Written by Martin Russell,
Russia is a signatory to several international human rights treaties and, as a member of the Council of Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights. Its constitution directly guarantees the human rights of Russian citizens, which are also protected by institutions such as a Human Rights Ombudsman and a Presidential Council.
However, the human rights situation in Russia is increasingly difficult. Repressive legislation adopted over the last few years has severely curtailed human rights by targeting freedom of expression and human rights activism. Western criticisms are dismissed by the Kremlin as interference in Russian domestic affairs.
Human rights observers have compiled an extensive catalogue of abuses in Russia. These range from extrajudicial killings and inhuman treatment including torture, to confiscation of private property. A dysfunctional justice system denies Russians the right to a fair trial; ethnic minorities, women and LGBT persons are heavily disadvantaged, in practice and in some cases also in law.
Some of the worst abuses in all these areas have occurred in the North Caucasus and Crimea, for example due to repression of the Crimean Tatar minority.
- Read the complete briefing on ‘Human rights in Russia‘.
- Read the briefing on ‘Russia’s 2016 elections: More of the same?‘.