(26/07/2017). Report Nº 245 / Europe & Central Asia. Russia’s and China’s separate visions for Central Asia could transform the region’s political and economic landscape as well as relations between the two Eurasian giants. To the smaller, embryonic Central Asian nation states, the new geopolitical realities could offer both economic prosperity as well as worsening instability and conflict.
(18/07/2017). This report documents Russian authorities’ stepped-up measures aimed at bringing the internet under greater state control. Since 2012, Russian authorities have unjustifiably prosecuted dozens of people for criminal offenses on the basis of social media posts, online videos, media articles, and interviews, and shut down or blocked access to hundreds of websites and web pages. Russian authorities have also pushed through parliament a raft of repressive laws regulating internet content and infrastructure. These laws provide the Russian government with a broad range of tools to restrict access to information, carry out unchecked surveillance, and censor information the government designates as “extremist,” out of line with “traditional values,” or otherwise harmful to the public. https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/russiafoe0717_web_2.pdf
This report documents how workers on six World Cup stadium construction sites faced unpaid wages either in full or part, several months’ delays in payment of wages, work in temperatures as cold as -25 degrees Celsius without sufficient protections, and employers’ failure to provide work contracts required for legal employment.
The report, “‘They Have Long Arms and They Can Find Me’: Anti-Gay Purge by Local Authorities in Russia’s Chechen Republic,” is based on first-hand interviews with victims of the campaign against gay men that Chechnya’s law enforcement and security officials conducted in spring, 2017.
The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled ‘Russian Federation – State Actors of Protection’. The report provides an overview on aspects related to the state protection functions identified as central from a citizen’s perspective – the official institutions that constitute the guarantee for the individual’s possibility to exercise his or her rights. In 2016, the Russian Federation ranked 9th in the top countries of origin in EU+ countries, with a total of 26,550 applicants.
Index number: EUR 46/5147/2016. In the last four years, 148 non-governmental organizations have been included on the list of “foreign agents” in Russia, of which 27 have closed down altogether. Amnesty International’s new report ‘Agents of the people’: Four years of “foreign agents” law in Russia highlights the high price Russian society has paid as independent critical non-governmental organizations have been forced to close, valuable services have been restricted and scrutiny of government policy in a wide range of areas has been silenced in what amounts to a calculated assault on freedom of expression.
In Kazakhstan and in Russia, the rights of migrant workers from Central Asia are regularly violated, declared today FIDH and its partners in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, in Bishkek during the presentation of two reports: “Women and children from Kyrgyzstan affected by migration” and “Migrant workers in Kazakhstan: no status, no rights”. The two reports denounce not only the sad state of affairs for migrant workers, but also that of their families in Kyrgyzstan – particularly the women and children – who are left behind.
The report, “‘Like Walking a Minefield’: Vicious Crackdown on Critics in Russia’s Chechen Republic,” describes how local authorities punish and humiliate people who show dissatisfaction with or seem reluctant to applaud the Chechen leadership and its policies. The report also details increasing threats, assaults, and detention of journalists and human rights defenders.
Middle East Briefing N°47. In announcing Moscow’s intent to withdraw the “main part“ of the military assets that it deployed to Syria since last September, President Vladimir Putin again caught much of the world off-guard, this time allies and adversaries alike. Having declared victory while maintaining its war-fighting capacity in Syria, Russia has left key questions unanswered: will it actually reduce its military role and, if so, to what extent, where and against whom. But if it implements the announcement in a meaningful way, this could create the best opportunity in years to push the conflict toward an initial settlement, especially on the heels of Moscow’s decision to help implement a “cessation of hostilities”.
Russia’s North Caucasus insurgency has gone relatively quiet, as Moscow crushed militants and many left to fight in Syria and Iraq. But longstanding grievances remain and the war may only have widened, as evidenced by the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt and the emergence of new groups swearing allegiance to the Islamic State in Russia itself. http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/europe/caucasus/238-the-north-caucasus-insurgency-and-syria-an-exported-jihad.pdf