Staunton, August 4 – Although just put online, a petition on Change.org calling on the Russian judicial authorities to put an end to political terror against protesters in Moscow has already approached 50,000 signatories (change.org/p/прекратить-уголовное-дело-против-участников-мирной-акции-27-июля-2019-года-в-москве).
The petition was prepared by Novaya gazeta and that paper’s political editor, Kirill Martynov explains in a commentary why it is so important that the authorities listen to the population and change course before the political crisis in Moscow extends to Russia as a whole (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2019/08/04/81491-ostanovit-besporyadki).
“Eighty-four investigators in Moscow are toiling day and night,” he says, “to condemn citizens for participation in the peaceful protest of July 27” which the authorities want to label a criminally punishable “mass disorder” even though there were no actions on that date by protesters which qualify as such under the terms of Russian law.
“It is clear to us,” Martynov says, “that the case about mass disorders in the absence of such disorders is politically motivated and does not have any relation to Russian laws.” Its only goal is “to frighten people and isolate the political opposition,” the pursuit of which is intended to strip Russians of their constitutional rights.
That pursuit and not the actions of the protesters is a real example of “political terrorism,” he continues, adding that “the citizens of Russia must make political terror as difficult as possible” lest it spread and make impossible “our survival as a society and in the final analysis kept together as a country.”
According to the political editor, “there are no precedents in history when terror directed at the people served as the basis for the flourishing of the state and the creation of a stable political system.” There are many precedents for the conclusion that such use of terror leads to exactly the opposite.
“We have legal means of expressing our attitude toward what is going on,” he says. “The political crisis in Moscow must be resolved in a civilized fashion, and the first step toward that is the ending of the criminal persecution of participants in peaceful protests. The situation in the capital has decisive importance for Russia as a whole.”
“If the course toward terror is adopted her, it will then spread to all regions where people are defending their rights in the course of peaceful demonstrations from Arkhangelsk Oblast to Daghestan and Siberia.” The Procuracy General has the authority to stop “illegal prosecutions of people for their political convictions.” It must use it.
If the Change.org petition attracts hundreds of thousands of signatories, the Procuracy and those in power behind it will find it more difficult not to take the necessary actions.