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FSB Halfway to Absolute Power


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The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, today passed on third reading a measure that dramatically expands the powers of the FSB, a measure that Russian rights activists are urging President Dmitry Medvedev not to sign. Under the terms of the measure, the FSB in cases where there is no evidence of a crime can declare any Russian of being engaged in “impermissible actions which create the conditions for the committing of a crime,” a declaration that opens the way to arbitrary actions against people.

Moreover, the new measure allows the FSB to declare anyone who does not obey the legal demand or order of an FSB officer in violation of the country’s administrative code and hold him or her to account without the presentation of any evidence or any referral of the matter to a court. These provisions, according to a commentator, put the FSB “halfway to absolute power.” This expansion in the powers of the FSB allows the Russian security service to act in ways that in many respects resembles some of the KGB in Soviet times.

Russia’s human rights community still holds out hope that Medvedev will not sign the measure into law. In advance of the Duma vote, the leaders of that community distributed an appeal outlining the reasons why the Russian president should refuse to sign the law. Arguing that the measure in fact did nothing to prevent new crimes and that the human rights community is not opposed to steps that will do that, the declaration argued that the measure should be rejected because it returns Russian law to “the old Soviet path.”

The authors of the appeal say they have “not lost hope that when this law, in part senseless and in part dangerous for the freedom of society, comes to the President for his signature, he will assess it in an appropriate manner and veto rather than approve it.” Among the signatories, are Lyudmila Alekseyeva of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Oleg Orlov and Tatyana Kasatkina of Memorial, Valentin Gefter of the Institute of Human Rights, Henri Reznik of the Advocates Chamber, and Lev Ponomaryov of For Human Rights.


Zhizn V Policeiskom Gosudarstve by Adaptaciyahttp://windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2010/07/window-on-eurasia-expansion-in-fsbs.html


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