This excerpt is from an article based upon remarks National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman made at a meeting of The Senate Human Rights Caucus on March 2, 2016, on “Human Rights Abuses in Putin’s Russia.
“More than 30,000 people marched in Moscow on February 27, the anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s murder, and there were rallies remembering him in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl, and dozens of other cities. This outpouring is quite remarkable given the harsh laws the Putin government has passed against public assemblies. Though many people in the West assume that Putin has intimidated and crushed opposition and independent groups in Russia, there are actually tens of thousands of brave Russians who are actively and openly carrying forward Nemtsov’s struggle for democracy.
Since Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, assaults on freedom of association and expression have been among the serious human rights abuses in Russia. His regime was badly rattled by the protest movement that was triggered by his return to power, and he has responded by clamping down on any organization or movement operating independently from the government.”