Staunton, September 15 – As the Russian authorities make ever more absurd charges against ever more individuals and groups and routinely fail in their responsibilities to defend the constitutional rights of their citizens, the question arises: is there anyone left to defend Russians being persecuted by the powers that be? The answer unfortunately is that there may soon not be.
The cases range from that of Ekaterina Vologzheninova who is being charged with crimes for “undesirable likes” on Facebook because she links to Memorial and International Amnesty (nr2.com.ua/News/politics_and_society/Prestupnyy-umysel-materi-odinochki-106108.html) to separatist charges against those demanding Moscow follow the Russian constitution (grani.ru/Society/Media/Freepress/m.244186.html) to the failure of officials to investigate the murder of mullahs and imams (islamrf.ru/news/russia/rusopinions/37607/
She is especially concerned by the fact that lawyers are protesting this development, and she argues that “the solidarity of the attorney community appear [to her] to be a chimera,” in just the same way that “the solidarity of citizens is.” The future is thus not bright for the defense of the rights of everyone.
One consequence of this may be that specific groups in the population may seek to cultivate their own corps of lawyers. One of the first that may do so is the Muslim community which has watched as ever more of its publications has been declared extremist and ever more of its leaders killed without the murderers being identified and brought to justice.
In a comment to the Kavkazskaya politika portal, Leonid Syukiyaynin, one of Russia’s leading specialists on Islam who now works at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, urges Muslims to form just such a detachment of lawyers to defend their interests (kavpolit.com/articles/muslim-19854/