Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

““The real damage is done by those millions who want to ’survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.””     Sophie Scholl

March 24, 2007

Freedom Suffers Another Setback In Russia

by Doug Mataconis

The Soviet Union officially died in 1991, but Russia’s road toward freedom has always been a difficult one, and things became even more difficult when Boris Yeltsin was followed as President by former KGB officer Vladimir Putin. In the seven years since he became President, he has taken steps to consolidate power and eliminate rivals. The latest step came this week, when the Russian Supreme Court ruled that one of the last real opposition parties in Russia cannot participate in the next round of legislative elections:

Russia’s next parliament is likely to have no genuine opposition after a court in Moscow yesterday banned a leading liberal party from standing in elections.

Russia’s supreme court announced that it had liquidated the small Republican party, claiming that it had violated electoral law by having too few members. The party is one of very few left in Russia that criticises President Vladimir Putin.


Vladimir Ryzhkov, the leader of the Republican party, said yesterday that the ban was part of a Kremlin-inspired campaign to crack down on dissent. “This is part of the Kremlin’s policy of suppressing the opposition. It’s being done to prevent opposition parties from taking part in elections,” he told the Guardian. “This is the fate any opposition party in Russia.”

Mr Ryzhkov – one of a handful of independent MPs in the Duma, the lower chamber of parliament, and a leading Putin critic – said his party would appeal in Russia and to the European court of human rights.

It’s fairly easy to see what will happen next if Putin is successful in removing the last of the real opposition parties from the Duma. First to go, as Captain Ed points out, will be that inconvenient little provision of the Russian Constitution that prevents him from running for re-election. After that, the sky’s the limit.

It’s sad to think that the promising days of glasnost, and the spirit that was shown when the people rose up to put down a coup in the summer of 1991, are coming to this.

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1 Comment

  1. [...] Original post by Doug Mataconis [...]

    Pingback by Kaveman’s Daily Feed of Informative Blogs » Freedom Suffers Another Setback In Russia — March 24, 2007 @ 11:41 am

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