Civil Society plays an important role in the protection of democracy. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s long-stay autocrat, understands this, which is why he is doing everything in his power to destroy the Russian civil society. This opinion is by the Editorial Board of The Washington Post. Here is an excerpt:
Alexei Navalny has now served more than six months in prison on a charge intended solely to silence Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most outspoken and prominent opponent, and Mr. Navalny’s organization has been gutted by the Russian authorities. With a steady tightening of the screws, Mr. Putin is decimating what is left of Russia’s civil society.
Mr. Putin’s security services attempted to poison Mr. Navalny a year ago, and he spent five months recovering in Germany. When he courageously returned to Russia on Jan. 17, he was charged, absurdly, with violating the terms of a suspended sentence in a six-year-old case that the European Court of Human Rights had called “arbitrary.” A Russian court nonetheless sent Mr. Navalny to prison in February for 32 months.
As thousands attended rallies to support Mr. Navalny, the authorities arrested his close ally Lyubov Sobol, among other well-known activists, on charges of breaking pandemic regulations. The public demonstrations, including one in early February, were met with force, and nearly 10,000 people were detained across the country. Russian authorities launched more than 90 criminal cases against protesters; nearly two dozen of these defendants were sentenced to jail time.
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