Human Rights Watch says Russia has dramatically increased its repression of dissent in recent years.
Unveiling its damning report in Moscow, HRW said there was now “full alarm about autocratic rule”, with a growing clampdown on the internet following that already carried out against television.
The New York-based organisation also said Russia had embraced discrimination against gay people to appeal to conservative supporters.
“It’s been nearly a decade since I have visited Moscow. And it’s with great disappointment that I see the worst crack down since the Soviet era. The radical reduction of public debate and the airing of dissenting views is the foundation of the authoritarian rule and unaccountable adventurism that lie behind Russia’s acute problems today,” Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth told a news conference in the Russian capital.
HRW has also recently accused Ukraine's government of using cluster bombs in populated areas in the eastern conflict zone.
A handful of cases had been confirmed, Roth said. He added that this did not justify actions carried out by pro-Russian separatists.
Kyiv denies the allegations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has said its own monitors had found no evidence that government troops had used cluster munitions.