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Putin Regime Prepares to Muzzle Criticism... of Putin

By Christopher A. Ferrara

The President of Russia is supposed to be that fellow — what’s his name? — Medvedev. But of course, Vladimir Putin remains the neo-Stalinist dictator of “that poor nation,” as Sister Lucia called it.

In his latest dictatorial move, Putin — cleverly disguised as the lower house of the Russian “parliament” — voted 339-1 in favor of legislation to, as AP describes it, “widen the definition of slander and libel and give regulators the authority to shut down media outlets found guilty of publishing such material.” This bill, notes AP, is “the latest attempt by the government to squeeze the country’s increasingly embattled news media.”

AP further reports that “The bill allows authorities to suspend and close down media outlets for libel and slander,” while it “expands the definition of slander and libel to ‘dissemination of deliberately false information damaging individual honor and dignity.’” With a definition like that, essentially any statement Putin finds offensive is grounds for shutting down a media outlet.

Dispensing with the fiction that Russia is being ruled by anyone but Putin, AP notes that “Putin has presided over a steady rollback of post-Soviet media and political freedoms. Major national television networks have come under the control of the Kremlin or its allies, and Russia’s print media have also experienced growing official pressure.”

By some strange coincidence, this legislation sailed through the Russian parliament “just days after a scandal involving a tabloid newspaper that had reported that Putin had divorced his wife and planned to marry a champion gymnast.” Denying the report, Putin did what any reasonable neo-Stalinist dictator would do: he had “Moscow authorities” shut down the newspaper.

So Russia is now saddled with a dictator whose “parliament” delivers whatever oppressive legislation he deems necessary on a given day. If it pleased him, Putin could probably make it a crime for anyone to occupy his favorite table at some Moscow watering hole.

Where are the Catholic sages who were assuring us not so long ago that Russia had been “miraculously converted” by the 1984 consecration ceremony that made no mention whatsoever of Russia. EWTN? Catholic Answers? Father Fox? The Blue Army? What do you all have to say for yourselves now?

Why, nothing, of course. They were wrong — catastrophically wrong — but they are not about to let the suffering of the Russian people and the rise of a neo-Stalinist empire affect their determination never to admit their mistake. The world could go up in flames before they will admit that Russia has yet to be consecrated.

And that may well be literally what happens, as suggested by the vision of the Third Secret of Fatima whose “soundtrack” we have yet to hear because it is being kept hidden by Cardinal Bertone — the same Cardinal Bertone who assured us back in 2000 that the prophecies of Fatima “belong to the past.” That’s a reading of the Fatima Message that Vladimir Putin surely approves.