Putin Government Arrests Leading Critic While Changing Definition of Treason To Allow Prosecution Of Journalists, Human Rights Activists, and Dissidents

The world has watched as Russian President Vladimir Putin destroys the fledgling democracy movement in Russia and reinstates authoritarian government to that nation. While actively (and admittedly) crafting a cult of personality around manufactured Superhuman exploits, Putin has striven to reinstate the oppressive laws from the Soviet era. In the face of continuing protests, Putin appears intent to show that he can and will do anything he wants with critics. This month his underlings arrested the best known protest organizer Sergei Udaltsov while his government has shutdown international human rights organizations and NGOs. At the same time, his government has passed a new law in the lower house of the Duma to radically expand the definition of treason in Russia. Udaltsov led the largest protests against Putin as part of a campaign of “Russia Without Putin.”


Russian prosecutors used a documentary on a pro-Kremlin TV channel to accuse Sergei Udaltsov of plotting “mass disorder.” The Putin government used the case as an excuse to search the homes of critics — a classic Soviet era tactic.

The police say that the documentary showed that Udaltsov received money and orders from an ally of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to cause unrest in Russia.

Police say that they suspect Uadltsov and his associates of planning “terrorist acts” in Russia. It is a telling allegation since the Putin government has moved to radically expand the definition of treason in Russia.

The Putin government issued a statement that is clearly designed to chill anyone who joins the anti-Putin protests: “Those who think they can with impunity organize riots, plan and prepare terrorist attacks and other acts that threaten the lives and health of Russians, you underestimate the Russian special services’ professionalism.”

This menacing message was amplified by the new legislation. The law passed in the lower house makes it treason not only to pass on state secrets but receiving, transmitting or publicizing such information. That would bring protesters and journalists within the scope of the law in publicizing crackdowns by Putin and human rights abuses. It will be considered treason to reveal such information to international organizations, which have been the target of much of the crackdown by Putin who is embarrassed by the continuing international criticism of his authoritarian inclinations.

The law also lowers the standard to remove the requirement that prosecutors show “hostile intent.” Now all that is required is that the Putin government show a “threat to state security,” which they largely define.

Source: Reuters and FT

51 thoughts on “Putin Government Arrests Leading Critic While Changing Definition of Treason To Allow Prosecution Of Journalists, Human Rights Activists, and Dissidents

  1. We’re back in the USSR boy
    You don’t know how lucky you are boy
    we’re back in the, back in the back in the USSR

  2. It would be unkind to also note that this is in no small part due to the efforts made by certain elements of the American government who continued to treat Russia as if it were a threat long after the Soviet block disintegrated. When they needed help we ignored them. We played political games for the benefit of morons who vote in the US.

    These same people are still talking of Russia as if it were the old USSR. their efforts are ending up making that fevered nightmare a reality.

  3. “treason not only to pass on state secrets but receiving, transmitting or publicizing such information.”

    Doesn’t this law basically exist in the USA. Maybe not as treason but I thought you could not pass on/publicize state secrets. Perhaps receiving them is not a crime. Can anyone with more knowledge comment?

  4. Some very smart person here mentioned that it is the USA’s (or CERTAIN elements within) fault for the Ruskie’s misbehavior. This is like a woman being partially responsible for her being raped because she wore tight fitting clothes and therefore … provocative. “She was asking for it!” Similarly there were people that reacted to the 9/11 attacks as if it must have been partially our fault because “those people” are mad at us. We must have done something wrong.

    Ridiculous! Wise up. Putin IS a former KGB loyalist and loves the return of the old USSR. Didn’t they invade Georgia not long ago with tanks? Doesn’t he disdain the wuss in the White House who will be “more flexible” in his lotus position presentations to Putin once he (tee hee) wins reelection?

  5. Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States.

    In other words, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall’s election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public. But they will help decide who “owns” the White House. ~Truthout

  6. Well, I can think of at least one participant here who should send his resume to Putin. His style on these pages is a perfect match for this new notion of treason to Russia.

  7. Frankly,

    “These same people are still talking of Russia as if it were the old USSR. their efforts are ending up making that fevered nightmare a reality.”
    ———————

    It is not now the same people in the NSC as in the Cuban Crisis, but those with such intentions are still there. Putin, playing a cool hand internationally, has left them little to work for except a war against Iran.

    As backup for the former is recently declassified and released documents, even those in JFK’s own hand, which come from the RFK library, which confirm how close we came to the wrong decision in that crisis.
    IE, a decision to commence war against the USSR with nuclear means.

