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RFE/RL's Russia Report: What It's Like To Be Russia's Enemy


Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky's mother and wife, with (from left) Hermitage Capital Management chief William Browder and U.S. Representative James McGovern, at a reception in Washington DC, 17Apr2013

Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky's mother and wife, with (from left) Hermitage Capital Management chief William Browder and U.S. Representative James McGovern, at a reception in Washington DC, 17Apr2013

From Magnitsky to Navalny, and from opponents sequestered today in psychiatric wards to villagers long ago slaughtered and starved, being on the outs with Ruling Russia is risky business.

# U.S. Congressman James McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, was one of the leading sponsors of legislation that mandated sanctions against Russians implicated in the prosecution and death of whistle-blowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. McGovern spoke to correspondent Richard Solash on the sidelines of a Washington reception held April 17 honoring the Magnitsky family. Solash also spoke to Magnitsky's mother, Natalia, about how she felt now that the "Magnitsky list" has become a reality.

# A former Russian trade union leader who got in trouble after exposing official corruption was recently held for several weeks in a psychiatric hospital. Correspondent Robert Coalson reports that this case and other similar developments have raised concern that prosecutors in Russia are returning to the notorious Soviet-era practice of using psychiatric treatment to punish dissent or resolve business disputes.

# In an interview with the pro-Kremlin "Izvestia," Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin appears to have admitted that the criminal case against anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny is politically motivated. Get the latest from Brian Whitmore's The Power Vertical.

# Finally, in the category of Stupid Human Tricks: Russian comedian Ivan Urgant, who styles his popular television show after "Late Night With David Letterman," has publicly apologized for likening the Soviet-era slaughter of Ukrainians to the chopping of vegetables. Correspondent Claire Bigg has the details.

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