A Road Not Taken: Putin Signs Into Law Bill That Restricts Right of Assembly

posted 9 Jun 2012, 12:50 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Jun 2012, 12:52 ]
9 June 2012

By Tatyana Shamsova

On June 5th the State Duma, a legislative body that would pass for the Lower House of the Russian Parliament if the December 2011 parliamentary elections had been free and fair, approved a disgraceful bill on public assemblies that makes a mockery of Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, freedom of expression and the rights of Russian citizens. The opposing factions stood no chance. The ruling party, United Russia, has an overwhelming majority and made “heroic” efforts to force the bill through in the shortest time possible. But the active resistance against the bill in Duma is worth noting. For the first time in Putin’s 12-year rule the Duma had transformed itself from a “no-discussions” body, stamping Kremlin decisions, into a forum where fractions not only raised their voice against the Kremlin, but defended their views with considerable perseverance and creativity. [Read more