Russia’s post-Olympics crackdown

 

Shortly before the Sochi Olympics, the Russian government surprised many by granting amnesty to 20,000 prisoners including high-profile opposition activists like Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot and recently jailed members of Greenpeace. That was followed by the even more surprising release of President Vladimir Putin’s longtime antagonist, tycoon-turned-activist Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

It seemed at the time like a fairly transparent bid for some good publicity ahead of the international media’s arrival in Russia for the Olympics. And given the events that have transpired in the three days since the games ended, those suspicions now seem confirmed.

On Monday, hundreds —including Tolokonnikova and Alykhina — were arrested in Moscow for protesting against sentencing of seven men on charges related to the mass protests that broke out around Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012.

Tuesday, a number of prominent opposition leaders, including activist and blogger Aleksei Navalny and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov. were sentenced to several days in prison for resisting arrest during the rally.

Navalny — one of the most dynamic and effective leaders Russian opposition leaders to emerge in years — is in a particularly delicate position. In July he was sentenced to five years in prison on embezzlement charges, but was released, pending appeal, following protests against the sentence, which was widely seen as politically motivated. Navalny’s current sentence is only seven days, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him returned to jail for longer.

Russia continued to some extent to crack down on activists during the games, but now that the global spotlight has lifted from the country, it seems more likely that the gloves will come off, particularly with the opposition looking to events in neighboring Ukraine.

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international news, social science and related topics. He was previously an editor at Foreign Policy magazine.

© 2014, Slate

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • Why Obama shouldn’t go to Ferguson

    On Monday, ABC’s Ann Compton asked President Barack Obama whether he would visit Ferguson, Missouri, amid the continued unrest. Obama didn’t give a firm answer, but he did suggest it’s probably not a good idea.

  • I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.

    A teen-ager is fatally shot by a police officer; the police are accused of being bloodthirsty, trigger-happy murderers; riots erupt. This, we are led to believe, is the way of things in America.

  • We’re spending too much on raising kids

    The Department of Agriculture has released its annual report on the cost of raising children, and the upshot is what you probably already know: It’s expensive.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category