Side event at Human Rights Council: Freedom of Expression and the Right to Truth in Russia

FIDH, AI generated with the use of Canva

2 October 2023. For the past decade, and especially since its aggression against Ukraine in 2022, Russia has increasingly clamped down on civil and political rights in the country. Perhaps no other right has suffered a more severe degradation than freedom of expression. In response to these concerning developments, on October 6, 2023, at 17:00 CET, FIDH is organizing a side event on the Freedom of Expression and the Right to Truth in Russia at the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council.

In only a year and a half after Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine, over 8,000 individuals have been prosecuted for violations of the various provisions prohibiting the “discrediting” of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation or the dissemination of “fake news” about the war.

But the state does not only restrict freedom of expression of those that dare to publicly oppose its policies. It distorts reality and uses manipulation of historical facts in violation of the right to truth of all Russians. Violation of the collective right to truth domestically is anything but trivial, it has international repurcussions since Russia employs falsification of history to drive its war propaganda. This propaganda falsely equates Ukrainians with nazis, absurdly calling on Russians to continue the Soviet Union’s fight against nazism in what is nothing more than a war of conquest in Ukraine. To that end, Russia adopts memory laws, changes its Constitution, engages entire troll factories on social media and even sponsors General Assembly resolutions to disseminate its historical lies to audiences at home and abroad.

The event will has a twofold objective:
 firstly, to provide a deepened overview of the extent of the crackdown on freedom of expression in Russia and its practical consequences for targeted groups, such as human rights defenders and journalists; and
 secondly, to expound on the wider implications of violations of the right to truth through whitewashing and revisionism of Soviet crimes on the prospects of transitional justice in Russia and international peace and security.


Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation
Historian at International Memorial
Human rights lawyer
Media Hub Riga


Head of Eastern Europe and Central Asia Desk, FIDH, moderation

Freedom of expression and the right to truth in Russia
Read more