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Time: Russian Dissidents Feel Isolated by Western Indifference

Peter Gumbel of Time Magazine has done a long feature on the new Russian dissidents that is worth reading. Here is one interesting abstract:

Has anyone noticed? Some dissidents complain that, now that the cold war is over, Russia can get away with anything. “At least in the Soviet Union times there was a steady drumbeat of people in the West talking about the problem. Today, lots of Russian activists feel isolated,” says Gill. That’s not to say there’s no support; the European Union and the Council of Europe hold regular discussions about human-rights issues with Russian authorities, and Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, recently raised the matter of Khodorkovsky’s imprisonment directly with Putin, saying the conditions of the oil boss’s detention were “unacceptable.” But at a time when Russia is emerging as an energy superpower and a key ally on handling Iran and North Korea, human rights and freedom of speech are no longer at the top of the West’s agenda. Some, including Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, are quick to defend Putin; in his recent memoirs, Schröder described the Russian President as “a flawless democrat.” “It’s frustrating that some European leaders hold this view,” says Grigory Pasko, a former navy captain, journalist and environmental campaigner who in 2001 was sentenced to four years in jail on treason charges, and released in 2003. “You would hear less of this sort of thing if Europe were not so dependent on Russian energy.”