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Putin's Kiss

Meet Masha, a 19-year-old who grew up in the Putin era, on her journey through the Kremlin-created Nashi youth movement. This coming-of-age tale focuses on Masha's personal political struggle and paints a grim picture of the Russian political climate. Many see Putin as the one leading Russia back to being a global superpower. Masha grows up with this belief, wholeheartedly supporting Putin's policies and seeking to rid Russia of what Nashi believes are Russia's "enemies"—the political opposition, investigative journalists, and human rights defenders. But when Masha, a journalist, starts socialising with colleagues in the circle of her friend, investigative journalist OIeg Kashin, she also begins to question Nashi and its leaders. Soon Masha finds herself closer with this circle of friends than her Nashi comrades. And ultimately, she faces a choice between the two groups. A shocking event pushes Masha to take a decision in the end, highlighting the costs of her internal struggle as well as the ever-increasing political stakes in Russia today. Courtesy of Dogwoof.
(Official Selection Sundance Film Festival 2012 and International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2011)

Human Rights Watch has documented the Kremlin's efforts to stifle and marginalise civil society throughout the Putin era. Human Rights Watch reported on how the federal government uses various laws and inspections to drown nongovernmental organisations in excessive bureaucracy, particularly those that work on controversial issues. Human Rights Watch also documents beatings and killings of human rights defenders and investigative journalists and demands that the perpetrators be held accountable. Human Rights Watch also seeks to draw international attention to the work of Russia's civil society, including through working with the photographer Platon, whose photo portraits of Russian activists were featured in newspapers and magazines worldwide.