Arrests for protests in Russia have grown increasingly rare since March 2022—that may mean a couple of different things
NOTE: These publicly available data points do not necessarily mean they reflect the true count. It can be a starting point for further research. The data may be accurate, but they may also charge people with alternate “crimes” that would make it look like the opposition to the war is nonexistent. It may mean that the state is not making all arrests publicly available too.
There is a precedent for data deception in Russia’s effort to control conversation about the war. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty wrote:
The court justified the decision by saying that "revealing the number of military losses during a war or special military operation in a peaceful period" can be classified as revealing military secrets, which could be considered a crime.
An example of past data deception can be found in 2020 and 2021 reported COVID death counts from Russia. The scale of death shown by the excess death percentage indicates that the state was making it appear that the pandemic was well-controlled within Russia when it was not. This could be for domestic reasons as much as for the foreign audience. This graph shows the difference between reported deaths related to COVID and the excess deaths (deaths over what we would expect for a normal year) by country.
These details mean that it is not inconceivable they could similarly limit data associated with anti-war protests. Considering this should not be taken to mean that these data are incorrect. They may reflect the reality, but we raise these potential ways the data can be misleading because it’s something we have seen in the past from the Russian state.