The Guardian: Russia Purposely Suppressing Free Speech with ‘Waves of Propaganda’

 'Human rights are being dangerously undermined' … Mario Vargas Llosa. Photograph: Alessandro Di Marco/EPA

‘Human rights are being dangerously undermined’ … Mario Vargas Llosa. Photograph: Alessandro Di Marco/EPA

In yet another public outcry against the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine, one branch of the international civil and human rights group PEN, most well-known for their vocal stance against literary censorship and the abridgment of free speech, has accused Vladimir Putin and the rest of the Russian Federation’s of using an endless propaganda campaign to mislead the world regarding their actions in Ukraine.  The campaign, which many have seen as an all too effective weapon against freedom of speech, has been labeled as Russia “using words to destroy meaning.” This group of PEN members includes Mario Vargas Llosa and Tomas Tranströmer, winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 and 2011, respectively. “In the name of security,” the group says, “human rights are being dangerously undermined.”
Part of an Increase in Disturbing Behavior
Needless to say, the outcry from PEN is not the first and is unlikely to be the last bit of criticism over Russia’s policies and its continued incursions into the sovereign politics and territories of Ukraine. The former Soviet Union has long been criticized for its draconian laws, ranging from the criminalization of dirty cars — you read that correctly — to the suppression of freedom of the press. One of the biggest rallying cries for Russia’s detractors has been the political-punk musical group Pussy Riot. Multiple members of the band have been arrested on multiple occasions for staging public protests of the Kremlin’s activities. They were only released when the Russian government needed a PR boost leading up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Compared to some of Russia’s actions, taking prisoners of conscience seems a relatively sane, normal thing to do. The Ukrainian Justice Ministry recently filed a lawsuit against Russia for allegedly abducting children and their teachers from the Ukrainian region of Donetsk. The government wants the children returned and an explanation provided as to why Russian forces illegally crossed Ukraine’s borders and took the children. As with everything else in this war, Russia’s general response has been something akin to, “we’re just doing our best to protect Russians,” or that other old chestnut, “The West is making this all up.” In other words, no positive changes are being made.

What do you think of Russia’s continued abuse of human and civil rights? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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