Saturday, December 8, 2018

Good News from Russia that Really Isn’t – Extremist Cases Decline Only After Putin Speaks

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 8 – After peaking at more than 100 cases a month in April and June 2018 and running above 70 the rest of the months of this year, the number of cases involving extremism charges fell to only 16 in October, a decline that has many celebrating a new liberality in Russian policy (

            In fact, the precipitous decline is less evidence of that than of the fact that the judicial system follows Vladimir Putin’s orders. On October 3, the Kremlin leader expressed his concern that Article 282 of the criminal code was being applied too often – and the number of cases sank (

                One can only welcome the fact that the Russian authorities are bringing fewer charges of extremism than they were, especially because most of them are either completely absurd or trumped up, but this latest indication that Russian law is only what Vladimir Putin wants it to be is damning because it means that what has gone down can go up whenever he wants. 

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