The United States strongly condemns the use of harsh tactics against protesters and journalists this weekend in cities throughout Russia. Prior to today’s events, the Russian government sought to suppress the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression by harassing protest organizers, threatening social media platforms, and pre-emptively arresting potential participants. This follows years of tightening restrictions on and repressive actions against civil society, independent media, and the political opposition.
Continued efforts to suppress Russians’ rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, the arrest of opposition figure Aleksey Navalny, and the crackdown on protests that followed are troubling indications of further restrictions on civil society and fundamental freedoms. Russians’ rights to peaceful assembly and to participate in free and fair elections are enshrined not only in the country’s constitution, but also in Russia’s OSCE commitments, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in its international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
We call on Russian authorities to release all those detained for exercising their universal rights and for the immediate and unconditional release of Aleksey Navalny. We urge Russia to fully cooperate with the international community’s investigation into the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny and credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its soil.
The United States will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and partners in defense of human rights – whether in Russia or wherever they come under threat.