Tyrannical regimes have been nothing new in our global history but for some countries, government suppression is more of a motif than others. When Cold War ended in 1989, many people saw it as an opportunity to westernize Russia and bring civil rights reforms to a historically oppressive society. Unfortunately, under Vladimir Putin’s return to power, KGB like policies and tyranny have come back as well. The Telegraph reports on the decline Russian civil liberties:
Apologists for the Kremlin are struggling. The Russian regime’s dogged defence of the blood-drenched Syrian dictatorship, and its persecution of the Pussy Riot musicians for their stunt in Moscow’s main cathedral, display its nastiest hallmark: support for repression at home and abroad.
Mr Putin’s return to power has eclipsed the liberal-sounding talk of his predecessor as president, Dmitry Medvedev. Russia’s leader has in recent weeks signed laws that criminalise defamation, introduce £6,000 fines for participants in unauthorised demonstrations, require non-profit outfits financed by grants from abroad to label themselves as “foreign agents”, and create a new blacklist of “harmful” internet sites.
Also a distant memory is Russia’s “reset” with America, which was supposed to herald a new era of cooperation. Since Mr Putin’s return, Russia’s foreign-policy rhetoric has been venomously anti-Western. It recently warned Finland, with startling bluntness, to stop working with Nato. The hostility is still largely a one-way street. Western companies grovel before Mr Putin (he recently kept oil-industry chiefs waiting for hours in an airless room with no chairs; they uttered not a squeak of complaint).