Aleksei Simonov: "There has probably not been a situation as awful as there is now with regard to free speech since the late 1950s and early 1960s"

posted 5 Jun 2017, 02:12 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Jun 2017, 02:13 ]
"In my memory, there has probably not been a situation as awful as there is now with regard to free speech since the late 1950s and early 1960s. And not because there’s less of it. It’s just that there’s more need of it now, whereas the number of restrictions has increased multifold. Moreover, whereas everything used to be held in check by customs and traditions, say, then now it is held in check by laws, their application, and prisons. [...] 
I don’t think it all comes from above. In fact, the problem is the atmosphere that has formed in the country. And an atmosphere is formed not only from above. It forms from the interaction between the upper echelons and the lower depths. Hence, a very complex situation has arisen here that (this is my sense) even the upper echelons don’t know how to deal with. It’s not just the lower depths not knowing what to do with the upper echelons. What used to be considered utterly normal suddenly became opposition to the direction the regime is laying down for life and education. This is simply blatant testimony to how the trend has changed." 

- Aleksei Simonov, president of the Glasnost Defence Foundation

Source:
"Aleksei Simonov on freedom of speech in Russia: 'Anything left living in this realm has to be trampled”,' Voice of America Russian Service, 31 May 2017 [translation by Rights in Russia]
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