Saturday, May 11, 2024

Moscow Arresting Ever More Imaginary ‘Traitors’ but Isn’t Charging Real Ones with that Crime, Pavlov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 9 – Last year, Russian officials sentenced 39 people for treason, 2.5 times more than the year before, Ivan Pavlov says; and in 2024 and 2025, these figures are likely to go up still further to unprecedented heights. But those convicted of treason are seldom guilty of it; and those guilty of it are seldom charged with that crime.

            The Russian lawyer says that “the absolute majority” of those convicted last year were scholars, journalists and others whose work seldom if ever brought them into contact with government secrets and that almost none of those convicted were military officers or government officials whose work did (

            Indeed, Pavlov says, this pattern continues one of the last several decades in which those in the former category are charged to spread fear and mobilize the population against enemies and in which those in the latter either aren’t charged with anything or are charged with other crimes lest that embarrass even more senior officials who appointed them.

            Such arrangements satisfy the Kremlin and also members of the security services who recognize that in following this pattern they will gain preferment and promotion without the risks of doing something else. But because that is the case, it is entirely possible that real traitors are going free while the innocent are being punished, reducing the authority of those in charge.

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