Russia passes new amnesty law that could free prisoners
18 December 2013 Last updated at 22:38 GMT
Russian parliament has approved an amnesty law which could lead to the release of some of the country's best-known prisoners, including Pussy Riot and the Greenpeace Arctic protestors.
The law is being seen as an attempt to ease Western concerns about Russia's human rights record, with the Winter Olympics in Sochi coming up early next year.
But critics point out that it does not change the underlying system, which allows for the jailing of protestors in the first place.
Daniel Sandford reports.