    As usual, we didn’ know (CIA failure?), that:

    1. Our sharpening of our naval tactics were faced by a USSR sub armed with nuke torpedoes, which had orders but no contact with Moscow.

    2. That almost 50 of the missiles in Cuba were operational and nuke-armed. (50 major cities?)

    We did know that in toto we had a greater array of nuke weapons to offer against the USSR.

    Kruschev offered us two secret deals each of which would allow us to gracefully back down.
    1. Promise to not invade Cuba and we will withdraw our missiles from there.
    2. Remove the RBM missiles from Turkey (already underway to be replaced with better ones) and we will withdrew our missiles.

    Ie Kruschev was looking to save face. Our NSC hawks said “WAR”, quite unequivocally.

    THE POINT?
    We find this out now. What do we now know about what is going on in the WH meeting rooms? Nada!

  8. Speaking of “Clockwork Orange” brings Stanley Kubrick to mind.

    There was doc on TV which you might have seen or at least be interested in finding out about.

    The heart of the story is that when Nixon found out that the cameras first thought to be used on the first moon mission would not work properly, he went bonkers. No photos! Fix it!

    It was done using the newly vacated studio mockup of lunar scenery used in Stankey Kubrick’s “2,000” film, you know with the apes and the monolith which we go to the moon to look at.

    Most of those involved disappeared afterwards. Kubrick’s wife was interviewed, as well as whisky pimpling Kissinger, a former CIA chief and Rumsfeld, all together drinking scotch and ice during office hours and chuckling at the French docu team. Truth???? Who knows.

  9. But, but, but…..

    George Bush looked into Putin’s eyes and said, “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.”

    George is such a wonderful judge of character. Too bad he does not have any of his own.

  10. Dissidents? We call that a “Disposition Matrix” over here and our government now collects unbelievable amounts of information on every US citizen with the intent of determining their “disposition” and can keep it for up to five years as part of a judicial process free program to “eliminate” dissidents at home or abroad. We call them terrorists and are now officially committed for another “10 years plus” of dealing with them by eliminating the fifth amendment of our constitution. Putin is simply saying that if it’s good enough for the US, why can’t Russia do it?

    Putin just needs to learn that he can get away with anything his corrupt little heart desires by introducing a boogy man (or woman) – we call it the two party system — and getting the media and thus half the population to moan and groan and wave their arms hysterically, “But look how much worse comrade Romnevichky would be”.

  11. Brooklin Bridge :

    FYI: Please repost the “Disposition Matrix” link.

    More on the “Disposition Matrix.”

    “Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent”

    “Complete with a newly coined, creepy Orwellian euphemism – ‘disposition matrix’ – the administration institutionalizes the most extremist powers a government can claim”

    by Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/24/obama-terrorism-kill-list

    The Biggest New Spying Program You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

    By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:18pm

    http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/biggest-new-spying-program-youve-probably-never-heard

  12. And who said the US was the only country with warped redefinitions of words, with arrests of a free press intended to silence them?

  13. Charming fellow. Not.

    Superior to any POTUS we have or had. Ex-KGB head, judo master, and supposedly good at chess. Don’t misunderestimate him.

  14. The law also lowers the standard to remove the requirement that prosecutors show “hostile intent.” Now all that is required is that the Putin government show a “threat to state security,” which they largely define.
    —————————————————————————————–
    So, what is the law?

  15. Nick,

    The most ruthless person in the world…. Come now….. Think cheney….. Haliburton oil…… Putin… Not in that class…. Koch brothers come to mind as well……

  16. This is coming here. Parts of it are here already. The reason it will all be instituted is because of the cult of personality around Obama and people’s refusal to hold him and other high level “personalities” accountable to the rule of law.

    Obama is already killing people on his own say so. When he kills civilians, he defines them as terrorists. Don’t think that won’t be coming to the motherland because it will.

    Obama supporters have made it clear that anything goes with them. Kill a 16 year old for no reason, fine. Use drones to kill civilians, including 4 year olds, babies and the elderly-fine. Arrest a whistleblower and torture him, check! More drilling, cut SS, stop poor, terribly ill women from having access to abortion coverage when their life depends on it, check. No matter what he does, supporters are O.K. with it. That is a very dangerous message to send to any person in power. You can do anything and we still support, even still admire and love you. WHOA! Inactions have consequences–you just told Obama there’s no brake on his actions. That’s what too many Russians have told Putin. The consequences of assent to wrongdoing, to a cult of personality are completely clear, completely predictable.

