Monday, March 21, 2022

Even Brief Detentions by Police Transforming Russians into Enemies of the Regime, One Victim Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 16 – Many have suggested that the detention of protesters for 15 days or less doesn’t have much of an impact on those who experience that and that the massive numbers of Russian protesters the Putin regime has arrested over the last several years won’t have much effect on society.

            But they are wrong, Georgy Shand, a Petersburger who was sentenced to only three days behind bars. He says that “jail, even for a short period, changes your consciousness,” causing you to view the powers and the surrounding world in entirely new ways, many of which point to more trouble ahead for the powers (

            In a brief comment for an independent portal in the northern capital entitled “Notes form a Torture Chamber,” the young activist says that in just three days, he came to see that his real friends are those on the same side of the divide with the powers that be rather than those who happen to be fellow students or any other demographic category.

            Shand says that the way the legal system and especially its penal portion operate have the unintended consequence of uniting those who pass through it against the regime rather than causing them to commit themselves to avoiding any challenge to that regime in the future. These things make enemies of those who were only protesting one particular policy.

            His is the testimony of a single individual rather than a survey of the opinions of those who have passed through Russia’s jails; but as hundreds and thousands more do so, his sense of what jail can do to anyone who has been victims of that is likely to be widespread, just one more example of the counter-productive moves of the Putin regime.

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