Keeping the pressure on Putin – Moscow is turning into a bully again

New York Daily News

Alex Goldfarb had an idea.

The veteran Russian dissident and longtime New York resident was standing in Union Square when it came to him.

He was there a week ago for an anti-Kremlin rally to protest Russia’s new law banning American adoptions of Russian orphans. It’s an especially vindictive measure that is solely intended to serve as political revenge for recent U.S. legislation that blacklists human rights-abusing Russian officials. Goldfarb, however, was thinking beyond a day’s worth of street theater.

“We should start a campaign to get Mayor Bloomberg to name a street in New York after Pussy Riot,” he said, referring to the feminist punk band made world famous after three of its members were arrested and subjected to a ridiculous show trial for performing a “punk prayer” denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral.

Two of the members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, are serving out their two-year sentences in a labor camp. One of the women, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released in October.
In many ways, that trio has become the face of the protests against Putin’s ineradicable grip on the Kremlin. The three young women turned into an unlikely cause célèbre, with the likes of Madonna and Paul McCartney showing their support.

As for the outcries regarding the American adoption ban, they are a continuation of the protest movement that began a year ago after a rigged parliamentary election — though the ban has also attracted newcomers to grassroots politics.

There were titters from Goldfarb’s compatriots, who held signs with slogans like, “Putin has no heart,” but he pressed on: “It would have to be in the Village. Can you imagine, some 80-year-old pensioner in a rent-controlled apartment writing to her grandson from Pussy Riot and Eighth?”

This admittedly tiny gathering was designed to mirror the much larger “March Against Scoundrels” taking place in Moscow the same day, which reportedly drew as many as 50,000 people.

Trying to defuse the growing pressure, Russians officials said on Thursday that judicially approved adoptions can proceed. But that will still leave hundreds of American families — many of them looking to adopt disabled children — in bureaucratic limbo.

All this because the Kremlin has been driven to the heights of anti-American paranoia following the Magnitsky Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama last month.

That measure was inspired by the current Russian government’s torture and murder of a young Moscow attorney, Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered a $230 million tax fraud perpetrated by federal officials. Magnitsky was then accused by the culprits he implicated of having committed the crime himself. He died after having been beaten and medically neglected in prison.

In one of Putin’s improvements on the perversities of Stalinism, the state is now prosecuting Magnitsky posthumously.

Goldfarb has seen this movie before, having risen to global prominence during the dreary Brezhnev period as an activist and spokesman for Soviet refuseniks and dissidents. (He was a translator and press liaison for Nobel Peace Prize-winner Andrei Sakharov.)

Most recently, he’s been a staunch advocate of his murdered friend Alexander Litvinenko, the ex-KGB agent turned Putin enemy who was fatally poisoned with a nuclear substance in a London sushi bar in 2006 by what British investigators have said were most certainly Russian “state actors.” A full inquest into the murder is currently underway in Britain, though Scotland Yard’s main suspect, Andrei Lugovoi, is now a Russian parliamentarian with legal immunity whom the Kremlin refuses to extradite. Lugovoi, of course, was one of the 401 Duma deputies who voted for the so-called “Herod’s Law” on adoptions.

Many Russians seem to hope that Putin is more susceptible to Capone’s Law: Self-destructing over the most frivolous of his many offenses. Jailing performance artists and passing xenophobic adoption bans won’t affect the course of world events, but they have opened the West’s eyes to the kind of regime that Putin has created.

So what if that regime outflanked what a year ago appeared to be a promising opposition movement? Goldfarb knows that fighting the Russian government is a long game — one that has been won before. Calling attention to the Kremlin’s methods, ridiculing them endlessly, is a good place to start. That’s why Goldfarb was pushing for Pussy Riot St.

There’s precedent, too, for using New York geography to mount displays of solidarity with Russian dissidents: A “corner” at 67th St. and Third Ave. was renamed by Mayor Koch after Sakharov and his wife, Yelena Bonner, in 1984.

The style of anti-Kremlin resistance may have changed since then, but the need for American support for it has not. быстрые займы онлайн payday loan https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-in-america.php https://zp-pdl.com/emergency-payday-loans.php займ на карту

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