Staunton, February 28 – Russians have long accepted that their supreme leader must be beyond the reach of the legal system or even criticism, Roman Skomorokhov says; but they now face the rise of a larger group of people at the top of the Russian political pyramid who want to enjoy the same “untouchable” status.
The Voyennoye obozreniye commentator notes that deputies in the Duma have long been taking steps to put themselves in this position and that officers of the security services are also trying to put themselves beyond the reach of the law or at least soften its application to them (topwar.ru/136676-kult-vlasti-i-kasty-neprikasaemyh-sleduyuschiy-etap-razvitiya-rossii.html).
In recent months, Skomorokhov says, there have been “dozens of cases across the country” in which officers of the FSB and other security agencies have either avoided charges, been able to bring them against their accusers and escaping justice, or being let off with a slap on the wrist for crimes that would bring what the Russians call “real jail time.”
All this recalls, the Voyennoye obozreniye commentator says, the tsarist system when those in the upper strata (sosloviya) were judged by entirely different legal codes than those applied to the overwhelming majority of the population in the lower ones. Russia isn’t in 1937 people like to say. No, it is something even more archaic, Skomorokhov says
It is too bad in fact that this is not 1937, he continues. Then no one was beyond being charged. “Anyone could be taken.” But now, that isn’t the case: The new tsar is above the law of course, but he has apparently decided to allow those who are his immediate servants to enjoys some of the benefits he does to ensure their loyalty.
That leads to two questions, Skomorokhov says. How many people will be given such an above the law status? And how long will everyone else be willing to put up with this? Russian history suggests there are few limits on the former but quite severe ones as far as the latter is concerned.
“People say that we have another six years of stability ahead of us,” the commentator for the influential military affairs portal says. “We will see for whom” there will be stability and for whom there won’t be.
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