In Putin’s Russia, Citizens most of all Fear the “Police”
Here’s what happened to Oborona opposition faction leader Oleg Kozlovsky last week:
First, he was illegally arrested for doing nothing more than asserting his Constitutional right to peacefully assemble in Triumfalnaya Ploshchad in Moscow.
Then, he was illegally beaten while in police custody as he protested (peacefully) the illegality of his arrest.
Next, he was held illegally for nine hours in police custody (the law allows for only three).
Finally, he was indicted on the signature of a police officer who had nothing whatsoever to do with his arrest and therefore could not have been a party to it, and on a pre-printed form prepared by bureaucrats miles away.
In other words, in the space of just a few hours Oleg had his legal rights trampled upon by the Russian police who are supposed to protect those rights not once, not twice, not three times but four separate times. More than a hundred other activists were treated similarly by the Russian “police” and Oleg saw a reporter get his arm broken by these thugs for trying to cover and report on the their atrocities.
Meanwhile, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was telling rock legend Yuri Shevchuk that Russia has “no future without democracy.” And at the same time, he was pushing a new law through the Duma which would allow the FSB to assume policing duties and to lock up anyone who attempts to organize civic action for more than two weeks without charges or any right of resort to the courts — in other words, legalized torture. And then for the coup de grace, Putin shut down all debate in the Duma over the police atrocities.
Russia is now through the looking glass. It is a fully barbarous state run by a mafia of ignorant thugs who are no more hesitant to utter ridiculous falsehoods than were the rulers of the USSR. Putin sounds not one bit different muttering platitudes about democracy than did the crusty old men of the Soviet Union, and the world is not fooled. It knows that actions speak louder than words, and when it seems Putin liquidating the rule of law and cracking skulls it cannot but remember the worst horrors of the Communist dictatorship.
Meanwhile, as we report below in today’s issue, U.S. President Barack Obama stands exposed. Obama has totally failed to stand up for the values of freedom and democracy and for the oppressed people of Russia, and has clearly transmitted the message to Russia’s dictator, just as Neville Chamberlain once did to Adolf Hitler, that the West will ignore Russia’s domestic crackdown as long as Russia does nothing to attack them. This policy will only breed more and more aggression from Russia until Obama, just like Chamberlain before him, is forced to confront a rampaging, rabid Russian bear.