Unusual suspects


Russia’s judicial statistics for the first half of this year neatly reflect life under the country’s military dictatorship in the second year of the war in Ukraine. This is a country where service in the military can provide criminals with a get-out-of-jail-free card both before and after their conviction, while long jail sentences can result from social media posts. The courts’ new-found indulgence for violent crime is just one of the six main trends suggested by the latest justice data. Back in January, Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, which investigates serious crimes, suggested sending recently naturalised Russian citizens to the front as a matter of priority. In the first six months of 2023 alone, Russian courts tried more than 3,000 cases involving violations of immigration laws and residency rules, a steep rise on the total from the whole of last year.

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