Russia repression ‘unprecedented in recent history’ — UN expert

Repression in Russia has soared since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, reaching levels not seen since Stalinist times, a top United Nations expert warns.

“The level of repression against the civil society independent media, and generally anybody with a dissenting voice…is unprecedented in recent history,” Mariana Katzarova tells reporters in Geneva.

Presenting the findings of her first report, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights situation in Russia laments Moscow’s “enormous crackdown” on critics since launching its war in February 2022.

“Civic society in Russia has been closed by the authorities,” she tells reporters, adding that the “repression is very sophisticated,” with new laws presented virtually every week “to stifle” any form of criticism or dissent.

“It’s extremely serious.”

Katzarova says the situation is not yet comparable to the level of repression seen during the Soviet Union’s Stalinist era, when millions perished in gulags. “But now is the opportunity… to not let the situation in Russia itself deteriorate to the level of the previous historical Stalinist repressions in this country.”

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