More Powers for FSB Worry Rights Activists

Medvedev071610.jpgMedvedev essentially told Merkel not to meddle in Russia’s domestic affairs when asked to comment on a new draft law that would give the country’s Federal Security Service, a successor to the KGB, more powers. But it might be difficult not to meddle when human rights groups cry foul.

Gregory L. White reports in WSJ:

Domestic critics said Mr. Medvedev’s support for the plan is at odds with his pledges to increase political openness and shore up the rule of law. Kremlin opponents say the proposal is the latest in a series of measures that amount to a tightening of state control.

“The president has said publicly today that there’s no hope for liberalization of the regime,” said Lev Ponomaryov, head of the nongovernmental group For Human Rights and a member of a Kremlin advisory panel that recommended against passage of the plan last month. “It’s an absolutely totalitarian law,” he added.

And a comment from another rights group:

“The FSB’s powers in our country have long since gone beyond all reasonable limits,” Memorial, one of Russia’s oldest human-rights groups, said in a public appeal Thursday. The new law will be a “tool of political intimidation” reminiscent of Soviet-era curbs on dissidents, the group said.

Photo:Misha Japaridze/AFP