We Are All In Petrovka

[Garry Kasparov is serving a 5 day sentence in the infamous Petrovka 38 criminal facility.]

Kasparov arrestedOn November 24th, Russian politician Garry Kasparov, the leader of the United Civil Front and presidential candidate for the “Other Russia” opposition coalition, was arrested and placed in a pre-trail detention center. The details of this base arrest are known well enough, that there isn’t a need to focus on them. The whole world saw for itself, how the Putin regime grabbed and detained an unarmed man with the help of ten special forces troops, and how 25 agents then took him from the court at midnight.

The interesting part started afterward. The arrest of a person know world-wide, a sportsman who brought Russia glory reflected the sordidness of the Russian authorities like a mirror.

Kasparov wasn’t allowed his lawyer – a bluntest violation of the law. Vladimir Ryzhkov, a deputy in the State Duma, was also barred from seeing Garry Kimovich – also a breach of existing legislation. Relatives of the politician were barely allowed to pass on a package of groceries. On the weekend, our brave law enforcement were so zealous in defending the country from “hard core criminal Kasparov,” that they kept him from even receiving a toothbrush. I think the MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) leadership should reward all the participants in operation “toothbrush,” as they’ve certainly earned it. But in all seriousness, this is a violation of a citizen’s human rights and simultaneously, idiocy. Even as we’re insistently pushed to vote in the December 2nd elections, we can see that both of these developments are an inherent part of what Putin and the United Russia party call stability.

Finally, even Anatoly Karpov, a former opponent, couldn’t fight his way in to see Garry Kasparov. The militsiya simply didn’t appreciate this simple gesture of solidarity. In the words of the chess master, not a single person in the whole mammoth building was willing to take responsibility for the decision of whether to allow a visit. What is this, other than cowardice on the part of the law enforcement agencies? It’s only when they’re ten against one demonstrator that they are brave.. very brave..

The situation with Karpov is just the culmination of the subject. Lawlessness and trampled rights have become everyday practice. The authorities turned large as life during the springtime “Dissenter’s Marches,” and tried to arrest opposition leaders even then. Everything has already passed. But to forbid a respected person, a member of the loyalist Public Chamber, from entering the MVD Petrovka building is something new. It smells of a new practice of complete social isolation of the independent opposition. Something reminiscent of Turkmenistan, perhaps.

There was, actually, another low act in the story of the arrest, when Kasparov’s mother was misinformed about her son’s location, and sent to a pre-trial detention center across town instead. This is how we’re living at the end of Putin’s second term, between idiocy, baseness and cowardice of the authorities.

Acting to maintain power at any cost, the Kremlin is necessarily turning to more extreme methods, falling from a budding identity as an authoritarian government corporation into all-out totalitarianism. The situation with the arrest of a key opposition leader simply underscores the thesis. It then comes at no surprise that in the run up to elections, they have begun to prosecute citizens just like authorities did 25 years ago. Citizens are now arrested for having “incorrect” political views, that is, the desire to support a party other than United Russia. It is not without reason that Putin turned red in the face with anger at a recent speech in front of supporters, and started hissing about Russia’s internal enemies. The ideology of an authoritarian government is always searching for enemies from the outside, while a totalitarian regime constantly searches for, finds, and starts to destroy internal “aggressors.” Frightening wagers are being made behind the Kremlin wall.

Therefore, on the 24th of November it wasn’t just Kasparov that was arrested. At the threshold of so-called “elections,” you and I are all in Petrovka, as the authorities are attempting to isolate all the normal people . Left, right, green, and anyone who values freedom, democracy, and justice. This arbitrary person in the Kremlin isn’t planning on going anywhere. He has taken the whole country hostage, and is leading us into a chasm like a blind madman .

There is just one way to stop him – a full dismantling of the regime. And that is exactly what the United Civil Front and Garry Kasparov are calling for.

Alexander Trifonov

Translated by theotherrussia.org