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About Tanya Lokshina

Tanya Lokshina is the Russia program director at Human Rights Watch.

Articles by Tanya Lokshina

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

In Russia’s North Caucasus, an unprecedented, peaceful protest

In Ingushetia, people have come out to protest land transfer to neighbouring Chechya. For now, the Kremlin is listening. 

A torture scandal makes Russia pay attention

Graphic footage of a prisoner being tortured has gripped the Russian public. But the lawyer who helped expose this torture needs state protection.

A hyperlink to absurdity

The implementation of the Kremlin’s law on “undesirable organisations” is reaching farcical proportions.

Victim of Chechnya’s anti-LGBT purge seeks justice

But will the Russian authorities deliver on their pledges to Investigate?

In Chechnya, a ruthless strongman orders family reunification

Ramzan Kadyrov wants to reunite Chechnya’s divorced couples. His initiative could only put already vulnerable women at grave risk.

Pro-Ukrainian blogger disappears in separatist-controlled area of eastern Ukraine

A Ukrainian blogger working inside the so-called Donetsk People's Republic went missing on 2 June. If the separatist authorities know his location, they should speak out. 

Anti-LGBT violence in Chechnya: when filing “official complaints” isn’t an option

The Chechen authorities are conducting a vicious operation against men suspected of being gay. The Kremlin should not only condemn these actions, but the culture of impunity that accompanies them. 

The crossing

Life continues across the "neutral zone" between Ukraine's separatist territories and government-controlled areas, but only just.  

Tyranny versus a village man in Chechnya

After exposing the truth behind Chechnya's reconstruction in his home village, Ramazan Dzhalaldinov has found himself on the run in Russia.

Raw fear in separatist-controlled Donetsk

-040.jpgFighting and torture continue to rack eastern Ukraine. 



New confirmation of secret detention allegations in Ukraine

Evidence on the use of secret detention by Ukraine’s security services requires further investigation from the authorities.

A law beyond improvement

Defining “political activity” may seem like an academic exercise, but in Russia, it is an existential one.


A refugee family’s ordeal in Russia

The Russian authorities’ attitude to refugees fleeing ISIS falls short of the compassion these people deserve.


Russian civil society deemed ‘undesirable’

A new Russian bill on ‘undesirable organisations’ has been endorsed today which will allow the government to ban foreign NGOs. But are they the real targets?


Задолго до «интернационализации»: Хьюман Райтс Вотч и сотрудничество с местными партнерами в России

На фоне кризисной ситуации с правами человека в стране, сотрудничество Хьюман Райтс Вотч с российскими правозащитными организациями продолжает играть ключевую роль в отстаивании прав и свобод. English

Long before “internationalization”: Human Rights Watch and local collaborations in Russia

Despite a hostile climate and many different challenges, the collaborations of Human Rights Watch with local Russian organizations continue to be the key for making real change. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the InternationalizationРу́сский

From the Ukrainian frontline: despatch 28 May 2014

Central and western Ukraine may have elected a president, but the southeast of the country is a war zone, in all but name.


Russia's 2013: the year in human rights

The amnesty, presidential pardon and resulting ‘celebrity releases’ might understandably overshadow the rest of 2013, says Tanya Lokshina. But it's far too early to suggest they underpin a significant improvement in the rights situation in Russia.

Which way?

‘NGO’ has become a dirty word in Russia. The organisations most committed to helping Russia develop a meaningful civil society have become pariahs, branded as ‘foreign agents.’ Under the tightened screws, we are asking the question: ‘Do NGOs in Russia have any future?’

Russian rights at the crossroads

Anna Sevortian and Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch present a new week-long series on openDemocracy Russia

Natalya Estemirova – murdered, not forgotten

Three years ago the indomitable Natalya Estemirova was murdered in Chechnya. Her killers remain at large, and arbitrary executions of oppositional figures have remained a tool of power across the North Caucasus. Here, Tatyana Lokshina, Alexander Cherkasov and Igor Kalyapin, three of Russia’s leading human rights defenders review a deteriorating situation, and how address it

Shrugging for Putin: Russia's flawed elections

Russia holds parliamentary elections on Sunday, but with most of the important questions already well answered, there is little in the way of pre-election suspense. Tanya Lokshina writes on crows, apathy and a growing number for whom Putin’s soft authoritarianism is already yesterday’s story.

