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New Treason Law In Russia Designed To Crush Anti-Putin Dissent

A respected television anchor compared recent events in Russia to KGB tactics.
By Amiel Ungar
First Publish: 11/1/2012, 3:58 AM

Putin swats opponents
Putin swats opponents
Reuters

According to the Moscow Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin remains concerned with "attempts to destabilize the social and political situation in the country." He gave the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, an earful in a meeting with the service's senior echelons.

According to the paper, the agency demanded legal cover in the form of a treason law that expands the meaning of the term to"providing consulting or other types of work to a foreign state, foreign or international organization - if that organization acts against Russia's security interests."

The international organization clause is intended to include NGOs. The law has been criticized by Russia's human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, himself a Putin appointee. Against those suspected of treason, the law permits counterintelligence activities such as wiretapping and searches. The leftist Just Russia party claimed that the law virtually made any contact with a foreigner tantamount to treason.

The law was just passed by the Russian Duma. The furor over the law comes on the heels of torture allegations by parliamentary aide Leonid Razvozzhayev, seeking political asylum in Kiev after being charged together with Sergei Udaltsov of conspiring with Georgia to provoke unrest in Russia.

Razvozzhayev claims that he was abducted, then tied and hooded and transported across the border to Russia. He was then kept in a basement for three days without being allowed to go to the toilet and warned that he and his family would be killed if he did not sign a confession.

He "confessed" and then he was driven to Moscow and delivered to the committee.investigating the plot allegations aired in a pro government documentary, that sees to connect the anti-Putin protests to foreign intrigue.

The case took an unusual turn when Vladimir Pozner, the highly respected 78-year-old anchorman of of Russia's Channel 1, normally a propaganda mouthpiece for the government. sided with Razvozzhayev and compared the investigation against him to the tactics practiced by the KGB.

He compared the written "confession" to the confessions extracted during the Stalinist era. 'In the archives of the KGB there are hundreds of thousands of such 'hand-written' confessions, if not millions…'And it's well known how these confessions were obtained.''

He harangued the representative of  the investigation team “How can the people believe you, when for the last ten years, it’s been strenuously shown – and proven – that there is no justice in the country?”

He referred the daughter of a high placed officiaI in Irkutsk, who got off with a slap on the wrist after killing a pedestrian while driving. The response was a call by a member of Putin's party - calling for the anchorman's resignation, unless he can prove his allegations.