The Russian government, as it stands today, is becoming worse for its people than it was under Soviet rule.
For all of my pro-democracy, near-libertarian, pro-free-market beliefs, we have to ask honestly — for the sake of the human beings forced to live in that country (and for those who are being oppressed by it) — is this mafia-government better than communism?
There is reason to believe things are worse today.
Sadly, the Russian people will be deprived of democracy for the foreseeable future.
A new law in Russia:
… requires any person whose online presence draws more than 3,000 daily readers to register, disclose personal information and submit to the same regulations as mass media. Critics — including some pro-Kremlin lawmakers — say the rules are confusing, poorly written and hard to enforce consistently. But the end effect is to put large swaths of Russia’s prominent online personalities in theoretical violation of the law at all times, risking fines and other harassment whenever authorities decide to crack down, critics say.
Starting Friday, “every blogger might face a threat of criminal prosecution,” said Oleg Kozyrev, a prominent opposition blogger, who said he does not intend to register his Web site.
… gives Russian authorities the power to block Web sites without any official explanation went into effect Feb. 1, and it was put to use a month later, blocking four Russian opposition Web sites, including the blog of anti-corruption politician Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent anti-Kremlin leader. Navalny remains under house arrest on unrelated corruption charges and is barred from communicating with the media.
In the same month, another prominent independent news Web site, Lenta.ru, was transformed after the editor was fired and most of her staff left. That site’s coverage is now significantly more pro-Kremlin.
A very close friend of mine works for a (large) company (you’d know it if I named it) here in the U.S. that handles the blogs of many Russian bloggers. They are having to consider what to do in light of the new laws.
Not that my friend has any say in the matter, but, another of our friends suggested that the company should flat-out ignore the law. I agree. It could be considered a form of civil disobedience.
If you’d like to see some of the new research related to the surprising effectiveness of Civil Resistance in cases like this, check out professor Erica Chenoweth’s book, Why Civil Resistance Works.
Now go lift something heavy,