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Russia Country Report: 2024

Russia Country Report

May 2024

By Genocide Watch

Ukraine mothers protest mass rapes by Russian troops in Bucha

Credit: United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations Cartographic Section

Russia has a long history of persecuting ethnic minorities and societal dissidents. Imperial Russia organized Jewish pogroms. The Soviet Union committed genocide against Ukrainians during the Holomodor and against Kazakhs during the Kazakh famine. It committed war crimes against Polish officials in the Katyn Massacre and purged, imprisoned, and murdered millions of domestic political opponents throughout the Soviet era. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Russian forces killed one million civilians. Russia engaged in genocidal warfare by invading Georgia, Chechnya and Ukraine. On Feb. 24, 2022, following its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It is now committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

Russia has tried to legitimize its aggression against Ukraine by arguing that it is “denazifying” the country. This is “genocidal mirroring.” It is Russia that has become a Nazi state. Russia claims that Ukraine is not a state in its own right. Russian forces in Ukraine have deliberately massacred thousands of Ukrainian civilians and destroyed essential Ukrainian water, electrical, and healthcare infrastructure. They murdered hundreds of Ukrainian civilians during the Bucha Massacre of 2022 and have committed other genocidal massacres across Ukraine.

Russian troops systematically torture, rape, and sexually assault Ukrainian civilians. Some Russian troops have accompanied their rapes with statements expressing the explicit intent to stop Ukrainian women from reproducing. Russia has purposely deprived Ukrainian civilians of food and water. Russia funds the Wagner Group, a mercenary organization that has killed, raped, and tortured thousands of civilians in Ukraine, Mali, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Thousands of Ukrainians have died. The war has displaced millions.

Russia has contravened Article 2e of the Genocide Convention in occupied Ukraine by forcibly transporting over 19,000 Ukrainian children to Russia. It has sent children to re-education camps where they are prohibited from using the Ukrainian language. They are indoctrinated in the Russian language, history, and culture. Russian families have adopted Ukrainian children and given them Russian citizenship.

Russia denies responsibility for the genocide in Ukraine. Putin himself denied that the Russian Army committed the Bucha Massacre. He even decorated the troops who committed it. Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Children’s Commissioner, rejected claims that Russian deportation of Ukrainian children constitutes genocide, despite its violation of Article 2e of the Genocide Convention. The ICC has charged Putin and Lvova-Belova with genocide.

Russia uses the invasion of Ukraine to justify its suppression of Russian media. Russia passed two laws that make it a crime to report the occupation as a “war” or “invasion.” It is a crime to participate in or report on protests.

In 2022, Russia expanded its foreign agents law, barring reporters deemed to be “foreign agents.” Under the law, it has arrested, prosecuted, imprisoned, and fined American journalists and multiple Russian human rights defenders and shut down all non-governmental Russian human rights organizations. It arrested, imprisoned, and murdered Alexei Navalny, the strongest Russian opposition leader.

Russia continues to attack LGBTQ+ rights. In December 2022, the Russian Parliament declared it illegal to promote non-heterosexual relationships. Russia’s Supreme Court recently banned LGBTQ+ advocacy. Since 2017, Chechnya, led by Ramzan Kadyrov, has initiated multiple campaigns aimed at detaining and torturing gay men. Kadyrov has said he desires to remove gay people in the region to “cleanse our blood.” Gay men who wish to avoid criminal charges can “volunteer” to fight for Russia in occupied Ukraine.

Because Russia is committing genocide in occupied Ukraine and oppressing its citizens, Genocide Watch considers Russia to be at Stage 8: Persecution, Stage 9: Extermination and Stage 10: Denial.

Genocide Watch recommends:

● The United States, European Union, and NATO must supply the Ukrainian government with armament, including tanks, Patriot missiles, artillery, ammunition, cruise missiles, and jets critical to defeating Russia.

● The International Court of Justice must recognize that Russia has violated the Genocide Convention.

● The ICC must try Putin and Russian leaders for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

● The United States, United Kingdom, and European Union must force corporations that continue to operate in Russia, like PepsiCo and Unilever, to totally cease their operations in Russia.


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