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Sunday, April 2, 2023

The Kremlin rejects Democratic decorations


In Russia, after leaving the Council of Europe and numerous international agreements, they have decided to no longer care about the democratic façade of the country, according to experts interviewed by the Russian service media.

According to them, this explains in particular the recent approaches by the Russian authorities to world-renowned human rights organizations and independent media.

Recall that the day before, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office recognized the Latvian-based publication Meduza as an undesirable organization.

Shortly before that, the same fate was reserved for the American Sakharov Foundation. Now, for any cooperation with them, Russian citizens risk up to 4 years in prison.

In addition, one of Russia’s oldest NGOs, the Moscow Helsinki Group, was recently liquidated, which academician Andrei Sakharov helped to found, and the Sakharov Center in the capital was deprived of all premises it he had been using for about 30 years.

“In this way, Putin is trying to keep control over public opinion inside the country”

This is a series of unfortunate events, but, alas, quite expected, says Andrei Zubov, deputy chairman of the People’s Freedom Party, professor of history. According to him, after last February 24, when the Kremlin launched a war of aggression against Ukraine, Putin quickly decided to part with all “pseudo-democratic decorations that previously covered the essence of the regime”.

“These decorative elements were the name of Sakharov, the Moscow Helsinki Group associated with the memory of Lyudmila Mikhailovna Alekseeva, the Sakharov Center, etc.,” he added in an interview with Russian service media. “Now they are of no use to the authorities, and the further they go, the worse this process will get. In this way, Putin is trying to keep control over public opinion in the country. where he loses the war in Ukraine, condemned and despised by almost the whole world, his administration could think of nothing else.

Yes, what is happening is unpleasant, but it leaves no illusions that this is a criminal regime, a direct continuation of the communist, Leninist-Stalinist era, says Andrey Zubov. “The interlude linked to the era of Gorbachev and Yeltsin is over, and no one in power wants to remember it anymore. Thus, facing the world, a totalitarian, aggressive and malevolent regime appears in all its ugliness. Therefore, the global community must find a way to respond adequately to the outrages it commits.

At the same time, as it seems to politicians and historians, having eliminated human rights activists and the opposition, the regime will not stop there. According to his predictions, the wheel of repression will turn more and more.

“Let me remind you that at first Nazi Germany also withdrew from the League of Nations (nobody expelled it, unlike the Soviet Union), then the repressions began to take place. step up,” he gave an example. – Now Putin has withdrawn Russia from all international conventions. The story repeats itself. And the flywheel of repression has only to be set in motion, it will turn by inertia. It is not a figurative expression, but an objective law.

If the regime does not collapse in the near future, which it could well do, then mass repressions are not far off, and we will see them very soon, the People’s Freedom Party vice president concluded.

“Moscow did not accidentally withdraw from all European conventions”

All recent discriminatory actions by the Russian authorities against human rights organizations and independent media should be seen as links in the same chain, in turn, underlined the head of the independent project of defense of human rights “Support for political prisoners. Memorial” Sergei Davidis. According to him, this reflects the general tendency to destroy the remains of decorations, “which were previously designed to camouflage the nature of Putin’s dictatorship”.

“It is no coincidence that Moscow has withdrawn from all European conventions, even turning away from the rhetoric linked to human rights”, specified the interlocutor of the media. – In the context of the protracted war in Ukraine, it is important for the Kremlin to consolidate society around its stated, albeit vaguely formulated, goals. In this sense, we can expect a further intensification of repressions, because no consolidation is really taking place. Therefore, according to the logic of the authorities, it is still necessary to tighten the screw. They don’t know how to think otherwise.”

In the meantime, the repressions in Russia are always selective compared to at least what is happening in neighboring Belarus, argues Sergei Davidis. According to him, this is due to the fact that the Belarusian society turned out to be more united and showed more intolerance towards the Lukashenko regime.

“If the situation in Russia changes in this direction, and Putin sees a threat to his position, then much more massive repressions are possible in the country, including against certain social groups of the population, as was the case in Russia. Stalin era. Although the beginning of the movement in this direction is already posed: why not social groups, for example, the Crimean Tatars, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hizb ut-Tahrir, who are under unprecedented pressure on society. It would therefore be naive to believe that after dealing with the opposition, human rights activists and liberals, the authorities will not attack other sections of the population. Why then create a huge apparatus of power? Don’t really disperse it…”, concluded the head of the independent human rights project “Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial”.

According to the Proekt publication, in 2018 the number of law enforcement agencies was about 2.6 million people (about 2% of the country’s total population and 3.2% of its working-age population). At the same time, the forces for the protection of public order already outnumbered the military by almost a third. In recent years, about 30% of the budget (excluding closed items) has been spent on security forces, and their salaries are regularly increased.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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