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“People are scared”: Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on the Russian opposition

Russia’s latest wave of arrests and media restrictions signals a new willingness to repress opposition ahead of September’s legislative elections.

The designation, under which Meduza editors must preface every public statement with an acknowledgement of its status or risk prison, could have been designed to kill the site. For the hardliners and security service veterans now widely believed to be on the rise within the Kremlin, that was the whole point, wrote Tatiana Stanovaya, a well-connected political analyst on the messenger app Telegram.

Meduza was only the biggest victim of the new normal, however. Earlier in April, four journalists at the student newspaper Doxawere arrested and charged over making a video in support of student protesters. On 29 April, an ally of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for reposting a music video by the German metal group Rammstein in 2014.

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