President Dmitry Medvedev has apparently heeded public criticism, and will rework Vladimir Putin’s controversial treason bill, which was originally intended to broaden the definitions of espionage and treason to include the passing of state secrets to foreign organizations including nongovernmental organizations. This latter aspect of the bill was considered especially suspect given government efforts over the years to limit the activities of NGOs in Russia.
Human rights activists called the bill a ‘legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler,’ and warned that it could potentially allow authorities to brand any government critic a traitor, apparently sparking Medvedev to order a review of the bill, ‘to prevent the measure from curtailing human rights’ (an increasingly fluid concept, it seems).
This is the second reported contradiction between the policies of Medvedev and Putin this month, after the earlier swipe from Medvedev about the latter’s handling of the economy. But are these disagreements that indicate some stronger clash of policy, or PR moves that look like disagreements?