Putin on a Nostalgia Bender

Putin on a nostalgia bender, misses those good-old KGB days:

Governments and rights organizations are decrying raids by Russian authorities on more than 2,000 international and domestic advocacy groups, what observers say is an unprecedented campaign to silence critics of the Kremlin.

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“This is an unprecedented crackdown on civil society in Russia that started in June with the adoption of a number of restrictive laws, which curtailed freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression,” said Rachel Denber, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division at Human Rights Watch. “There is a lot of poisonous anti-foreigner rhetoric and proposals for new laws; it is a very bad atmosphere.”

The raids are being conducted under Russia’s “foreign agent” law, which requires Russian nongovernmental organizations that engage in public advocacy and receive money from foreign donors to register as foreign agents. In most cases, the raids are carried out by prosecutorial, Justice Ministry and tax officials.

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The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said Thursday that the raids are aimed at combating money laundering and corruption. [Link]