    In many respects the US criminal state most resembles Russia. When all this happens here I’m certain that many, many people will be on board with it, all the way. This kind of absolute power does not exist without a willing accomplice in a nation’s public. We have that public and we will have these results.

  17. Well, he’s “our” Putin. Everything is just fine.

    From Glenn Greenwald: “A primary reason for opposing the acquisition of abusive powers and civil liberties erosions is that they virtually always become permanent, vested not only in current leaders one may love and trust but also future officials who seem more menacing and less benign.

    The Washington Post has a crucial and disturbing story this morning by Greg Miller about the concerted efforts by the Obama administration to fully institutionalize – to make officially permanent – the most extremist powers it has exercised in the name of the war on terror.

    Based on interviews with “current and former officials from the White House and the Pentagon, as well as intelligence and counterterrorism agencies”, Miller reports that as “the United States’ conventional wars are winding down”, the Obama administration “expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years” (the “capture” part of that list is little more than symbolic, as the US focus is overwhelmingly on the “kill” part). Specifically, “among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade.” As Miller puts it: “That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism.”

    In pursuit of this goal, “White House counterterrorism adviser John O Brennan is seeking to codify the administration’s approach to generating capture/kill lists, part of a broader effort to guide future administrations through the counterterrorism processes that Obama has embraced.” All of this, writes Miller, demonstrates “the extent to which Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.”

    The Post article cites numerous recent developments reflecting this Obama effort, including the fact that “CIA Director David H Petraeus is pushing for an expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones”, which “reflects the agency’s transformation into a paramilitary force, and makes clear that it does not intend to dismantle its drone program and return to its pre-September 11 focus on gathering intelligence.” The article also describes rapid expansion of commando operations by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and, perhaps most disturbingly, the creation of a permanent bureaucratic infrastructure to allow the president to assassinate at will:

    “JSOC also has established a secret targeting center across the Potomac River from Washington, current and former U.S. officials said. The elite command’s targeting cells have traditionally been located near the front lines of its missions, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. But JSOC created a ‘national capital region’ task force that is a 15-minute commute from the White House so it could be more directly involved in deliberations about al-Qaeda lists.”

    The creepiest aspect of this development is the christening of a new Orwellian euphemism for due-process-free presidential assassinations: “disposition matrix”. Writes Miller:

    “Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix’.

    “The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. US officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the ‘disposition’ of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.”

  18. In many respects the US criminal state most resembles Russia. When all this happens here I’m certain that many, many people will be on board with it, all the way. This kind of absolute power does not exist without a willing accomplice in a nation’s public. We have that public and we will have these results. -Jill

    Yes, yes, and yes.

    Here’s an old, Bush era interview with the host of this blog. It’s worth revisiting, IMO. (Ignore the header and refer to the clarification*.)

    Clarification: http://www.factcheck.org/2007/12/bush-the-constitution-a-goddamned-piece-of-paper/

  19. anonymously posted,

    Thanks very very much for the JT interview.
    A very good job by our Professor.
    Seldom seen an interviewer and interviewee work together so well.

    The anoalogy ot sand running out of our hands (civil rights) and not pendling back has been confirmed since then. And Congress still applauses and passes the desired laws, even if they now come from Obama to a Republican steered House.

    Appalling! Frightening. Yes, even that.

  20. Hotsie totsie, I smell a Nazi. – Curley.

    What do you expect the former head of the KGB to do once in power? You folks in Russia had a thaw under Gorhabhov and now you have your Stalin back.

  21. “It is simply eating the icing before sampling the cake.”

    There were a few times I did the same and they were learning experiences. Mostly, I never had sex with anyone that I didn’t know and like as a person first.

  22. http://truth-out.org/news/item/12312-binders-of-generals-how-the-romney-campaign-advances-the-corruption-of-our-military-brass

    Binders Full of Generals

    Thursday, 25 October 2012 10:51 By Dina Rasor, Truthout | Solutions

    “Longtime military watchdog and Truthout editor Dina Rasor paints a well-informed picture of what might be motivating the 359 retired senior military officers endorsing the GOP presidential candidate, and asks: if we continue to allow them and their peers to throw their rank around in the political arena, what message does that send to more junior members of the military, not to mention the public.”

  23. Sean Hannity should be the propaganda spokesman for Putin. He would accuse criticis of being unpatriotic and not geting behind the president. He could use Ann Coulter to call critics of Putin, traitors.

  24. Thanks for finally writing about >Putin Government Arrests Leading Critic While Changing Definition of Treason To Allow Prosecution Of Journalists,
    Human Rights Activists, and Dissidents | JONATHAN TURLEY <Liked it!

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