Is Russia Becoming a Police State?

February 21, 2013

From the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs:

“Russia is now a police state.”

We heard those words from civil society activists in late September during our Moscow visit on behalf of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The words captured their view of Russia today, especially given last year’s targeting of fundamental freedoms, largely in response to protests against Vladimir Putin’s return to Russia’s presidency.

Last June, Putin signed a law imposing draconian fees on participants of unauthorized gatherings that violate “public order.”

In July, laws were enacted which criminalized libel, particularly against government officials, tightened Internet control, and required foreign-funded nongovernmental groups (NGOs) involved in undefined political activity to register as “foreign agents.”

In November, Putin signed amendments expanding the definition of high treason.

How did Russia arrive at such a point?

Its religious freedom record provides part of the answer.

Keep reading here.