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An Exceptional Cruelty

While reviewing some of the coverage announcing Garry Kasparov‘s withdrawal from the presidential race, I noticed the following paragraph in the AP story, which left me speechless:

On Thursday, riot police stopped two buses carrying dozens of Other Russia supporters who were traveling out of Moscow for the funeral of 22-year-old activist who died after allegedly being beaten by police during an Other Russia protest, Ms. Litvinovich said. Mr. Kasparov and Eduard Limonov, leader of the radical National Bolshevik Party, had planned to attend the funeral.

It takes an exceptionally cruel regime to interrupt something as basic and sacred as a funeral, and I’m frankly I think this is rather inhumane gesture. For those of us who have spent significant time in Russia, and who are close with Russians, understand that unlike the West, paying respects at a funeral is a very big deal, and a failure to attend is totally unacceptable.The young man in question, the 22-year-old activist Yury Chervochkin, died three days ago after spending nearly three weeks in a coma following a severe beating, when unknown individuals assaulted him and cracked his skull. I do not know whether it was UBOP policemen who perpetrated the attack (Chervochkin said he was being followed by them one hour before the attack), I do not know whether it was the work of enterprising Nashi Brigades, inspired by the state propaganda to attack the opposition, nor could I say whether it was an entirely unrelated case violence with no political connotations (although no robbery occurred).What we do know is that the OMON saw it in the State’s interests to prevent two bus loads of mourners from attending the funeral for this poor young man, which is an illustration of exceptional cruelty.