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Squeezing Out the Vote in Russia

The New York Times has published the first article of the pre-election series Kremlin Rules, entitled “Putin’s Iron Grip on Russia Suffocates His Opponents.”

The Federal Security Service, known by its initials in Russian, F.S.B., has interrogated the tolerance foundation’s workers, family members and friends. Its leaders, Stanislav Dmitriyevsky and Oksana Chelysheva, have received death threats. And as part of a smear campaign, the Volga regional television station showed Russian soldiers being beheaded in Chechnya and said the group had justified such killings. In October, when the foundation held a memorial for Anna Politkovskaya, an opposition journalist killed in 2006, several foreign human rights advocates were arrested in Nizhny Novgorod. The police again raided the foundation’s offices, and the authorities froze its bank accounts, saying it supported terrorism. “The ruling elite nowadays has no ideology,” Ms. Chelysheva said. “Their only aim is to obtain as much power as possible, to keep this power, by whatever means, and to profiteer off this power. In this respect, these people, who are so cynical, are much more dangerous than was the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R.”