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Russia

Exiling Dissent, How Putin Is "Killing" Russian Civil Society

Le Temps meets up with Olga Abramenko, head of a human rights organization that Russian authorities have deemed a "foreign agent" and banished from the country.

Thousands of people march in Moscow to honor Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, killed February 27, 2015
Thousands of people march in Moscow to honor Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, killed February 27, 2015
Luis Lema

GENEVA — Olga Abramenko, who's not the kind of person who is easily discouraged, is nevertheless fatalistic about the state of her country. "Russian civil society has been destroyed. Two laws were enough to kill it," she says.

The current atmosphere of coercion in Russia regarding anything that looks remotely like an opposition movement wound up getting the best of the director of Memorial, the well-known anti-discrimination organization based in Saint Petersburg. Along with some of her colleagues, Abramenko was forced to leave her country. She and her co-workers are now trying to continue their work from Brussels, hoping the grip doesn't somehow tighten.

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