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Russia Has Political Prisoner Deja Vu (Op-Ed)

In August the Chronicle of Current Events tellurian rights website published the latest list of Russia’s domestic prisoners: 217 antithesis politicians, tellurian rights activists, environmental activists, eremite believers and bloggers.

For anyone who lived by the political repressions of the Soviet Union, the list evokes a stab of deja vu. With the exception of people who committed their “crimes” on the Internet — that didn’t exist during the Soviet era — roughly all of today’s domestic prisoners could have been put behind bars in the Soviet Union too. Alexander Byvshev, a teacher from the Orlov region, would have gotten a jail judgment for his dual poems in support of Ukrainian independence. And Liza Tsvetkova, who worked at an aircraft bureau in Taganrog, would have been detained for distributing leaflets condemning military brutality.

All that has altered is the legalese. During the Soviet era, Tsvetkova would have been charged with “slandering the Soviet state,” though now she has been indicted of the conspicuous crime of “inciting loathing or animosity … opposite the social organisation of police officers.”

There were 280 names on the final list of Soviet domestic prisoners in 1986. But the Soviet list enclosed people detained in all the Soviet republics, not customarily Russia. That means that the number of political prisoners per capita in Russia currently is many aloft than the number behind in the Soviet Union.

Of course, conjunction list is complete. In the Soviet Union distant some-more dissidents were in prison than tellurian rights activists knew about. And today information about a prisoner infrequently becomes accessible customarily several years after his or her arrest. This is loyal generally of anyone indicted of treason, as those cases are customarily classified.

For example, customarily recently it became famous that for more than dual years a radio operative named Gennady Kravtsov has been hold in pretrial apprehension underneath the charge of “high treason.” What did he do? In 2010 he sent his resume and a pursuit query to a Swedish firm.

A long time ago, Kravtsov did work on classified projects, though his confidence standing had been revoked and he’d been privileged for foreign travel. It’s not transparent because the FSB motionless to charge Kravtsov. Most likely, it is not connected with his actions though rather a demonstration that Russia is reverting to the Soviet mania with secrecy.

A comparison of the many new list with prior versions shows some unfortunate trends. In less than a year the number of political prisoners has doubled, and since Mar the repressions have intensified. Every month 12 people are charged with domestic crimes. And the sentences are flourishing harsher: In March the average judgment was 5 years, 7 months, though now it’s 6 years and two months.

Even some-more unfortunate is this: For the initial time given the Soviet period, people have been jailed for private conversations. Crimean Tatar Mustafa Yagyayev complained about the annexation of Crimea in a review with the staff of an accounting department. They denounced him to the FSB and Yagyayev was given a two-year dangling sentence.

Like in the Soviet Union, currently it is tough to paint a portrait of the “typical” Russian domestic prisoner. They change severely by social status, turn of education, contention and age. Gleb Fetisov, a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences and a banker, became a target when he motionless to get concerned in politics and headed adult the Green Alliance environmental party.

The “crimes” committed are as sundry as the people. For example, Vladimir Zavarkin, a deputy of the city legislature in the city of Suoyarvi in Karelia, criticized the Karelian authorities at a convene and is now indicted of inciting “separatism.”

Famous St. Petersburg artist Pyotr Pavlensky orderly a street opening final year called “Freedom.” As partial of the opening he burnt several tires and imitated the actions of the Kiev protesters. Pavlensky is indicted of vandalism and “desecration of a bridge,” and is confronting a four-year jail term.

Twenty-two-year-old complement director Kirill Silivonchik in Nizhny Novgorod done one criticism on social media and reposted a political cartoon. That was adequate to get a two-year jail term.

The list of political prisoners includes managers of IT companies, writers, psychologists, journalists, sales clerks, farmers and even soldiers who refused to fight in eastern Ukraine. They are an almost ideal amicable image of contemporary Russia.

Despite the massive promotion debate and the scandalous 86 percent support for the Kremlin’s unfamiliar policy, rancour is flourishing inside society, and sizable numbers of people are prepared to take movement to regain the rights now denied them. This includes the right to representation in government and to demonstrate their opinion at demonstrations or in an eccentric press.

There is a desperate need for a dialog between the Kremlin and the opposition. It’s tough to say if the Kremlin is prepared for it. But the ball is in their court.

Victor Davidoff is a Moscow-based eccentric publisher and editor of the tellurian rights website Chronicle of Current Events (ixtc.org).

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/529897.html