Staunton, May 17 – The Duma is about to approve a measure which will make a mockery of the existing Russian legal system and point in the direction of “the total destruction of the legal order in the Russian Federation,” according to Russian economist and commentator Vladislav Inozemtsev.
Despite the momentousness of this development, it has attracted little attention or outrage because it has taken the form of an amendment to the country’s election law that will prohibit anyone “involved with extremist or terrorist organizations” from running for office, the commentator says (t.me/kremlebezBashennik/21627).
The problems with this measure begin with the fact that “the Russian legal code in general does not make reference to the term ‘involvement,’” although it was used in Stalin’s time when the voting rights of particular categories of Soviet citizens were restricted on the basis of their past membership in one or another social group.
But the real problem is that the measure opens the way for the destruction of the fundamental legal principle that an individual cannot be found guilty of something that was not a crime at the time he committed it. That is because this measure will allow the powers to find someone guilty of involvement with an extremist group even if Moscow didn’t label it at the time such individuals took part.
In short,, Inozemtsev says, “Russia law will become the most original in the world. A citizen can on the basis of it be prosecuted for the fact that he in some undefined way was ‘involved’ with an organization” even if it wasn’t declared extremist until much later, a violation of the norms of the Russian constitution and international law.
The commentator notes that “the majority of our citizens are completely indifferent” to this move even though “it is only the beginning: we are seeing the latest precedent of the massive deprivation of citizens of their rights” and this will only continue in ever more destructive ways, possibly to the point that only those in office can run in elections.
And that means that what looks like a small thing has the potential to grow and destroy the entire system of which it is a part, something everyone needs to take note of and protest vigorously before things become even worse.