, but he didn’t directly address Russia or Mr. Putin.
“Today we remember the determination of the global coalition that stopped Nazism,” Mr. Zelensky said, “and today we repeat it even more strongly than before: never again to hatred, never again to indifference.”
Other officials from the Ukrainian government were less direct. Andriy Ermak, a top advisor to the president, stated that the tragedy of Holocaust “should have served as a warning to prevent new crimes against humanity.”
“But today, in the very center of Europe, a genocide of Ukrainians is occurring,” He Twitter: “We will neither forgive nor forget anything.”
Ivan Nechepurenko, Cassandra Vinograd, Matina Stevis Gridneff, Carly Olson?, Matthew Mpoke Bigg Contributed reporting