In case you missed it, Vladimir Putin signed into law on Friday last a bill "broadening the definition of extremism to include media criticism of state officials....
The new legislation will allow imprisonment of up to three years for journalists, and the suspension or closure of their publication if convicted..."
Yep, media criticism of public officials puts you in the pokey for three years in Russia now.
But don't think gagging reporters and ripping free speech to shreds are all he's been up to. Nope, the former KGB honcho [what is le mot juste here, "fuehrer"?—sounds too loaded, "leader"?—sounds too New-York-Timesish, "head"?—misses the point entirely, "czar"?—too close to the truth] has been a busy beaver. He recently signed a law to guarantee the monopoly of Gazprom, one his largest backers, to all natural gas in Russia (and hence to much of Europe), one banning Duma members from changing parties (can't have free association either), and an agreement with Venezuela to sell them advanced military planes in defiance of a US ban. But wait, there's more.
In case the message wasn't completely clear, two German journalists were jailed in advance of the G8 summit, even before the current journalism bill was signed.
------------------------- The Difference is an ongoing series seeking to determine whether there is any point in the further continuance of Western Democracy, or whether we're justasbadas our enemies.