Editorial: drainage of Bolotnaya
18.10.12 13:00 By Gazeta.ru editorial
Photo: RIA "Novosti"
In less than a year Russia has made a way from light liberalization to a reactionary political stance. The criminal case against one of the opposition leaders Sergey Udaltsov has become the symbol of the new reactionary époque.
Russia's Investigative Committee
Checks in Udaltsov's apartment were conducted after the Kremlin-run TV Channel NTV aired a controversial anti-opposition film "Anatomy of protest 2" which, shot with a hidden camera, shows a meeting of a man who is claimed to be Udaltsov with Georgian political officials. During the meeting they discussed different ways to start a revolution in Russia and take power.
This is no doubt the main political criminal process of Putin's presidency.
In contrast to the main political case of Putin's first term as president, the Khodorkovsky case, the Udaltsov case is not even disguised by economic reasons. The criminal case against Udaltsov was initiated under the articles 30 and 212 of Russia's Criminal Code, "Preparing mass riots."
Starting a criminal case on the basis of a TV film takes us back to the Stalin-epoch, when criminal cases were fabricated on the basis of articles in newspapers. After the film "Anatomy of protest 2" was aired, Russia's parliament demanded that the investigative committee look into the facts narrated in the film. The check did not take much time.
Less than a year ago mass protest rallies broke out in Russia after parliamentary elections that many claimed rigged. The Russian authorities, fearing further activation of the opposition, decided to take some steps towards liberalization. They simplified the rules to register parties, giving opposition parties a chance to be registered. Also they returned direct governors elections, though with some municipal filters. However,
when Putin came back to power in March, he decided to take revenge on all the liberal steps that were taken by his predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev.
There were bills toughening punishment for protesters, the bills about foreign spies and slander. Criminal cases were initiated against protesters who came to rally on May 6 at Bolotnaya square. There was a criminal case against Pussy Riot which seemed like a show trial for the whole opposition movement.
The case against Udaltsov takes this clear political line, drawn by the government, to a whole new level.
It's worth mentioning that
the Investigative committee announced the criminal case against Udaltsov just three days before the elections to the Coordinate Council of the opposition. There could not have been any clearer signal for participants in the elections.
One could only guess as to the consequences of this reactionary political line which has now been implemented in Russia. We do not know how far this revenge will go. But the one thing that is clear for sure is that after Medvedev and Putin swapped jobs on September 24, 2011 we having the most reactionary power in 60 years.
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