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Four years after Russia's Bolotnaya Square protests, prosecution of protesters continues

A man takes part in an opposition rally in Moscow, on 27 October 2013. Protesters demanded the release of political prisoners including anti-government activists detained in Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012, the eve of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration. The sticker reads
A man takes part in an opposition rally in Moscow, on 27 October 2013. Protesters demanded the release of political prisoners including anti-government activists detained in Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012, the eve of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration. The sticker reads "Putin."

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

This statement was originally published on freedomhouse.org on 6 May 2016.

On the fourth anniversary of the Bolotnaya Square protests in Moscow, when tens of thousands of Russians protested the election results that gave Vladimir Putin a third term as president, Freedom House issued the following statement:

"The Bolotnaya Square protests marked the beginning of both a new presidential term for Putin and the harshest crackdowns on civil society since the end of the Soviet Union," said Robert Herman, vice president for international programs. "The Russian government continues to bring charges against the protestors of four years ago in an attempt to intimidate its critics into silence and discourage civic activism."

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.