Many developments within Russia, particularly since February, 2014, have signaled the consolidation of a dictatorship of military and security services under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin.
The process began well before February, with new restrictions on NGO activities including a requirement that they register as an agent of a foreign state if they received international funding. The censorship and forced closure of independent TV channels and newspapers has advanced to the point where the state has a virtual monopoly on the mass dissemination of information.
State media have operated as propaganda instruments for the Putin regime, fanning xenophobic nationalism and unabashed enthusiasm for military aggression against the Ukraine, first in the Crimea and then in the eastern Ukraine.
Putin’s consolidation of his authoritarian dictatorship has accelerated sharply since the invasion of the Crimea in late February, and even more with the introduction of regular Russian troops into the eastern Ukraine or Donbas region in August, 2014.
In Russia, freedom of the press has been largely extinguished. Civil society is shrinking and increasingly gasping for air. Leading opponents of the regime have been arrested, placed under house arrest, or as in the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky virtually exiled.
Even the Russian NGO comprised of mothers of soldiers has been branded as subversive and is now subject to being disbanded, after inquiring too persistently and too loudly into the deaths or disappearances of Russian soldiers in or near the Ukraine.
Ben Judah has just published in Politico an arresting account of what has been going on in Russia while Vladimir Putin was invading the Ukraine and annexing the Crimea.
Ben Judah, “Putin’s Coup: How the Russian leader used the Ukraine crisis to consolidate his dictatorship,” Politico, October 19, 2014
Given the consolidation of a dictatorship in Russia, the fact that the “rule of law” is the furthest thing from the minds of the separatists in the Donbas, Putin’s puppets, should come as no surprise.
The Trenchant Observer.