Ted Nugent – Stranglehold
Searches in the offices of the Anti-Corruption Foundation took place in 30 regions of Russia
According to the latest information cited by the media with reference to the Investigative Committee of Russia, new searches at the headquarters of Alexei Navalny and supporters of the opposition politician took place in 30 regions of the country: from Ufa and Saratov to Chelyabinsk and Novokuznetsk. The operation is carried out as part of a criminal case opened by the authorities in connection with the alleged money laundering by the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).
“[The searches] began at 6 am and are already going to at least 30 addresses,” Alexei Navalny tweeted. “The Russian law enforcement system spends its greatest efforts on protecting corrupt officials and bribe-takers.”.
Recall that just a few days ago, a number of organizations in the capital, including the Metropolitan and the city administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, filed multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the opposition for alleged damage caused during the summer protests. Most of the claims have already been approved by the courts.
Leader of the Party of Change Dmitry Gudkov believes that the top has finally decided to switch to using the “financial stranglehold” in relation to the opposition, hoping in this way to paralyze its activities. According to him, if earlier the Kremlin, commanding business, simply prohibited financial support of independent parties and movements, which brought the required effect, today the picture has changed..
“We learned how to raise funds, in particular, through fundraising,” he explained in a commentary to the Russian service of the Voice of America. – For example, we managed to collect 60 million rubles for a municipal campaign in Moscow. This, in principle, is already enough to seriously fight the authorities. The same thing happened during the campaign to nominate candidates for the Moscow City Duma. We became financially independent and got the opportunity to engage in politics. Now the authorities have decided to rob us, depriving us of such an opportunity “.
At the same time, law enforcement agencies in their zeal sometimes do not disdain anything, says Dmitry Gudkov: “During the searches, the investigators took away all the office equipment, which, by the way, costs a lot of money. Where is she now? Such actions are quite comparable to gangster actions. And the task of the authorities is simple and clear: to bleed the opposition by any means. Because we can already compete in elections of various levels without sponsors-businessmen, or, for example, to protect the regions from the construction of incinerators “.
At the same time, the leader of the Party of Changes is convinced that all the talk about the forerunner of a certain thaw in Russia against the background of individual acquittals is groundless. In his opinion, the authorities are simply changing tactics..
“The Kremlin is afraid to create hotbeds of social tension in Moscow and large cities,” he says. – First of all, this concerns the capital because of fears of a wide public outcry. When they release one of the activists or commute their sentence, they thereby try to reduce the intensity of passions. They were greatly frightened by the action on August 10, which gathered a large number of people. If they continued to arrest and imprison, the protests would only go on increasing. And the results of sociological research also show how this is treated in society ”
This is a serious problem for the authorities, summed up Dmitry Gudkov.
According to the Levada Center, 38% of Russian citizens consider the sentences to the participants in the peaceful summer protests unfair and unfounded, in Moscow over 50% of respondents adhere to this point of view.
Head of the Program “Support for Political Prisoners and Persecuted Civil Activists” of the Human Rights Center “Memorial” Sergey Davidis I agree that the authorities are now striving to financially strangle the opposition. Although they are not limited to this alone, he said in a commentary for the Russian service of the Voice of America.
“If the problem of suppressing the opposition and all dissent could be solved by purely criminal repressions, the authorities would have done so,” the human rights activist believes. – But they seem to be afraid to go too far by resorting to this tool, because it will take so little time to get the exact opposite effect. Therefore, financial levers are used “.
At the same time, Sergei Davidis noted that one should not exaggerate the effectiveness of the new tactics: “It works to some extent, since it is aimed at intimidating and moral suppression of people. But against the background of a general trend towards a decrease in support for the authorities and an increase in civil activity, this attempt is futile, it only leads to an increase in general discontent and radicalization of protest sentiments “.
Ultimately, police tools have never successfully replaced civilized dialogue between the authorities and civil society, the human rights activist summed up.