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Russia

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Index
  1. Russia Main Page
  2. The Bolshevik Revolution
  3. Emergence of the USSR
  4. The Berlin Blockade and the Cold War
  5. Dissolution of the USSR
  6. Financial Crisis and Political Upheaval
  7. Putin's Rise to Power
  8. Attempts at Chechen Independence Fail
  9. A Shocking Hostage Situation, a Move Towards Climate Change, and Radiation Poison
  10. Crumbling Relations with the United States
  11. Putin Retains Power
  12. Conflict with Georgia and the Demise of the Western Friendship
  13. String of Suicide Bombs Sparks Fear of a Crackdown by Putin
  14. Putin to Return to the Presidency
  15. 2011 Parliamentary Elections Spark Massive Protests
  16. Russia Blocks U.N. Action in Syria
  17. Assassination Plot Uncovered Before Putin Wins the Presidential Election
  18. Protests Become Violent Ahead of Putin's Third Inauguration
  19. Massive Flood Kills More Than 100 People
  20. The Kremlin Takes Action against Political Activists
  21. Russia enters the World Trade Organization
  22. One Punk Band Member Released as Case Continues to Draw International Attention
  23. Russia Won't Renew Weapons Pact with United States
  24. Opposition Leader Says He Was Forced to Confess
  25. Meteorite Fragments Injure Hundreds
  26. Anti-Gay Bill Ignites International Protests
  27. American Fugitive Seeks Asylum in Russia
  28. Russia Assists with Chemical Weapons Investigation in Syria
  29. Multiple Bombings Raise Fears for Olympics
  30. Russia Seizes Control of Crimea
  31. Putin Announces Annexation of Crimea
The Kremlin Takes Action against Political Activists

During the summer of 2012, the government began cracking down against political activists in new ways. Two new laws were signed by Putin. One law gave the government the power to shut down websites that have content which could be harmful to children. The other law increased penalties for libel. In July 2012, the Investigative Committee began criminal cases against Aleksei Navalny, an anticorruption blogger, and Gennady Gudkov, a lawmaker. Navalny, a leader of the anti-Putin protest movement which began in Dec. 2011, was found guilty of embezzlement and faced five to 10 years in prison.

Also in July 2012, three members of a Russian punk band called Pussy Riot were arrested and put on trial for hooliganism after they performed an anti-Putin song on the altar of Moscow's main Orthodox cathedral. During one of the most high-profile trials that Russia's had in years, the band members said their demonstration was political, not an attack on Orthodox Christians. The three female band members could face seven years in prison if convicted. In early Aug. 2012, during a sold-out concert in Moscow, Madonna voiced her support for the three women. "I know there are many sides to every story, and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government. But I think that these three girls — Masha, Katya, Nadya — I think they have done something courageous. I think they have paid the price for this act. And I pray for their freedom."

On Aug. 17, 2012, Masha, Katya, and Nadya, the three members of Pussy Riot, were convicted of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in a penal colony. At the sentencing, activists outside of the courthouse began to protest, chanting "Free Pussy Riot!" Police arrested dozens of protestors. Rallies supporting the three women were held in cities around the world, including London, New York and Paris. Immediately following the verdict, the United States, other governments, and human rights groups criticized the decision, calling the sentence severe. The women's lawyers said they would appeal the decision.

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