In the year since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in May 2012, the Russian
government has unleashed a crackdown on civil society unprecedented in the country’s
post-Soviet history.The authorities have introduced a series of restrictive laws, harassed,
intimidated, and in several cases imprisoned political activists, interfered in the work of
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and sought to cast government critics as
clandestine enemies, thereby threatening the viability of Russia’s civil society.