Russian socialist writes: ‘Putin ramps up repression, but there’s less patriotic frenzy’

An onslaught on the front lines always leads to an onslaught on the home front, and the current Russian-Ukrainian war confirms this rule.

The more Russia becomes entangled in the war of aggression, the more repression is unleashed against anti-war and social activists inside Russia. None of us feel safe today, as Vladimir Putin’s security services openly speak of imminent repression, anti-war rallies are dispersed and activists are detained by the police and the National Guard.

The war been going on only for a week, but already at this point we have the following examples of “tightening the screws”:

  • There are threats from the special services to apply Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code— “Treason against the Motherland”, to anti-military activists for objective reporting. The punishment is up to 20 years in prison. Anti-war propaganda can also be subsumed under this article.

Media outlets are prohibited from using the words “war” and “occupation”. The remaining opposition media outlets, such as Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow), are being shut down.

  • Roskomnadzor—the The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media—demanded from ten media outlets the removal of articles about the war with Ukraine. The authorities considers the messages in them “inappropriate information”.

The demand was received by publications Mediazona, Dozhd, Novaya Gazeta, Echo Moskvy, InoSMI, New Times, Svobodnaya Presse, Krym.Realii, and the specialized publications Zhurnalist and Lenizdat.

When covering the situation of the Russian army today, people can refer only exclusively to Russian sources.

  • The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation says the social network Facebook is involved in violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation—including those guaranteeing freedom of the mass media. Facebook and Instagram face glitches in Russia, making it impossible to contact foreign comrades in time.
  • Some male reservists have begun to receive checks from the military registration and enlistment offices at their homes, supposedly for “clarification of data”. There is every reason to believe that this will affect first of all anti-war activists.

The confrontation between Russia and Nato has entered a new phase, the war is going on in the residential areas of oppressed Ukraine. Russians, who back in 2014 rejoiced in Putin’s imperial expansion, are now dissatisfied. 

Prices are beginning to rise so much that social collapse in Russia is almost inevitable and businesses are leaving Russia at an astonishing rate. The patriotic frenzy is markedly less than eight years ago.

The situation is extremely serious, there has never been anything like this in Russia’s modern history. Every communication with foreign comrades may be the last. We ask all anti-war and left-wing activists who care to spread the word.

Putin’s Russia has cut off air links with the vast majority of countries, making emigration for political asylum practically impossible. It is the duty of all international socialists to help anti-war and social activists who have fled Russia if possible, to ensure that they are not extradited to the Putin government.

The task of the Russian socialists, on the other hand, is to resist as long as possible in the imperialist rear, in the centre of Russia for as long as it is possible.

Freedom to the peoples! Death to the empires!

By Socialist Tendency (Russia)

Republished from Socialist Worker UK

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