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Freedom House creates human rights guide for athletes, others attending Sochi Olympics in Russia

Freedom House announces the release of a new resource for athletes, journalists, spectators, and sponsors of the 2014 Winter Olympics opening in Sochi, Russia on February 7. Russia on the Eve of Sochi: Repression of Olympic Proportions documents ongoing human rights abuses by Russian authorities, through a detailed timeline and the personal stories of individuals and organizations, all affected by government-sanctioned discrimination, corruption, and human rights violations.

"Those who plan to attend, cover, or sponsor the Olympic Games in Sochi should make a point to learn about the crackdown on human rights and political participation in Russia," said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. "Under Vladimir Putin, Russia over the past few years has seen the worst decline in the state of human rights and democracy since the collapse of the Soviet Union."

This new guide details the plight of Russians such as Maria Baranova, who could face a lengthy prison sentence for participating in a peaceful protest in Moscow; Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who was posthumously put on trial after being murdered through denial of medical treatment in prison, for exposing tax fraud by Russian authorities; and Slava Revin, an activist who had to flee Russia due to threats against him by police for being gay.

These abuses and the policies behind them are no less an important part of Russia than the XXII Winter Games.

Background materials and interviews with Russian human rights activists are available on these topics:

  • Human rights issues in Russia
  • LGBT policies
  • Press and Internet freedom
  • Russia and its neighbors

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2013, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2013, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2013.

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