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RFE/RL Reports: How New Laws Affect Russia's Opposition Movement

Police officers detain an opposition activist holding a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with a black ribbon commonly used for the deceased tied around it, during a protest on Putin's birthday in Moscow, 07Oct2012
Maneuverings in Russia's legal and legislative systems mean dark clouds on the horizon for an increasingly vocal opposition movement. Will the new initiatives muzzle President Vladimir Putin's critics or lead to more domestic turbulence? RFE/RL's Claire Bigg and Brian Whitmore break down the laws, the critics, and the targets.

# A bill broadening the definition of high treason is drawing outrage in Russia after lawmakers hastily approved it on Tuesday. Lawyers and human rights campaigners say the draft law means any Russian who has contacts with a foreigner could be accused of betraying the state and stress that the vague definition of treason opens the door to abuse.

# Putin has ordered the creation of a new agency to restore national pride and foster feelings of patriotism among Russians. Advocates of the initiative say Russia is in dire need of unifying ideas to fill the vacuum left by the Soviet collapse, but critics dismiss the new agency as a Soviet-style scheme aimed at curbing an unprecedented protest movement against Putin's 12-year rule.

# From The Power Vertical: How badly did Russian authorities want to nab Leonid Razvozzhayev? To answer that question, you will need to separate the Kremlin's virtual reality from, well, actual reality.

# Despite the crackdown, human rights reaction to Razvozzhayev's case and the EU's continued investigation into the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky at the hands of Russian officials mean the world will be watching what comes next.

For additional news from Russia, follow Radio Svoboda (also in Russian) online, and on Twitter @SvobodaRadio and @RussiaPoliceWatch.