More Moscow Crackdowns

On April 22, there was another indicator of how the Putin regime deals with even the smallest sign of opposition. Human rights groups announced a peaceful walk to the city center of Moscow, with no banners or chanting, just an “excursion” to mark the location of the police violence against the April 14th March of Dissent. The organizer, well-known human rights advocate Lev Ponomarev, was arrested en route to the event while with his wife in one of Moscow’s many subterranean pathways. He and several others were kept in custody for several hours. Ponomarev was charged with “disrupting public order” and the boulevard was guarded by nearly 300 police officers.

One may consider these stunning overreactions by the government to be a form of response to the many criticisms leveled by the EU and the USA regarding the police violence against the rallies on the 14th in Moscow and the 15th in St. Petersburg. The answer: “We will do whatever we want and will crack down on any public display of dissent.” Putin’s self-proclaimed “dictatorship of law” has never been in sharper focus.

As a footnote, no police action was taken against the pro-Hitler rally held in Moscow on the 20th. Indeed, no fascist organization has ever been summoned by the Russian courts. The skinheads and fascist groups calling loudly for the expulsion and even the extermination of ethnic minorities – and killings and acts of violence have occured – seem to enjoy special immunity.