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iStories (Important Stories) was founded in 2020 by Russian journalists Roman Anin and Olesya Shmagun in response to growing media crackdowns and concerns in Russia. The media outlet has published a number of high profile stoires, Since the start of Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine, iStories has focused on investigating crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine, including crimes of kidnapping of Ukrainian children and their forcible deportation to Russia.

The environment for the work of human rights defenders (HRDs) in the Russian Federation is difficult, especially for those who defend and promote the rights of LGBTI people, ethnic and religious minorities, refugees, as well as activists of the North Caucasus and the unlawfully annexed Crimean Peninsula. HRDs are often subjected to acts of harassment, surveillance, physical attacks, threat, raids and searches on their offices and homes, slander and smear campaigns, judicial harassment, arbitrary detention, and ill-treatment, as well as violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. There have also been cases where HRDs have been murdered as a result of their work.