This blog will have to get more political. There’s no avoiding it any more: Russia’s been sliding unfailingly hellward since the Dec. 12 elections, blatantly fraudulent even for this country. The Kremlin has viciously attacked the opposition, free thought and free speech, and in doing so has gone against the Constitution, common decency and, most recently, even common sense. Consider the truly asymmetrical response to the so-called Magnitsky bill.
Congress has passed, and President has signed, a bill banning certain Russian officials from entering the country. These persons are suspected of involvement in the persecution and death (in jail) of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer once working for the Hermitage fund. In response, Russia’s so-called parliament has banned adoptions of Russian nationals by US citizens.
Which means thousands of disabled Russian children will continue to rot in state-owned orphanages instead of getting adopted (no Russian families want them; that’s why they got slated for international adoption). As a new Russian joke goes, if Obama bombed Syria now, Putin would bomb Voronezh in response.
The opposition-minded Novaya Gazeta collected 100,000 signatures against that bill literally in a couple of days – so strong is the anti-bill sentiment among educated Russians. The Duma cared not a bit and passed the “screw the orphans” law with only four “nays”. Right after that, within 48 or just 36 hours, 50,000 Russians signed another petition – this time to the White House – asking for Duma’s yea-voters to be banned from the US. The White House responded with hand-waving and froze the signature list.
Today, Russia’s upper chamber dutifully rubber-stamped the odious bill. Novaya Gazeta is gathering votes for the Duma to be sacked. Over 50,000 so far, and it’s been two or three days. I’m pretty sure 500,000 or even a millions won’t be a problem unless the Kremlin brings down the online poll.