I suppose, now that Dmitry Medvedev knows that he has either a diminished or nonexistent set of responsibilities under next year’s President Vladimir Putin, he can afford to be associated with disastrously-managed debacles such as this one. The soon to be former-President showed up at Moscow State University last week to speak to students, but his security ensured that no one knew about the event until it was happening, and open questions were not allowed. Students who tried to protest were detained. The Moscow Times notes that ‘[t]he choice of venue and conditions of the meeting were a vivid indicator of the current status of freedom of speech in the country at present and what it is likely to be under a continuation of the ruling tandem,‘ reporting also that Medvedev feigned innocence when questioned by a journalist about what had happened: ‘Is someone being detained some place?‘ More from the New York Times.
Three students were detained outside the university building and several more inside, all for holding up papers with critical questions for Mr. Medvedev. One 19-year-old said she was detained after she held up a piece of paper bearing the words, “Press is derived from Oppress?”
She was questioned mainly about whether she belonged to a specific opposition group and whether someone had paid her to hold up the sign, she said, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of further consequences.
“I figured we would have the opportunity to say something to the president,” she said. “This was the only possibility because they did not allow us into the conference room.”