WASHINGTON, March 27, 2017 –   In response to Russian police arresting hundreds of people in anti-corruption protests across the country on March 26, including the largest demonstration in Moscow in five years, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The protests targeted corruption that has mushroomed under the authoritarianism of President Putin and his government, which showed their intolerance of dissent by declaring the protests illegal,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Russia under Putin has created the template for modern dictatorships by taking control of the media and demonizing the independent voices that remain, treating civil society as a threat to the state, and trying to suppress the fundamental right to speak freely and to protest without fear of arrest. Putin’s would-be admirers and apologists should recognize him as a model of authoritarianism and a grave threat to fundamental freedoms.”

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2017, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2016, and receives a democracy score of 6.5, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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