Russia is stepping up its war on its own people as Putin orchestrates a fifth term as dictator

“They Wanted Fascism, They Got It.” — Oleg Orlov

On the heels of Alexei Navalny’s death, famous dissident and human rights activist Oleg Orlov speaks during his Moscow trial. At 70 years old,, he is sentenced to two and a half yers in prison for ‘discrediting the military. ‘In his final words to the Moscow court at the end of February, Orlov says, “The authorities are even at war with the deceased Navalny,” he said. “They fear him, even when he is dead.”

Orlov worked especially hard to expose the horrors of Russia’s wars in Chechnya, and the cultural and political destruction that followed. He did so because he wanted to live in a different kind of Russia. Now he will pay a high price for his patriotism. The Atlantic

The freedom to speak out against authorities continues to become in increase rarity in Russia. Said Orlov at trial, “The state in our country is once again controlling not only social, political and economic life, but is now claiming full control over culture, scientific thought, and is inserting itself in private life. It’s becoming all-pervasive,” said Oleg Orlov, a 70-year-old who was on trial for “discrediting the army.”

Per CNN, “Powerful voices like Orlov’s are becoming a rarity in Russia, where high-profile opponents to President Vladimir Putin and his ruling elite are now mostly either in exile, in prison, or dead.”

Russian human rights group OVD-Info says more than 260 people are currently serving jail terms in the country for crimes related to taking an anti-war stance but more than 20,000 have been detained for speaking out.

“They will imprison old people, they will imprison people who have disabilities. They will imprison people with children, women with children,” Korolenko told CNN. “They just want everyone to be silent.”The wartime censorship laws — discrediting the army, or the more serious offense of knowingly spreading “false” information about the army — have turned social media into a minefield.

In an eerie process parallel to our own, Orlov describes Russia’s present as Putin enters a fifth term as president with no opposition show vote.

“With mainstream Russian media now entirely state-controlled, the authorities are targeting other forms of expression — the arts, literature and culture. Orlov argued in his courtroom speech that this is yet more proof of Russia “sinking deeper and deeper into this darkness” at an ever-quickening pace. He listed the branding of the LGBTQ movement as extremist, new rules prohibiting students at Moscow’s prestigious Higher School of Economics from citing people on Russia’s growing list of “foreign agents” in their work, and the effective banning of many modern authors.” CNN (more)

Translation: 400 people arrested from Moscow to Vladivostok for paying tribute to Alexei Navalny – among them a Muscovite filmed during the opponent’s funeral and identified ‘thanks to facial recognition software’

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