Tuesday, April 30, 2024

In Declaring Non-Existent Anti-Russian Separatist Movement ‘Extremist,’ Kremlin Opens the Door to Broad Range of Repression, Legal Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 27 – Moscow’s plans to declare the Anti-Russian Separatist Movement, a body that doesn’t exist, is consistent with its general approach of making its charges more absurd and its sentences for those convicted harsher (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2024/04/russian-justice-ministry-calls-for.html and novayagazeta.ru/articles/2024/04/27/shtraf-detsadu-sud-nad-bibliotekarem-i-seksualnyi-terrorist-i-arest-vracha).

            But that does not mean that this latest action will collapse of its own weight at least any time soon or that it won’t open the way to a new wave of repressive actions against a variety of people who discuss regional and ethnic issues, Russian legal specialists warn (novayagazeta.eu/articles/2024/04/26/spektr-repressii-mozhet-byt-ochen-shirokii).

            Russian lawyer Anastasiya Burakova says that at a minimum, the authorities are likely to use this finding against anyone who calls the territories in Ukraine now under the control of Russian forces “occupied” because from Moscow’s point of view that represents a direct challenge to the Kremlin’s definition of Russia’s borders.

            But in addition, she says, there is the danger that the Russian government will bring charges against any discussion of ethnic and federal affairs by national groups within the Russian Federation regardless of whether these discussions call for separatism or are in fact formally organized into groups.

            “Any discussions about nationalities living on the territory of Russia and about their histories which the powers don’t like may be counted as ‘extremist,’” she says; “and the authors of such expressions may now fall under the pressure” of charges of extremism and punishment for that.

            Burdakova continues: “I have no doubt that the justice ministry suit will be satisfied and the specter of repression may be very broad” especially given the precedent provided by declaring LGBTs members by definition in an international anti-Russian body and that the number of people charged and imprisoned is likely to be large.

            Another Russian lawyer, Valeriya Vetoshkina, with whom Novaya Gazeta spoke, agreed entirely, although she said that the decision by the Supreme Court won’t tell anyone much given the way in which the powers that be now treat all legal forms in a highly variable and elastic way.

No comments:

Post a Comment