Russia’s Human Rights Ombundman, Vladmir Lukin, in his annual report noted there were 28,617 complaints which represents a 12% drop from last year. However, independent human rights groups believe he has vastly underestimated the situation in a nation characterized by an authoritarian president who stifles expression by those who oppose his rule. Lukin’s report dealt with a variety of issues, but expressed most concern about the rights of prisoners whose condition he believed approached torture. His office received more than 3,000 complaints filed by prisoners who claim their basic rights are being violated.
There have been repeated examples of Putin political opponents arrested or even confined to mental hospitals and the denial of opportunities for some to even run for the presidency is a blatant example of denial of human rights. Of course, Putin masks his policy with laws and regulations that make it difficult for opponents to meet “qualifying standards” that would allow their name to be on the ballot.