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Russia Installs Its Tough Security Measures …

  • August 5th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

red-square-wikipedia.jpgNew security powers in Russia are being promoted as an answer to terrorists but are being seen also as a breach of freedom, aimed at opposition movements already facing intimidation by state agencies.

Public demonstrations are often put down, as in Moscow and Kiev on the weekend, when protestors were demanding actual freedom to protest. See EUAustralia Online, “Russian flare-up …”, 4.8.10.

Now a law has been promulgated granting extraordinary powers to the state security service to detain and question citizens – a move bound to conjure up cruel memories in the former Soviet Union, of the decades of impunity and illegal mistreatment of individuals.

The German international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, today (5.8.10) reported that the move to strengthen the hand of the FSB (federal security Service) was being received with disquiet, amid claims it was motivated by fear of simmering opposition.

It said:

“Medvedev signed the bill to expand the FSB’s powers last week after it passed unhindered through the lower and upper houses of Russia’s parliament, the Duma, with 354 votes in favor, mostly from the president’s ruling United Russia party.

“The new law will provide the FSB, the successor to the Soviet Union’s KGB security service, with the power to detain citizens it suspects of wrongdoing even if it has no evidence against them.

“The security services will be able to issue individuals of whom they are suspicious with official warnings, inviting them to what the law calls ‘precautionary talks’ with the FSB to prevent the possibility of the citizen committing a criminal act ‘against the country’s security’ in the future.

“Refusing or failing to attend these ‘precautionary talks’ could lead to a fine of around €1,140  [A$1645, dcerates.com, 5.8.10], or detention for as long as 15 days.

“Despite being sold as the next step in Russia’s fight against terror, critics say that the legislation could be used to target and silence political dissidents and outspoken journalists as well as violent extremists.” (ends)

…..

Moscow has seen repeated terror attacks, some with multiple casualties, most often linked by the authorities to separatist campaigns in the republic of Chechnya.


Reference

Deutsche Welle, Bonn, “Medvedev’s expansion of security powers sparks fears of a crackdown”, 5.8.10. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5864380,00.html, (5.8.10).

Deutsche Welle, Bonn, “Russian Duma approves bill widening powers of KGB successor”, 16.7.10.  http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5808663,00.html, (5.8.10).

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