Criminalisation of Free Speech in Russia
The essay addresses the current trends in the criminalisation of free speech in Russia. It critically discusses the amendments to the Russian Criminal Code, criminalising various forms of public expression of opinions, adopted in the years following the presidential elections in March 2012, and questions their compliance with international human rights law. Seeking to identify the motives behind the new provisions, the article argues that the amendments are intended to cause a ‘chilling effect’, to control public dissent by selective or random criminal prosecution. Two of the new criminal law provisions—‘Public Calls for Separatism’ and ‘Rehabilitation of Nazism’—are considered in detail to illustrate the author’s conclusions.