Stalinist show trials are back
The Moscow Times
President Vladimir Putin must be feeling insecure, said Andrei Kolesnikov. Why else would his government be holding show trials and handing out “Stalinist” sentences? A military court last week sentenced seven young antifascist activists to prison terms of up to 18 years, insisting the men were plotting terrorist attacks. The court didn’t care that the charges appeared utterly fabricated or that the accused men said they were tortured into confessing. “We have to be absolutely clear here.” Imposing such punishments on activists who have “neither killed, shot, nor beaten anybody, nor stolen billions—unlike most of the heroic representatives of various elites—is pure Stalinism.” Even in the Khrushchev era, sentences were less severe. Anti-Soviet agitators got perhaps a few months or years in prison, a far cry from the punishments meted out today to demonstrators charged with such minor offenses as throwing plastic cups at police officers or “inflicting moral suffering” on them. The Kremlin crime syndicate is trying to frighten the populace into submission by showing that they will “protect themselves and their beloved cronies using any means.” The warning is clear: In Putin’s Russia, any young person who dares complain will be locked away.