The FSB’s ‘Preventative Measures’

More concerns have surfaced today over the new FSB bill to ‘combat extremism’ submitted to the Duma last week.  Today the Power Vertical’s Robert Coalson relays some criticisms drawn from INDEM foundation head Georgy Satarov, who has analyzed the bill’s small print, or rather the ‘explanatory note’ which accompanies it.  His reading reveals more disquieting implications to add to the fears about media freedom already apprehended:

First, Satarov mentions that the bill is directed against “the actions of people that facilitate the appearance of reasons or the creation of circumstances for the commission of a crime.” Under the bill, Satarov speculates, the FSB could theoretically take “preventative measures” against the Duma for passing a law that creates opportunities for corruption. Or it could go after the president for signing such a law or the government for enforcing it…. By such logic, the FSB could act preemptively against minorities for creating the conditions under which some neo-Nazi skinheads might want to beat them up. Jews could be harassed for inciting anti-Semitism by being Jewish. Police officers could be arrested for provoking violent anarchists.


Even more interestingly, Satarov notes that the explanatory note forthe law claims that “the activity of radical organizations is leadingto the growth of social tension and a strengthening of negativeprocesses in society, especially among youths.” Satarov adds that thetheme of youths runs through the document “like a red thread,” perhapsgiving a hint about the real purpose of the bill. His dissection ofthis bit of the FSB’s logic is worth quoting at length:

They are trying to persuade us that “the activization of the activityof radical organizations” is the cause of social instability and thestrengthening of negative tendencies in society. Next they’ll betelling us that the wind is caused by the movement of tree branches.But the scariest thing is that they might really think this waythemselves. When I was a presidential assistant, I systematically readthe analyses of various agencies, and the most talentless and uselessones came from the FSB. It doesn’t seem to occur to them (and theydefinitely don’t want it to ever occur to us!) that social tension isrooted in the constantly increasing gap between rich and poor, inbureaucratic unaccountability from which there is no protection, andmany other miracles produced by the practices of the authorities, ofwhom the author of the document is a member. We might also mentiontheir efforts to inculcate xenophobia, chauvinism, and great-powerarrogance. They are the ones who encourage the demonstrations offascists and forbid the protests of democrats.

Read the whole article here.