Russia Issue Update

The government of Chechnya—a tiny ethnic enclave in the North Caucasus region of Russia—is a highly authoritarian regime that perpetrates a wide array of human rights abuses, including severe violations of religious freedom. This report focuses on Chechnya as an example of the egregious religious repression in Russia. The dictatorship of Ramzan Kadyrov maintains hegemony through the imposition of a purported “traditional” version of Islam, which falsely claims to defend local belief and culture, and combat violent extremism. In reality, Kadyrov has coopted Chechen religion and culture to support his brutal regime, which violates the secular constitution of the Russian Federation and international standards of freedom of religion or belief.

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