As bad as Harper is...
Russian treason bill could target Kremlin critics
MOSCOW (AP) — Under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, people who fraternized with foreigners or criticized the Kremlin were "enemies of the people" and sent to the gulag. Now there's new legislation backed by Vladimir Putin's government that human rights activists say could throw Russia back to the days of the Great Terror.
The legislation, outspoken government critic and rights activist Lev Ponomaryov charged Wednesday, creates "a base for a totalitarian state."
Government supporters and Kremlin-allied lawmakers said the bill — submitted to the Kremlin-friendly parliament last week — will tighten up current law. Supporters say prosecutors often have trouble gaining convictions because of ambiguities in the definition of state treason.
The bill would add non-governmental organizations based anywhere in the world that have an office in Russia to the list of banned recipients of state secrets. The government has repeatedly accused foreign spy agencies of using NGOs as a cover to foment dissent.
Critics warned the loose wording will give authorities ample leeway to prosecute those who cooperate with international rights groups.
Labels: oh those Russians