Sunday, August 16, 2020

Kremlin Gave Direct Order for Prosecution of Prominent Bashkir Activist

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 13 – Vladimir Putin may not have enough time to supervise Russia’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic; but apparently, he and his aides have enough to make decisions about which activists will be charged with what crimes and how many years in the camps they will be subject to.

            That conclusion is suggested by Aleksey Zakharov, a lawyer who is defending Ayrat Dilmukhametov, a prominent Bashkir opposition figure who is accused of separatism, faces up to 12 years in the camps and has been identified as a prisoner of conscience by Memorial (

            Following a hearing in this long-running case, Zakharov said that “the order for the pursuit of the criminal charges against Ayrat came from the Russian Presidential Administration, from the administration of internal policy.” He added that he had been so informed by others whom he wouldn’t name of that fact.

            At the latest hearing in his case, Dilmukhametov himself made another important declaration about the nature of the criminal justice system in the Russian Federation, a declaration that if anything is even more damning that his lawyer’s remark (

                The Bashkir activist said that “over the last 18 years, psycho-linguistics has become the very same thing that psychiatry was in Soviet times with the KGB. Then, there was punitive psychiatry; now there is punitive psycho-linguistics.”

            Dilmukhametov is referring to the use of government-controlled “experts” who read texts by those the regime wants to persecute and find evidence often between the lines to support whatever charges the regime wants to bring and put people behind bars for lengthy periods of time.

            At one level, this modernized state crime is less horrific because it does not involve the use of psychotropic drugs; but at another, it is just as much a corruption of justice and leaves its victims in the hands of jailors who can act against them with impunity. 

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