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EU Asked To Express 'Alarm' To Moscow Over Free Speech Issues

Russian police detain an opposition activist holding a portrait of President Vladimir Putin during a protest on Putin's birthday in Moscow on October 7.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the European Union should use an upcoming summit to press Russia to “stop trying to choke off free speech and assembly and any sign of dissent.”

Top EU officials plan to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Brussels on December 21.

Hugh Williamson, HRW’s Europe and Central Asia director, issued a statement on December 18 calling on the EU to “convey a clear sense of alarm at the crackdown of the past six months on Russia’s vibrant civil society.”

The statement cited a new Russian law that went into effect last month requiring foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations involved in what are deemed political activities to register as “foreign agents.”

In June, another law came into force that dramatically raised potential fines for people found guilty of participating in unapproved public demonstrations.
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