Kremlin watchers were surprised in December 2013 by the announcement of immediate pardons for several leading regime opponents who had been imprisoned or held under house arrest for political reasons. But Russia has more subtle ways of keeping potential activists under control than simply jailing them. It uses threats and intimidation – and what is known in Moscow as ‘suspended punishment'.

<em>There is much talk about political prisoners in Russia. But the numbers are very small. The current mode of political repression is more sophisticated, and arguably more effective, than the sheer brutality of the comm...

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Russia is not becoming a beacon of light for the rule of law. Its legal system is deeply flawed, with negative implications for both human rights and the prospects for economic revival
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