Posts Tagged ‘andras simyoni’

January 2014

A Good Week for Some Political Prisoners in Russia… a Bad One for Russian Democracy

Huffington Post

Last week was a good week for some political prisoners in Russia: Mikhail Kodhorkovsky and Pussy Rioters Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are free. It was a terrible week for Russian democracy, a proof that prison terms are handed out and cancelled not as a result of fair and open trials, as a result of the ruling by independent courts, but as a decision by its president, who rules as he feels fit. The timing of the amnesty smacks of old school: a major international event coming up [the Sochi Olympics], open the jails, suggest that there is humanism, disarm critics. Just like during Soviet times, before major talks. But have no doubt, Putin’s message is that its all happening because “I took the decision”, because ” I want it to happen”, and I could decide otherwise as I please.

Putin seemingly feels invulnerable. He did pull off some big stunts this year : Snowden (not his natural ally), Syria (by default). He is for sure proud of how he used the liberal New York Times to chastise the West. He looks down on Western leaders as weaklings. Mr.Putin mistakenly thinks that a temporary lack of strong leadership in the West is a sign of decline. He has no idea about the resilience of our societies, that our weak moment will pass, like the flu. He sells anti-western sentiments in Russia and the world, not admitting to himself that this rhetoric is way past its “sell by date”, and like relabeled, but bad perishable food perhaps quells hunger, but soon causes severe stomach ache. He surely knows, (it used to be his job to figure it out) that the west is no military threat to Russia. Of course he also knows, that the real threat to his everlasting position as president are the decaying economy, the spread of values of democracy and freedom, transparency and the rule of law, the apparent suffocating of creativity, freedom of speech and organization.

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