Staunton, August 30 – "A single center: has been directing the repression of Moscow protests this summer and thus not only bears full responsibility for what has taken place but can decide whether to intensify or ease official actions against protesters, according to a 9600-word study released today by the OVD-Info Group which tracks political repression.
While the authors do not say so in so many words, that “center” in the context of Russia today can only be the Kremlin of Vladimir Putin; and their conclusion after an exhaustive examination of the data makes it more difficult for the powers that be to shift responsibility to others (ovdinfo.org/reports/mgd-2019; summarized at newtimes.ru/articles/detail/184374).
The report, entitled The Moscow Experiment (in Russian), says that the summer of 2019 has been the most repressive in Russia since at least December 2011, with nearly 2700 protesters having been detained in the period from June 14 to August 31, compared to 3773 for all of 2012 and 3462 for all of 2017.
The authors document the charges lodged against the protesters, which ranged from “the completely classical” such as using force against representatives of the authorities to innovative ones including interfering with the work of election commissions and failure to be responsible for the raising of minor children.
In addition to those detained, the report says, there were several hundred more who were interrogated by the siloviki; and they may be subject to indictments of one kind or another in the future.
The repressive actions were carried out by “practically all the force structures” with regional and federal bodies being involved “simultaneously” from the interior ministry, the Center for Countering Extremis, the Russian Guard, the Investigative Committee, the Procuracy, the FSB, and the military commissariats.
But it is clear, the report says, that all of them were “to one degree or another” coordinated from “a single center.”