The human rights campaigner notes that Vladimir Putin recently spoke about “’taking care of the people’ as a key task for the country. Does this mean that the 175,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are not part of this people?” If that is the case, then the situation is even more dire than anyone can imagine.
Tragically, the cruel mistreatment of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is not the only sign that things are going very much in the wrong direction in the Russian Federation of late Putinism. Inn the last few days alone, there have been at least eight other developments that should be cause for real concern:
As part of their “patriotic education,” Russian school children are being taught how to disperse demonstrations ( and
· and ).
· Orthodox traditionalists express outrage at anime-style icons intended to draw in young people to the church ().
· More than 700 telephone bomb threats have disrupted the work of banks in Moscow alone in the last few days ().
· Russian entrepreneurs now acting more like the swashbucklers of the 15th century than corporate executives of the 20th ().
· Wage arrears are again to widespread that they are being reported not company-by-company but region-by-region ().
· One-fourth of all incomes in Russia are in the shadow or black economy, with more than 20.7 trillion rubles (300 billion US dollars) going untaxed and unmonitored by officials ( and ).
· And in an indication that many who live in Russia think they actually still live in the USSR, the Soviet citizenship movement in which residents declare themselves citizens of a country that no longer exists in order to ignore taxes and the law of the one of which they are is attracting ever more adherents ().