Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Russian Activists Assail Government Treason Bill

Just in from the AP, this report is threateningly corrosive to what little democracy Russia has left under its current prime minister. Here's to you, Time Magazine, on your excellent choice for Person of the Year.

MOSCOW – Russian rights activists say that a new law drafted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's Cabinet would allow authorities to label any government critic a traitor.

The draft extends the definition of treason from breaching Russia's external security to damage to the nation's constitutional order, sovereignty or territorial integrity.

A group of prominent rights activists, including head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva and head of Civic Assistance Svetlana Gannushkina, said in a statement Wednesday that passage of the bill would return the nation's justice system to the times of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's purges.

The government systematically rolled back Russia's post-Soviet political freedoms during Putin's eight-year presidential tenure.

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