"Conversion of Russia" Update:
Putin's “Treason” Law Goes Into Effect
by Christopher A. Ferrara
November 22, 2012
A November 14 story by Associated Press reports that the “conversion of Russia” is proceeding apace with the final passage into law of the bill I mentioned in a previous column, which, as AP reports, expands the definition of “treason” against the Russian state “so broadly that critics say it could be used to call anyone who bucks the government a traitor.”
AP mentions another recently enacted law that imposes huge fines for “unauthorized demonstrations,” another that requires non-governmental organizations to register as “foreign agents” if they receive any financial support from outside Russia, and still another which — get this — gives the Kremlin the power to “ban websites under a procedure critics denounce as opaque.”
Well, that about completes the total extinction of any legal right to criticize the regime of Putin the Practicing Christian (whose version of Christianity seems to allow for mistresses and the other perquisites of corrupt power).
As AP notes, the law was drafted by the Federal Security Service, which, as I have been saying for years in this column, is “the main KGB successor agency known under its Russian acronym of FSB...” KGB, FSB, what difference does the name make? A KGB by any other name would smell as bad.
There is even alarm from a former judge of Russia's “Constitutional Court” — that's a laugh. She has informed Putin, who professes readiness to review the law for any “abuses” — that's another laugh — that the new law is “so broad the FSB no longer needs to provide proof that a suspect inflicted actual damage to the nation's security.” She states: “Their goal was simple: We have few traitors, it's difficult to prove their guilt, so it's necessary to expand it. Now they don't have to prove it any more. An opinion of law enforcement agencies would suffice.”
The treason law, says Human Rights Watch, is part of “an effort to recreate an old sense of fear...” Indeed it does, for now anyone in Russia who “threatens” not merely the external security of the country — the classic definition of treason — but also anyone who allegedly threatens internal security, another term for that slippery concept known as “sedition,” can be found guilty of “treason” and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. That prison will assuredly be no Club Kremlin.
And what activities could constitute a threat to Russia's “internal security” under the law? As AP notes, merely “providing help or advice to a foreign state or giving information to an international or foreign organization” could be deemed to violate the law. So construed, the law, say human rights advocates, “could be used as a driftnet to sweep up all inconvenient figures.” But that, of course, is what Putin has been doing for years, as this column has chronicled.
Yes, Russia is indeed converting — converting into a vast concentration camp in which Putin and his billionaire cronies in the Kremlin take the place of Lenin and Stalin in lording it over the still-oppressed masses of that once holy nation, whose true conversion eludes us because of certain blind guides in the Vatican.