Lots of current details about Russia might be disconcerting for an affordable reader. It’s absurd. It’s incomprehensible. The habits of the authorities in direction of the society is so harsh and unmotivated that one is reminded of Vaclav Havel’s phrases about Absurdistan. However the thought of triumphant absurdity solely characterizes the phenomenon, it doesn’t clarify it.
Why do the Russian authorities persecute the Jehovah’s Witnesses church so systematically and brutally? There are solely 170,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses out of 145 million individuals in Russia; they’re fairly calm and peaceable individuals, who refuse to drink alcohol, smoke and take medicine, don’t swear, condemn all types of violence and are apolitical on precept. Jehovah’s Witness teams meet often and focus on the Bible. The authoritarian authorities ought to take into account them mannequin residents, however for 4 years they’ve been tried and sentenced to 6-8 years in jail.
In Yakutia, returning to the worst Soviet traditions, shaman Aleksander Gabyshev was forcibly positioned in a psychiatric hospital. Shamanism is likely one of the oldest religions on the planet; its organizations are formally registered by the Russian Ministry of Justice (greater than two dozen communities all through the nation). Why are its followers persecuted? Two years in the past, Gabyshev introduced that he would stroll from Yakutia to Moscow to come back to the Kremlin and ward off the evil spirits of President Putin. He tried a number of occasions to hold out his plan, however every time he was opposed by the police. At present he’s present process an atrocious “remedy” with neuroleptics in a psychiatric hospital in Novosibirsk. Is the Kremlin actually afraid of the shaman?
This fall, police and investigators have been doggedly looking for bloggers who have been photographed half-naked towards the backdrop of State shrines — church buildings, cathedrals and the Kremlin. They revealed these images on their private pages on social networks. The contributors of those picture periods are being prosecuted for offending the sentiments of believers. The State acts on behalf of believers. One among these ladies was sentenced to 10 months in jail, whereas the others are awaiting sentencing. Is the bare physique of ladies such a risk to the safety of the State?
The Rosgvardiya (a department of the armed forces whose important job is to suppress riots) and the Chechen police lately arrested three Chechen ladies in Grozny on prices of witchcraft. A report on this case was broadcast on Chechen state tv. The report acknowledged in all seriousness that one of many arrested witches was possessed by jinns. The regulation enforcement companies interrogated the three ladies “as a safety measure”.
Not each absurd incident has to do with faith or mysticism. In early November, the Investigative Committee introduced that it was searching for ladies who had been filmed kissing close to the Everlasting Flame in entrance of a monument to World Battle II victims in Moscow. Investigators noticed “parts of same-sex intercourse” within the video. The ladies have now been discovered and one has issued a public apology. They resist 5 years in jail beneath the “desecration of symbols of navy glory” regulation of the penal code.
Fashionable rapper Morgenstern mentioned in an interview that he didn’t perceive why hundreds of thousands of rubles have been spent on the annual celebrations of Victory Day, when the Second World Battle ended greater than 70 years in the past. On this regard, the top of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, mentioned that the Committee will research this case within the context of the regulation prohibiting the rehabilitation of Nazism. The penalty beneath this text of the Legal Code can be as much as 5 years in jail.
Some current data is completely disconcerting. A court docket in Saratov determined to dam web sites containing directions on making hatchets for vacationers and stone axes for home use. “The free availability on the mentioned web site of sure strategies of constructing weapons violates the rights of an indefinite variety of shoppers of knowledge providers and endangers the reliable pursuits of the Russian Federation”, the court docket mentioned in its ruling.
Info of this sort, unusual and troublesome to clarify within the 21st century, is surprisingly quite a few. In an try to clarify the pettiness and apparent absurdity of the explanations for the repression, mental critics throw up their palms and recall Albert Camus, Franz Kafka and Eugene Ionesco. However what seems like absurdity is actually a state technique. Or quite, it’s a part of the state technique.
By unjustified and surprising repressions, the authorities reveal not solely their energy, but in addition their smug disregard for the regulation. The federal government lets the general public know that it might simply manipulate the regulation to serve its political pursuits. As well as, the federal government enacts legal guidelines that contradict normal ideas of regulation and constitutional norms. For instance, over the previous 9 years, a variety of legal guidelines have been handed that restrict freedom of expression, freedom of demonstration, freedom of authorized political exercise, violate electoral rights and the precept of alternation of energy. These legal guidelines have been in such contradiction with the Structure that final 12 months, in a faux referendum, the Structure itself was amended. It reminds of the well-known Russian joke: “If alcohol interferes along with your work, depart your job!”
The ostentatious brutality practiced by the authorities is aimed toward intimidating individuals, sowing worry in society and stopping any initiative, particularly political. However mindless brutality is just one aspect of the coin. The opposite aspect of the coin is the creation of a wonderfully functioning regime of state terror. Thus, the Russian authorities right now pursues two intently associated targets: to create a regime of whole management over society and to plunge society right into a state of terror over the doable penalties of the slightest deviation from the political and ethical norms established by the federal government.
For this reason just about all social initiatives, whether or not they be spiritual practices, unconventional sexual habits, charitable packages or environmental actions, are persecuted in Russia right now. Solely those that are in full settlement with the authorities and settle for their meticulous management are allowed to outlive. All this clearly signifies the purpose of the current Russian authorities: to revive totalitarianism.
It’s now not sufficient for the totalitarian regime to guard itself from political competitors by suppressing the opposition. The authorities search to manage all spheres of public life — economic system, tradition, training, science, intercourse, sports activities, faith. They need to management all those that agree and destroy all those that don’t. That is the utmost program.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are being persecuted right now in accordance with this program. They’re innocent to political energy, however it’s not possible to deliver them beneath whole management. Not even Hitler and Stalin succeeded. Beneath Communism and Nationwide Socialism, the Witnesses have been severely repressed, however by no means damaged.
It’s beneath this program that the LGBT group is persecuted in Russia. The authorities notice that they can not enter the mattress of everybody and regulate the sexual life there. As a substitute, they move legal guidelines limiting the rights of LGBT individuals. In lots of instances, the authorities encourage lawless violence, arbitrary persecution and even extrajudicial killings of these they classify as representatives of a “non-traditional sexual orientation”.
Thus, the absurd has its rationalization: it’s indispensable for the authorities, even when it damages their picture. The absurd is a tax on dictatorship, the unavoidable price of attaining a political objective. It’s seemingly that the federal government is continually evaluating what’s extra worthwhile for them: to appear to be aggressive morons within the eyes of the world, or to proceed terrorizing society at each alternative? Currently, their selection appears to have been determined. They’re able to ignore their picture with a view to consolidate their energy and their undivided domination of the nation.