Phillip Pan’s piece in the Washington Post today looks at the reactions to the publishing of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s letters detailing the cruelty and repression of his time in prison.
Since Magnitsky’s death, though, the press, even Kremlin-controlled outlets, has shown unexpected vigor. The New Times published 43 pages of prison writings on its Web site. “It was just stunning for us to read this documented humiliation of personal dignity and human rights,” Albats said. “We had this in Stalin’s time, but never since then have we had such a detailed account that suggests the practices of the gulag continue to exist now.” (…)
But Kirill Kabanov, who heads the Anti-Corruption Committee, an independent research and advocacy group, said public outrage over Magnitsky’s death represents a potential turning point and a chance for Medvedev to make a stand with the public against entrenched bureaucrats.
“We’re well aware that the security services will try to hide certain facts, so we can’t sit idly by,” he said. “It’s very important that the president has another assessment of what happened, from civil society, from human rights activists, from journalists. Then it will be up to him to decide which side he takes.”