Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Kremlin’s ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Campaign Increasingly Directed at Political Opponents rather than at Real Terrorists, Russian Court Statistics Show

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 5 – Since Vladimir Putin became Russian president in 2000, he has made countering terrorism a centerpiece of his agenda, but with each passing term in office, he has used anti-terrorist legislation and practice less to ward off terrorist attacks than to go after his political opponents, according to analysts who have followed his actions.

            That is the conclusion the Meduza news agency draws on the basis of an analysis of exactly what paragraphs Russians have been charged with terrorism over the course of Putin’s time in power (meduza.io/feature/2024/04/04/v-2022-m-v-rossii-osudili-za-terrorizm-v-40-raz-bolshe-lyudey-chem-v-gody-predshestvovavshie-vozvrascheniyu-putina-v-kreml-v-2012-m

            Initially, Russian officials brought charges against people who were thought to be involved in the activities of terrorist groups, but over time, Putin added new paragraphs that allowed the Russian state to charge people with terrorist because they supposedly advocated its use.

            As a result, the number of people charged with terrorism has jumped by 40 times over Putin’s time in office, and Moscow’s much-ballyhooed “struggle against terrorism has been transformed into an industry of repression” against all those individuals and groups the Kremlin leader doesn’t like.

            Not only does this evolving use of anti-terrorism legislation have the effect of lumping together all those who oppose Putin with terrorist groups, something that works to the benefit of those in power; but it also has the effect of meaning that Moscow is devoting less time to fighting genuine terrorism, with the horrific consequences seen at Crocus City Hall.


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