By VennerRoad, 19th Sep 2017
Russia used to be part of an evil empire. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and a new authoritarianism in the West, it is beginning to look more and more like the real free world.
Vladimir Putin - the leader of the Free World?
If that statement sounds controversial, consider the following:
In the United States, law-abiding citizens can be beaten senseless or even shot dead by police officers with no meaningful consequence for the perpetrator. It is more likely to happen to young black men and youngish men generally, but women and even children are not exempt. How often are innocent people shot dead by the Russian police?
In the United States, many government agencies have the power to inflict misery and suffering on innocent people. And often they do. Extreme examples of this include the notorious 1992 Ruby Ridge incident, and the 1993 Waco massacre. Less dramatic examples occur on a daily basis; so called Child Protective Services have Draconian powers which are often used against families who lead unconventional lifestyles, home schoolers, for example. Both the Clinton Administration and the Obama Administration misused the Internal Revenue Service to persecute opponents; for the Clintons, it was personal; for Obama, it was political.
While especially on university campuses, free speech is under attack, the mainstream media is free to libel and denegrate people with gay abandon, including even the President. Since he won the election, Donald Trump has been the target of a vicious campaign by the media which has seen him assassinated in effigy at least twice - by comedienne Kathy Griffin and in a play - both of which drew only moderate condemnation. The President’s family including his wife, his daughter, and even his young son have not been spared.
In the UK where there is no written constitution and no equivalent of a first amendment, Draconian laws suppress freedom of speech and penalise people for speaking out on a wide variety of subjects, most notably anything to do with race, and lately sexual orientation. In 2009, a black councillor from Bristol called a fellow Asian councillor a coconut. Not the most flattering of comments, but is this a criminal offence? Sadly, yes, and in March 2011, her conviction was upheld on appeal.
In France and “democratic” Germany, numerous people have been dragged into court, fined, and even given quite lengthy prison sentences for challenging the extent of atrocities committed in the Second World War, but only those atrocities committed by the losing side. In France especially, the intolerance of religious symbolism has led to not simply banning the niqab in public places - something that is reasonable when there are security issues - but to the harassment of Moslem women on the beach by police officers.
A lot more could be written in this vein, but here is a really big violation of freedom. You think your e-mails, telephone conversations or even your snailmail letters are safe from the prying eyes of the state? Think again! Since at least the 1970s, the NSA has routinely spied on European electronic communications while GCHQ has spied on Americans. This arrangement allows the American authorities to claim (technically) that they are not spying on domestic groups, and that the British are likewise not snooping on their citizens.
Finally, when the Berlin Wall was in place, people fleeing persecution would travel from East to West. In 2013, Edward Snowden fled to Russia where he was granted asylum. Snowden’s crime - if it be that - was to expose the extent of illegal surveillance by agencies of the “democratic” United States.
Of course, none of the above means Russia is perfect, there is injustice and state repression everwhere. But look at the entry for the Russian Federation in this Amnesty International report for 2016/17 and ask yourself if on balance it isn’t a freer place for ordinary people than the bastions of democracy in the West.
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