Putin’s Barbaric Axe Falls Again, and Again
Vladimir Putin continues his barbaric, Stalin-like purge of opposition figures high and low. From the most powerful judicial official to the lowliest student in Siberia, no one is safe from his murderous axe. If you merely lose you job or your place at univerisity, consider yourself lucky you are not simply shot dead.
Last Wednesday, not one but two judges of Russia’s Constitutional Court were forced to resign. Oleg Kozlovsky reports that Vladimir Yaroslavtsev and Anatoly Kononov were forced off the bench for expressing worries about the quality of Russian democracy and the independence of the courts. Yaroslavtsev gave an interview to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, while Kononov gave one to the Russian paper Sobesednik defending Yaroslavtsev and even daring to raise the subject of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Yaroslavtsev told the Spanish daily: “Nobody knows what [the FSB] will decide tomorrow. There is no consultation or discussion.”
So much for the separation of powers and the concept of judicial review in Russia. Looks like the only opinion that matters where the Russian constitution is concerned is Putin’s.
That same day, a student at Omsk State University in Siberia was expelled. Other Russia reports that Anton Zhebrun, an organizer for Russia’s most signficant liberal party Yabloko, was given the boot despite stellar grades because the political science student was viewed as an “extremist” by the adminsitration. OR reports: “Close relatives and friends of the twelve listed students say that they periodically receive phone calls from people claiming to be from the police, saying that serious hardships await the students if they don’t put a stop to their political activities.”
The Moscow Times reports:
Political analysts have speculated that control of the Constitutional Court is part of a Kremlin plan to help Prime Minister Vladimir Putin return to the presidency if elections are called earlier than 2012, when President Dmitry Medvedev’s term expires. Critics have lambasted a Medvedev-backed reform that replaces the current system in which the court’s judges elect the chief justice and his two deputies with a system in which the president nominates the trio and doubles their terms to six years, from the current three. The court’s 16 other judges serve until they are 70. Kononov, who is 62, was appointed in 1991 and his term would have ended in 2017.
In his Oct. 27 interview with Sobesednik, Kononov called Medvedev’s reform “undemocratic and disrespectful.”
And it goes without saying that Putin also wants desperately to control Russia’s young minds. Clearly, he’s prepared to go to any lengths, including murder, to achieve his ends. But he need not use his gun often. The nation of sheep he rules over are mostly only too willing to allow themselves to be led right into the meet grinder without raising a word of protest.