Putin ‘Tightening Screws’ – In Politics: Vladimir Putin’s Universal Screwdriver. Russian President Once Again Demonstrates His Signature Harshness

 

Putin ‘Tightening Screws’ –  Nezavisimaya Gazeta – September 10, 2011 – Article by Ivan Rodin, Nezavisimaya Gazeta political observer: “In Politics: Vladimir Putin’s Universal Screwdriver. Russian President Once Again Demonstrates His Signature Harshness.”

[no link available to English-language version of original article]

Nezavisimaya Gazeta observes that recently “the Russian president once again demonstrated his traditional harshness.”

… specifically before setting off to Vladivostok as the host of the APEC summit, Putin explained in an interview with Russia Today : What many consider to be a tightening of the screws and pressure on the political opposition, he sees as bringing about order. By announcing that even those who are against this must and certainly will obey the law. That is, Putin is making it clear that, supposedly, for now he is just slightly adjusting the screws.

The article asserts that the Magnitsky case and Pussy Riot matter are treated by Putin as the work of Russia’s enemies:

… the second signature trait of our president is that answers to questions that are inconvenient for him are given in the style of “but you in America lynch blacks.” Therefore, it is not surprising that, in Putin’s interpretation of the Magnitskiy case and Pussy Riot, these are merely intrigues of the eternal enemies of Russia. Who, of course, must be monitored, but in no case must there be any positive reaction to them.

The article does note some new requirements on public officials, such as declarations of expenditures, bans on foreign assets and demands for greater transparency.

But for higher level officials, the maximum age for holding office for a public employee has been raised form 65 to 70, providing for greater longevity in power.

The article goes to call actions against opposition lawmaker Gennadiy Gudkov a political reprisal

…  in this case [Putin] is in essence working as a “high-powered screwdriver.” That is why the exemplary proceedings on excluding Just Russia member Gennadiy Gudkov from the State Duma last week were revved up.  …. from December of last year, even the almighty Investigative Committee was unable to find any facts to substantiate his unlawful entrepreneurial activity… But at the beginning of this week, fresh compromising material on Gudkov must certainly appear. Otherwise, United Russia would have to deprive him of his mandate on practically fabricated grounds. Meanwhile, we will recall that the real reason for such harshness toward the oppositionist was never once officially named, even though it had long been talked about in lobby discussions …  supposedly [Gudkov’s] subordinates … had taken an active part in the unrest of 6 May on Bolotnaya Square. However, we should note that, in that case, if the authorities do not confirm this rumor in any way, the decision on Gudkov will go down in history as an example of political reprisal.