The small rally was organized by a number of opposition candidates in Russia’s Sept. 19 parliamentary election and formally billed as a gathering between candidates and voters with a purpose to keep away from detentions and accusations of staging an unauthorized rally.
Of their speeches, the candidates condemned the latest designation of a number of impartial media retailers, together with Russia’s high impartial TV channel Dozhd and standard information web site Meduza, as “international brokers.” The label carries robust pejorative connotations that may discredit the recipient and implies further authorities scrutiny.
“Our authorities wish to fully wipe out the media sphere. The labeling now of Dozhd, Meduza and different media as ‘international brokers’ are steps towards establishing a dictatorship that was described by Orwell, with the principle slogan being: ‘Ignorance is energy,’” mentioned activist Nikolai Kavkazsky, who’s working for parliament on the ticket of the liberal Yabloko celebration.
Impartial media, journalists, opposition supporters and human rights activists in Russia have confronted elevated stress forward of the Sept. 19 vote, which is extensively seen as an vital a part of President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to cement his rule earlier than the subsequent presidential election in 2024.
The 68-year-old Russian chief, who has been in energy for greater than twenty years, pushed via constitutional modifications final 12 months that will doubtlessly permit him to carry onto energy till 2036.
In latest months, the federal government has designated a variety of impartial media retailers and journalists as “international brokers” and raided the houses of a number of distinguished reporters. The writer of 1 outlet that launched investigative reviews exposing alleged corruption and abuses by high Russian officers and tycoons near Putin was outlawed as an “undesirable” group.
Two different information retailers shut down after authorities accused them of hyperlinks to “undesirable” organizations.
The Kremlin has rejected accusations that it’s stifling free press and insisted that the “international agent” designation doesn’t bar retailers from working.
The wave of repressions in opposition to impartial retailers has prompted protests in Moscow. Two weeks in the past, 12 journalists had been briefly detained after picketing Russia’s Federal Safety Service in protest of the “international brokers” regulation.
No detentions had been reported on the rally on Saturday.