Putin’s “Corrective Project”: An Examination of State Repression Against Russian Nongovernmental Organizations

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Name: Ethan Sieber
Majors: Political Science, Russian Studies
Advisors: Kent Kille, Zach Rewinski

Since the early 2000s, restrictions against nongovernmental organizations in Russia have drastically increased with some of the oldest organizations in the country being liquidated. Why, in Putin-era Russia, has the Russian state gone to such great lengths to repress NGOs? Most of the research on state repression of NGOs has been quantitative and identified broader trends in the types of NGOs that are afflicted by these efforts. Human rights and environmental organizations have disproportionately been the targets of state repression in Russia. By contrast, this study utilizes case study comparisons of NGOs, both independent and state-run, to situate these efforts for repression in the broader context of the Kremlin’s efforts for political control and centralization—specifically as it relates to bolstering nationalistic sentiments, controlling information, and co-opting political engagement. This study examines the following prominent organizations in Russia: the Moscow Helsinki Group, Memorial, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, and the Youth Democratic Anti-Fascist Movement “NASHI.” Examining published materials, activities, and state response, this study finds support for the idea that the Russian government uses repression as a means of not only eliminating political threats, but also as a means of controlling historical narratives and centralizing the state in both information sharing and avenues of political activity.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 13, 2023.

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Russian Studies

Build language skills and take an interdisciplinary approach to learning the history, literature, and culture of Russia.

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Political Science

The study of power, with concentrations in U.S. politics, international relations, political theory and comparative politics.

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