Saturday, January 10, 2009


The demise of the Soviet Union has been greatly exaggerated.

The Russian government could soon wield the power to label critics of official policy a "traitor" and subject them to criminal prosecution.

A new bill proposed by prime minister Vladimir Putin would expand the existing definition of treason under Russian law to include any statements or actions that damage "Russia's constitutional order, sovereignty or territorial integrity." Such a broad definition, critics say, would allow the Kremlin to prosecute virtually any organization or individual who publicly opposes its policies and decisions.

Human rights activists have decried the new measure, calling it "legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler."

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