Special Extra: Andrei Piontkovsky — Neo-Soviet Dissident

Andrei Piotovsky

Andrei Piontkovsky

PNR Newswire reports:

In an echo of the Soviet era, Andrei Piontkovsky, a Hudson Institute Visiting Fellow, has been summoned back to his native Russia, accused of violating a law that that has widely expanded the scope of illegal “extremist activities.” So-called extremist acts now include “abasement of national dignity” and “slander of a public official.”

Piontkovsky, described by the Washington Post as “one of Russia’s most pungent political commentators,” has harshly criticized Russian leader Vladimir Putin in his Novaya Gazeta column and in his books, including Putin’s Soul  (Hudson Institute, 2006) and Russian Identity  (Hudson Institute, 2008). In a profile of Piontkovsky, the Wall Street Journal noted:  “Civil-rights groups said the pressure on Piontkovsky was by far the highest-profile move to silence a Kremlin critic.”  During a first hearing in September 2007, prosecutors failed to prove that material in Piontkovsky’s books constituted extremist activity. As a next step, the circuit judge sent Another Look into Putin’s Soul to a panel of “experts” to determine whether the material is indeed, by Russian law, extremist.  Piontkovsky faces trial again on Friday, December 5th. He will depart for Moscow immediately following a Hudson Institute panel discussion of his new book, Russian Identity. The event will be held at noon at Hudson’s Washington office. For more information about attending this event, please visit www.hudson.org. Piontkovsky will be available to answer questions about his trial and the state of Russian politics.  Hudson Institute is a non-partisan policy research organization dedicated to innovative research and analysis that promotes global security, prosperity, and freedom.

4 responses to “Special Extra: Andrei Piontkovsky — Neo-Soviet Dissident

  1. Putin & Co. are unimaginatively trapped in Stalin’s old playbook. Their options are either murder wayward journalists which they have blatantly done or try them in rigged show trail courts on ludicrous charges like “abasement of national dignity” . Either antiquated method isn’t going to work out well for them in the west in the age of the internet. But, they know that and don’t care because the home crowd aren’t are threat to them.

    As long as Russians hide under their rocks maintaining their willful ignorance and indifference they will be forever trapped in their uncivil corrupted society. I have no respect for another generation of Russians that hand over Putin to their children.

  2. Don’t go back, Mr. P! We all know what happened to foreign service officials recalled to Moscow from USSR embassies and trade representations abroad back in Stalin’s time. These days, it may not be the Lubyanka cellar on your return but I’d lay even odds on Chita.
    Let any trial be held in absentia.

  3. david, my guess, he’s probably safe returning for now with a fine and maybe a few days in jail, that’s even doubtful with his US think tank credentials . Watch for his trial get postponed.

    When Putin trashes the Russian constitution soon without a whimper is when the serious gulag/mass grave bulldozers can start their engines again. That’s when no one will return on an “enemy of the state” summons.

    It’s all so stupid, so unnecessary. Russians had better take it to the streets soon. Time is running out for them.

  4. Amazing – Piontkovsky was found not guilty on all counts. More details here: http://grani.ru/Society/Media/Freepress/m.144969.html

    The court appointed philological expertise that didn’t find criminal incitement on the basis of national origin or religion. Piontkovsky’s attorney insisted that the court reviewed the case and as part of the process announced the results of the experts’ opinion.

    Once the court agreed, prosecution withdrew the indictment. The court, therefore dismissed the case (the article doesn’t mention anything about “with prejudice” or “without prejudice”; I am not even sure if such concept is known to Russian justice).

    Piontkovsky called the experts’ conclusion “the first step on the way to restore freedom of speech in the country. FSB and prosecution, armed with the new law against extremism tried to conduct show trial, creating a precedent of criminal conviction for criticizing the state”. Piontkovsky thinks that the expert opinion pulled the “punishing sword” from persecuting apparatus.

    Note: I realize that just knowing two languages is not good enough to be a good translator. However, I hope to be good enough to deliver the overall sense of the article. All errors are of course, mine! And any corrections are welcome.


    Thanks for the great link! Just goes to show Putin can in fact be defeated by determined courageous opposition.

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