Monitoring group slams "military censorship" in Russia protests crackdown
The big picture: Russian authorities have arrested thousands of protesters since Russia's military launched a full-scale assault on Ukraine Feb. 24, but they have so far failed to stop the anti-war movement in the country.
- That's despite a massive crackdown on free speech that saw Facebook and Twitter restricted in Russia and the Putin-controlled parliament passing legislation threatening to imprison people for up to 15 years if they publish what Moscow deems "fake" information about Russia's invasion.
- Local independent outlets have closed and Western media giants, including Bloomberg and the BBC, announced they're temporarily suspending news operations in Russia as a result.
What they're saying: "The screws are being fully tightened — essentially we are witnessing military censorship," said OVID-Infor spokesperson Maria Kuznetsova to Reuters.
- "We are seeing rather big protests today, even in Siberian cities where we only rarely saw such numbers of arrests," Kuznetsova added.
- A freelance journalist who attended a protest in Moscow last week and requested anonymity for safety, told Axios' Alison Snyder that demonstrators typically don't carry banners or chant due to the threat of arrest.
- "It is basically a silent protest," she said, noting that, while thousands of people have protested, many others who are angry about the invasion are afraid to demonstrate.
Go deeper: The latest on the Russia-Ukraine crisis