[The March 16 attack was the fourth in the last 15 months on Joint Mobile Group staff and offices in the North Caucasus. In addition to the March 9 attack, on June 3, 2015, unidentified people in masks forced their way into the organization’s office in Grozny, destroying the contents of the office and forcing its staff out. On December 13, 2014, unidentified attackers set fire to the office. The next day, Chechen police without a warrant ransacked the office and took mobile phones, several cameras, laptop computers, and other electronic equipment. They also conducted body searches of the two Joint Mobile Group employees who worked there and searched their car. No one has been held accountable for these attacks.]

President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, may well have called the 9 March 2016 attack “absolutely outrageous” and may stated that the Kremlin was counting on local law enforcement to “take the most effective measures to find the perpetrators, in order to ensure the safety of human rights defenders and journalists”, but in reality this is more like a cover up than a call for effective investigations.

The actions taken against human rights defenders and their NGOs (such as through the foreign agent law – see also previous posts: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/russia/) are clear evidence as well as the recent closing of the United Nations’ human rights office in Moscow. A report on March 12 by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency said the Russian diplomatic mission in Geneva confirmed that a decision was made to close the mission in Moscow. Russian ambassador Aleksei Borodavkin was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying the UN has helped to create human rights institutions in Russia and “we do not see anything extraordinary” about the Moscow office being closed. (via: http://www.rferl.org/content/un-ohchr-moscow-office-closure-russia/27607266.html