For the benefit of those who are not long-time readers of this blog, Oleg Kozlovsky is the leader of an opposition group in Russia called “Oborona” (“Defense”).
Several months ago, just as he was about to take part in the formation of new shadow parliament organization called the National Assembly, he was drafted into the Army although he was both medically and educationally except. The Washington Post, among others, reported on the illegality of his treatment, and then gave him an op-ed to explain the situation further. Oleg recently opened an English-language blog where he lays out further details (he’s also been arrested numerous times on spurious charges, often preemptively to keep him from participating in protest rallies).
Now Oleg’s blog reports that Oborona’s coordinator in the city of Kemerova, one Dimitri Solovyev, has been arrested and charged with “extremism” because of five posts he wrote on his Russian language Live Journal blog.
This is the same thing that happened a few months ago to a guy called Savva Terentyev, who merely wrote a comment on another person’s blog attacking Russian police as stormtroopers. But there are two big differences: The language Terentyev used was much stronger (he recently got a one-year suspended sentence) and Terentyev wasn’t part of an organized political movement (more like a flaky artist type). So this action by the Kremlin is something new and ominous. The Moscow Times has now also picked up the story.
Here’s a translation of one of Solovyev’s posts (staff translation, corrections welcome). It deals with the question of whether the Russian opposition should cooperate with extreme right-wing groups like those led by the fanatical “national bolshevik” Eduard Limonov, because they are among the most fearless in challenging the Kremlin, or whether it should spurn them on moral grounds. Solovyev writes:
I’d say at the outset that I don’t have the slightest sympathy for the nationalist cause, neither for Hitler’s version nor for our domestic reincarnations, such as the “Slavic Union.” But all their ilk put together are a mere kindergarten compared to the KGB (and the various other appellations that entity has been given over the course of time). Germans today have many monuments and memorials dedicated to remembering the atrocities committed by Hitler. Germany has gone through a long period of repentance.
But this cannot be said of Russia! The crimes committed under communism surpass the crimes of fascism by any measure. The crimes of the KGB are far greater than those of Hitler’s SS. And where is the repentance? There is none. In fact, it is even worse than that because the modern embodiment of the KGB has seized power in today’s Russia and is continuing to commit new crimes.
The Russian charging document against Solovyev is here. Under the new “Law Against Extremism,” which bans criticism of government leaders, Solovyev could get up to two years in a prison and a massive fine should he be convicted. Kozlovsky reports that the charges were filed on August 11th and the blogger’s apartment has already been searched and his computer files confiscated.