Russian TV: a different truth for east and west?

Russia’s 9 time zones are often exploited by TV management to pull controversial programmes, but the internet has changed the rules of the game. A recent film about kidnap victims in Chechnya was shown in the Far East, but not in European Russia. The ensuing outcry and internet activity show that people have had enough of censorship, says Tanya Lokshina

Caucasian prisoners (or how not to deal with militancy in Dagestan)

The southern republic of Dagestan is now Russia’s most violent flashpoint. Besieged by militants from one side, the republic is no better served by its security services on the other. Indeed, the brutality and lawlessness of these government forces actually risks motivating yet more young men to ‘go to the forest’ and join the fighters.

Chechnya: choked by headscarves

In Chechnya there is official support for attacks on women when they are considered to have ‘flouted’ Islamic rules by not wearing a headscarf or covering up enough. Tanya Lokshina listened to some of the women’s despairing accounts.

Natasha Estemirova: one year on

On 15 July 2009 Natasha Estemirova was kidnapped outside her flat in Grozny, bundled into a car, driven away and shot. One year later Tanya Lokshina still grieves for her, reflecting how difficult it is to come to terms with her death

The Black Widows of Dagestan: Media Hype and Genuine Harm

On April 9 2010, after explosions in the Moscow metro killed 39 people, rumours were circulated of 1,000 ‘black widows’ who had been recruited by the militants. When the press published the names of 22, Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch found that she knew some of these dangerous women : a seamstress whose real crime was being a human rights worker, a pious young mother whose husband had been tortured in the ‘6th Department’...

President Medvedev summons Russia’s human rights workers

On 19 May, at a meeting with the main human rights organizations working in the republics of the North Caucasus, President Medvedev enjoined the local authorities to work with the NGOs to enforce the rule of law and tackle abuses of power by the security forces. Tanya Lokshina, of Human Rights Watch’s Russia Office, who was there, intends to hold the president to his words

Grozny: Rebuilt, Fearful and (Almost) Forgotten by the West

Downtown Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, is ablaze with lights and full of chic shops now. But the paralysing fear remains. Human Rights Watch’s Tanya Lokshina and her Memorial colleagues tell a rare visitor from the West about the kidnappings, about the relatives too fearful to complain...

Moscow protests: Groundhog Day in Triumfalnaya Square

Tanya Lokshina, Russia researcher for Human Rights Watch, attended a recent demonstration in her professional capacity and was detained by the police three times in thirty minutes. She gives a graphic description of the evening’s events.

Natalia Estemirova, champion of ordinary Chechens

Natalia Estemirova






Natalia Estemirova was Chechnya's great champion of human rights until her kidnap and murder last month. On the 40th day after her death, her friend Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch commemorates a uniquely courageous and selfless woman.

Chechnya: the torchings

Human Rights Watch today publishes a report What Your Children Do Will Touch Upon You, a study of punitive house burning by the authorities in Chechnya.  In this summary Tanya Lokshina documents how family property is burnt down and lives destroyed in attempts to force alleged insurgents to surrender.

‘Wahhabi’ village in Dagestan

As human rights violations escalate in the North Caucasus, Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch visits Dagestan, supposedly riven by the struggle between ‘Wahhabis' and the authorities. She visits the so-called ‘Wahhabi' village of Gudben. 

Dagestan: curse of the sixth department

The Dagestani' Interior Ministry's sixth department, unable to catch the alleged terrorists they call ‘Wahhabis,' torture pious young men until they confess to anything. Human Rights Watch's Tanya Lokshina gives this harrowing report on one of most turbulent republics in Russia's Northern Caucasus
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