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Grigory Pasko: Medvedev’s Personal Instructions

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At a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in mid-July, President Dmitry Medvedev commented on the legal situation regarding the expansion of FSB powers:

“The situation is simple to the extreme. But I would not want very much to comment now on those changes in legislation that are taking place in our country. But since you have spoken about this, first, I would like to bring attention to the fact that this is our internal legislation, and not international acts.

Second, every country has the right to perfect its legislation, including also in relation to the spetzservices. And we are going to do this. And what is now taking place, – I would like for you to know this, – is done upon my personal instruction.”

Every word of Medvedev’s in the given situation just begs to be protested against. The situation with the law on expanding the powers of the heirs of the KGB – is complex to the extreme. The amendments have elicited indignation not only in the country, but in the world. Hence, by the way, the question to Medvedev at the press conference about these powers. Medvedev, in essence, did not answer the question: «I would not want to comment», «every country has the right…» Yes, it has, but not in every country do the special services lock innocent people up merely for their political views, different from the views of the powers that be.


Medvedev said that the expansion of the powers has been made upon hisdirect order. I have not found a single person who would believe thisphrase. Because it is known to everybody: Medvedev can’t do anythinghimself. He himself – is the «direct instruction» of Putin.

…Once upon a time they were convincing me that Medvedev – this is good.Well, at any rate, better than Putin. I objected: give me just somekind of grounds to think this way, besides Medvedev’s assertion abouthow “freedom is better than non-freedom”. Those doing the convincing,as it seemed to me, even hoped that under Medvedev Khodorkovsky andLebedev, at last, will find freedom.

They didn’t. Precisely because Medvedev-is the incarnation of a “directinstruction”.

Let’s read deeper about the expansion of the powers. In the amendmentsto the law it is said that «to the measures of prophylaxis being appliedby the organs of the federal security service shall belong theintroduction of a representation on the elimination of the causes andconditions contributing to the realization of threats to the security ofthe Russian Federation, and the announcement of an official admonitionon the inadmissibility of actions creating conditions for the commissionof crimes…»

With such an extremely vague formulation the KGB-FSB truly – does have aboundless sea for boisterous activity against those who are not inagreement with the current regime. After all, it is none other thanthey – the heirs of comrade Dzerzhinsky, whose portraits-icons continueto this day to hand in every office of every chekist – who are going tobe determining the conditions «contributing to threats», and the actions«creating conditions».

The FSB-niks can henceforth serve a person unwanted by them anofficial admonition «on the inadmissibility of actions creatingconditions for the commission of such crimes».

It is mentioned in the draft law that the admonition is «binding forexecution» – but nothing is said about what will be with those who donot desire to execute it.

It is thought that first of all they are not going to start letting thenon-executor out beyond the border. It is known now about dozens ofsituations when unreliable, according to the KGB’s version, persons areNOT LET IN upon an order of the FSB in Russia: politicians,journalists, lawyers, translators…In the opinion of employees of the human-rights organization«Memorial», in everyday life we can speak of actions found «verging onthe brink of a crime»; but from the point of view of the fundamentalprinciple of law such actions do not and can not exist. A person eithercommits a crime (preparation of a crime [conspiracy] in accordance witharticle 30 of the CC RF likewise is a crime) – and then he is subjectto criminal liability in accordance with the articles of the CriminalCode; or he does not commit it – and then his deeds are legal andrightful.

An employee of the special services can inform his «ward» that,according to his opinion, the latter is teetering on the verge of thecommission of a crime, and if things keep going this way, then he mayfind himself on the defendant’s bench. But for this he does not needany additional powers and rights.

It is noteworthy that the Memorialists naïvely deemed that Medvedev willimpose a veto on the amendments to the law. They appealed to him:«…And we do not lose hope that when this law, partially – senseless, andpartially – dangerous for societal freedom, is received for signatureto the President of the RF, the latter will assess it in due manner andwill impose on it a veto».

The president did impose. Only not a veto, but, it seems, into hisshort presidential knickers.