The creeping infringement on human rights in Russia under President Vladimir Putin raises a broader quandary for the international community: Do repressive laws matter if they’re rarely or never enforced?
Over the past year, Russia’s parliament has passed a raft of measures impinging upon the human rights of its citizens. They allow authorities to impose onerous fines for unsanctioned gatherings, shut down websites they view as extremist and imprison journalists for slander.
Because the laws are often vaguely worded and have not yet been aggressively enforced, some might see them as something less than serious. As Bloomberg View writer Leonid Bershidsky put it: “The parliament has used its year in power to turn Russia from a pretend democracy into an equally fake dictatorship.”
Such analysis overlooks the powerful effect of simply having repressive rules on the books.… Seguir leyendo »