Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Rise of Stalinist Tactics in Russia

Three articles today in The New York Times raises red flags (no pun intended!) about Russia and its "legal system":  enough to raise the hairs on my neck.
The first one is about the friend and colleague Oleg Orlov, of murdered human rights activist Natalia Estimirova.  It has taken sixteen months for the trial to begin..and who is now accused and on trial?  Not the accused murderer.  "The authorities had charged Mr. Orlov with defamation because he had publicly pointed the finger at the man he believed was responsible for the murder: the Kremlin-installed leader of Chechnya. If convicted, Mr. Orlov could face as many as three years in prison."

The second article is about a jury being dismissed by the judge before it could deliver its verdict.  Jurors felt pressure, some were approached by police.  The quote I love the best is:  “Thank God such a juror did not deliver a verdict, a juror who felt he was under pressure,” Ms. Usacheva added. “Decisions involving the fate of another person cannot be made under the influence of fear or any other emotion.” This sounds like the rationals invented by Stalin where black is white if he says so and tortured logic regarding the means justifying the ends..read Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder.

The third article is about the rearrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky upon his release from seven years in prison for opposing Putin.  "[T]he Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement accusing other countries of trying to interfere with a domestic judicial matter."  This is also a tactic used by Stalin:  accuse its own citizens of treason by invoking international conspiracies.

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