Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ex-President/current Prime Minister recently introduced a new anti-treason bill that most expect will become law. You can read about it here, but the short version is that anyone who cooperates with a foreign company or “Non-Governmental Organization” in a way that the Russian Government (Putin) feels harms Russia’s interests will be guilty of treason.
Why is this bad? Because the bill applies any non-governmental organization from anywhere in the world that has offices in Russia, including international aid groups. So in other words, if Vladimir goes to Amnesty International to report abuse by Moscow Police, he’s just committed treason. The same thing applies to those seeking aid from the European Court on Human Rights or the World Court, if what they want conflicts with government interests. And last time I checked, they still shoot traitors in Russia.
The article says that activists call this new legislation “a throwback to the days of Hitler and Stalin.” I’m inclined to agree with them. In the Bad Old Days, if you disagreed with the State at all, then the State made you disappear. You’d be lucky to end up in a gulag in northern Siberia. Somehow, I get the feeling that when this bill passes (and since Putin’s backing it, odds are that it will), the vanishing acts will start up again. Ever since he was elected President, Putin’s been slowly but surely turning democratic Russia back into the totalitarian USSR. There’s a constitutional change in the works that could allow Putin to run for office again, possibly indefinitely. If that happens, then I can see the Cold War starting up again. And given the way our next president has said he’s going to deal with foreign threats, that’s a really bad thing.