Mothers of Beslan victims charged with ‘Extremism’

A Russian Court will today consider whether the Voice of Beslan – an organisation led by grieving Russian mothers who lost their children in the 2004 Beslan seige – should be outlawed as an extremist organisation.

Their extremist crime? To accuse President Putin of being complicit in the deaths of their children.

The Moscow Times provides some background on the open letter that triggered this prosecution:

The 2005 letter, addressed to “Everyone sympathetic to Beslan’s tragedy” and posted on the group’s web site, says “none of the acts of terrorism that occurred during Putin’s presidency has been investigated properly” and that Putin has become “the guarantor for the terrorists” by not punishing senior officials for the botched Beslan rescue operation.

I cannot think of a more graphic demonstration of the weakness of the current regime, and its over-sensitivity to criticism than this prosecution.

True, under Russian law, such criticism of the President is technically illegal – the law was amended in 2006 to bring public slander of a government official within the legal definition of extremism,

But has anyone considered whether this prosecution is actually in the public interest? How will the Russian public be served by prosecuting a protest group led by greiving mothers?

Surely (and assuming that Putin isn’t complicit), the most sensible way forward for the Russian authorities is to accept that grief causes mothers who have lost their children to lash out, and accept this as a natural expression of their anguish?

Instead, by prosecuting these mothers as extremists all Russia does is trivialise its, and the world’s, ongoing struggle against real terrorists.

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8 Responses

  1. “But has anyone considered whether this prosecution is actually in the public interest? How will the Russian public be served by prosecuting a protest group led by greiving mothers?”

    *****

    On the government side and otherwise: it happens and sometimes without some basis of legitimacy. The circumstances relate to a delicate topic.

    A well intentioned org. can take things a bit out of hand.

    http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=critics+of+MADD+violating+law+activity&go=Search&form=QBRE

    This is posted to provide a reply to a general point raised in the above post.

    On the surface and without having read more about the involved instance (at this juncture), Andy’s view seems reasonable.

    BTW, can’t it be considered somewhat trivial to say that Putin was somehow responsible for the Beslan dead?

  2. Russophile says:

    This is a sad case where there is no need to make a second tragedy out of the events.

    The mothers are obviously grieving and may be thinking irrationally in the charges that they are leveling against the Russian government, but imagine the US government suing a group of 9/11 survivors for extremism for behaving badly.

  3. Anonymous says:

    ”BTW, can’t it be considered somewhat trivial to say that Putin was somehow responsible for the Beslan dead?”

    Hardly. He’s the Head of State, and responsible for the actions of the Russian authorities. Putin is great at glib quips and making noise; but his record on Beslan, Kursk and Dubrovka show that when the chips are down, Putin is found wanting.

    Just as well oil is near $100 a barrel. The likes of Mike Averko, however, make a career out of defending the indefensible, or the incompetent.

  4. As anonymous cranks babble on with their absurd misrepresentations.

    According to such anonymous “logic”, the American government is to blame for 911. A step or so away from blaming the Jews for the Holocaust against them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    ”As anonymous cranks babble on with their absurd misrepresentations.

    According to such anonymous “logic”, the American government is to blame for 911. A step or so away from blaming the Jews for the Holocaust against them”

    As the biggest crank on the internet speaks, the Great Averko.

  6. Like that last post really told me off with an overwhelming preponderance of supporting backup.

    “The Great Averko”

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