Crackdown on civil society widens in Crimea

Drone strikes and unexplained explosions on the Russian-annexed Criman Peninsula have prompted the Moscow-controlled administration to urge citizens to hunt for possible saboteurs. This comes amid widening repression on civil society, especially targeting the Crimean Tatar people. On Sept. 15, a local court jailed at least four people involved in a Tatar wedding in Bakhchysarai for performing a Ukrainian patriotic song, "Red Kalyna." Each accused performer was held for several days.

On Aug. 11, officers of the FSB security agency raided the home of Vilen Temeryanov, an independent journalist working with the rights group Crimean Solidarity, in the village of Vilne. Temeryanov was detained on charges of participating in the activities of a "terrorist organization." In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists said: "Authorities must drop all charges against journalist Vilen Temeryanov, release him immediately, and stop cracking down on Crimean Tatar journalists." (IWPR, KHPG, CPJ)

Putin increases security after Crimea bridge blast

Vladimir Putin signed a decree Oct. 8 authorizing greater security for the strategic Kerch Strait bridge connecting Russia and Crimea after it was damaged by several explosions. The decree also tightened security around critical infrastructure such as the electric and natural gas supply lines to the peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014. (DW)