The totalitarian regime of Putin jails Oleg Orlov

The totalitarian regime of Putin jails Oleg Orlov

The two-and-a-half-year sentence ordered today by the Golovinsky District Court of Moscow against 70-year-old Oleg Orlov, co-president of the Memorial Center for the Defense of Human Rights, on charges for “repeatedly discrediting” the Russian armed forces, is yet another act by a totalitarian regime that stifle any form of dissent and denies all minimum safeguards for a fair trial.

Oleg Orlov and hundreds of Russian political prisoners are put behind bars because they dared to criticise the government and the army . They are the ones who truly uphold the Russian Constitution that Putin disrespects and breaches constantly, just like he does with Ukraine.

Before the sentence, Orlov said: “I have committed no crime. I am being tried for a media article I wrote in which I called the political regime that’s been put in place in Russia totalitarian and fascist. I wrote it over a year ago. At the time, some of my friends thought I was blowing things out of proportion. But now it’s blatantly clear. I wasn’t exaggerating at all. The state in our country controls not only public, political, and economic life. It also seeks total control over culture and the sciences and invades private life. The state has become all-pervasive.”

Putin cannot allow his kleptocratic regime to become a democracy. For this reason he continues to systematically violate the fundamental rights constitutionally provided for, as in the case of art. 29 of the Russian Constitution which guarantees freedom of thought and speech, specifying that “nobody shall be forced to express his/her thoughts and convictions or to deny them”.

Today Oleg Orlov honors the Russian Constitution in the face of imprisonment and the obvious, high risks associated with it. As the Kremlin crackdown widens after Navalny’s death and Putin continues to target Russian dissidents, democratic countries across the Atlantic need greater unity and support for Ukraine and for both Russian and Belarusian diaspora.

Giulio Terzi