Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 21, 2014

On May 6, 2012, thousands of Russians – teachers, students, scientists, athletes, pensioners – took to the streets of Moscow to demand fair elections and government accountability. Today, a Russian court convicted eight of those protestors of rioting and violence against police in a politically-motivated trial that points to serious concerns about due process and rule of law in Russia. We have seen numerous prosecutions of activists, journalists, and opposition politicians since 2012, including the recent case of environmental activist Yevgeniy Vitishko, sentenced to three years in jail for reportedly spray-painting a fence. We reiterate our serious concerns about the ongoing pressure on civil society in Russia.

The United States continues to support the rights of all Russian citizens to exercise their fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political views.