The price of freedom is to not live in Russia

There is something about Russians and their love of ‘strong’ leaders that is frightening. Why would they continually subject themselves to rulers who oppress the masses?

It is not as if the Russian people are unfamiliar with rebellions and revolutions but they seem unable – or unwilling, more intriguingly – to decisively throw off the shackles of autocrats.

President Vladimir Putin is the latest in a long line of national leaders who bend the system to their personal preferences – the pursuit of unbridled power – and let the proletariat suffer in direct measure.

An insight into the harshness and brutality of the Russian ‘system’ can be gained from a few sobering statistics illuminating their justice system.

The national conviction rate in court cases is 99 per cent. That’s scary. To put it into context, that is a higher rate of guilty verdicts than was the case under Stalin. Yeah, that Putin is a lovely pussy cat.

As the chairman of the Leninsky District Court commented: an acquittal is an extraordinary event in the Russian system. Too bad for Putin’s arch opponent, anti-corruption campaigner, Alexei Navainy, who is facing a raft of charges in four separate court cases which, if proved (yeah, right) would disqualify him from standing for elected office.

Putin is a power-hungry prick, no question. But the Russian tolerance for being oppressed is impossible to understand.

Let all of us who have the right to question our democratic governments never forget that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. No matter how bad our governments are, there are worse. Much worse.


Acknowledgement: The Times and AFP