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Author: Olga Irisova

A triumphant referendum?

Russian officials and state media outlets have called Russia’s recent vote on constitutional amendments a “triumph”. What does the result tell us about the state of Russian society? How did Russians living abroad vote? According to official data, Russians living in the Baltic states voted in favour of the amendments to the constitution at a higher rate to Russians living in Russia or Russians living in other EU countries. Why was this?

On July 1st Russia’s nationwide voting on constitutional amendments – designed primarily to give the current Russian president, Vladimir Putin the opportunity to remain in power until 2036 – came to an end. According to Russia’s Central Electoral Commission, more than 57.7 million voters, or 77.92 per cent of those who voted, supported the amendments, while 15.7 million, or 21.27 per cent, voted against it. The turnout, according to official reports, reached almost 68 per cent.

September 7, 2020 - Olga Irisova

Lithuania’s campaign to help Belarus’s protesters offers more than just words

Lithuania has shown solidarity with Belarus through advocacy, hosting Tsikhanouskaya and many other initiatives by their civil society. This has also been noticed at the Kremlin.

September 3, 2020 - Olga Irisova

Russia’s denial syndrome

The HIV epidemic continues to spread in Russia while the authorities appear to be doing very little to effectively counter it. It does not help that the dedicated NGOs that try to prevent its spread are faced with legal obstacles and conspiracy theories claiming that the HIV epidemic is a hoax fabricated by the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2015 as many as 120,000 Russians were diagnosed with HIV. This figure is 70 per cent of the total number of new diagnoses in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. That year the number of officially registered HIV carriers in Russia exceeded one million, and the Russian authorities had to finally recognise the existence of a full-scale HIV epidemic.

November 5, 2018 - Olga Irisova

A Russia-based journalist is facing a threat of deportation to Uzbekistan

Ali Feruz (real name: Khudoberdi Nurmatov), a human rights activist and correspondent of Novaya Gazeta, one of few independent Russian newspapers, is now under threat of being deported from Russia to Uzbekistan. The deportation would carry a high risk of Ali being tortured and international pressure is needed to stop the process.

August 7, 2017 - Olga Irisova

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