April 1, 2004 by AK
The Russian Duma is dominated by free speech haters
…or, to put it better, thugs and plain f*cks. Take a look at this: Duma Bill Sharply Restricts Rallies.
“…[T]he United Russia majority in the State Duma gave preliminary approval to a bill outlawing protests near government buildings Wednesday… The bill bans rallies and demonstrations outside presidential residences and buildings occupied by federal, regional or local authorities, as well as foreign embassies and offices of international organizations[,]” as well as “cultural venues, stadiums, hospitals, schools, kindergartens and religious centers”.
The bil is not only blatantly anti-Constitutional — in spirit at least; it’s a spit in the face of the voters who, only three and a half months ago, elected the same Duma deputies who are now seeking to shamelessly take away their freedom of assembly.
Let’s wait and see what Putin and his team say. Some Russian observers think Putin’s administration wants to avoid public protest as it pushes through some rather unpopular free-market reforms. If so, then the price is obviously much too high, and the reforms will turn out a disaster. Just as the original concept behind the new demonstrations law was sound but got horrendously distorted on its way to the Duma, Putin’s economic reforms, unless subjected to public scrutiny, will become another round of rent redistribution. The bureaucracy with its business cronies is always happy to take away any extra income from the average Russian, in the form of rents it creates by regulation. Ever wondered why the supposedly impressive GDP growth in 2000-2003 does not seem to have seeped through to most people’s disposable incomes?
Curiously, the Communists, the LibDems (nationalist clowns), and the Rodina faction (divide-the-spoils populists) all voted against the draft law. Thank you guys.
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