January 7, 2013

Russia: going, going...gone?

There's a sad article in the New York Times about Russia's return to its authoritarian past. Putin is back in power, which means jackboots, truncheons and detentions for dissenters.

Here is a longish excerpt from the article:
  When testimony began in the trial of the activists from Pussy Riot, Mr. Terekhov served tea as his workers watched prosecutors request seven-year sentences for three women who had lip-synced a crude anti-Putin song at an Orthodox cathedral. The judge ultimately sentenced each to two years (one was released early).

  He described the atmosphere in the room as one of “black humor, like sarcasm. Laughter through tears.”

  ...“From the point of view of international PR, if earlier Russia was associated with balalaika-matryoshka-caviar-Gorbachev-perestroika, now of course we have to add Pussy Riot,” Mr. Terekhov said, his distaste apparent. “Balalaikas, bears — they were fun. They were something you could joke about. But this is some sort of marvel from the Middle Ages.”
Russia is slipping into a dictatorial nightmare. Observing this from elsewhere is painful -- I can't imagine what it's like to actually live through it. Without freedom, life is a sham. I wish the Russian people well. Their situation is a tough one.

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