Dear colleagues, brothers and sisters,
Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the bloody Russian aggression against Ukraine, unleashed by the imperial policy of dictator Putin. This war has already cost the Ukrainian nation tens of thousands of lives, including the lives of the indigenous peoples. This war is a tragedy for the Ukrainian Nation.
In this war, are also dying representatives of the indigenous peoples of Russia succumbed to state propaganda and went to the war as soldiers of the Russian army. We, in cooperation with the Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial, decided to prepare a report on the impact of this injustice war on the indigenous peoples of Russia to show that this war is also a tragedy for small-numbered indigenous nations of Russia.
The report by the International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia (iCIPR) and the Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial to the anniversary of the beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Second edition, 23 February 2023
After Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, the Russian Government turned its attention to civil society organizations. Draconian laws enacted since 2012 regulate the work of organizations engaged in activities deemed political by the Government. The constant harassment of these organizations by the authorities has made it next to impossible to openly and freely discuss Indigenous Peoples’ rights, especially land rights and self-determination. A particularly worrisome aspect was the accelerating expansion of extractive industries on Indigenous Peoples’ traditional lands, regulated and encouraged by the Government, without their Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) and paying neglect attention to the environmental standards.
As a result, today, the once vibrant Indigenous activist movement in Russia has been reduced to a handful of people. Those activists must be extremely careful, as anyone who openly questions the authorities’ political and economic choices is at risk of criminal prosecution. A number of prominent Indigenous rights defenders left the country, fearing for their safety. Some who stay in Russia experience arbitrary criminal prosecution initiated by the state or extractive industries.
After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the repressive Russian legislation was much strengthened, and critical Indigenous voices fear persecution can no longer effectively stand up for their rights and publicly criticize the Government, its proxy organizations, and crony extractive businesses.