Russian police crackdown on Putin opposition
Today, the Russian Duma passed in second and third reading the so-called “Yarovaya-Ozerov Law on Terrorism,” a draconian measure that means not only that Vladimir Putin’s recent call for improved relations with the West was nothing more than “a special operation” but also–and more seriously–that he is preparing for war at home and abroad.
That is the judgment of Lev Ponomarev, a longtime human rights activist, who says that, in one sense, those pushing this legislation law are correct if Russia has indeed entered “a military period,” one when “it is possible to spit on the Constitution” in order to “oppose enemies.”
Polls show, he continues, that “about 50 percent of Russians are ready for war and ready to send their sons off to fight.” That of course means that bodies will be returning in large numbers just as they did during the fighting in Ukraine and in lesser numbers in Moscow’s Syrian campaign.
Thus, “the country is prepared for war and it is necessary to deal with ‘the fifth column’” at home.
What is striking, however, is that the Duma’s action comes on the heels of Putin’s declaration only last week that he wants to be friends and to have foreigners invest in Russia. If he signs this measure, Ponomarev says, “it will become clear that Putin in St. Petersburg only carried out a cover operation” and that no one should take his words there seriously.
Instead, the activist says, they should take seriously the fact that “mass purges of ‘the fifth column’ are beginning” and that more Russian aggression abroad can be expected in the coming weeks and months.
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