On Saturday, there was this, from Helen Szamuely …
The most recent news from Russia, apart from the ongoing saga of Yukos, which is being destroyed by the government partly to punish its Chairman, Khodorkovsky, for trying to break away from it and for giving money to the political opposition and partly to restore control of the production of energy to the state, has been one of a new law presented to the Lower House of the Duma. This will specify that foreigners who can be shown to have criticized Russia, its people and its culture, which, one must assume, includes the political structure, can be refused a visa without further ado.
One has to accept that a country must be able to choose whether to allow certain people to enter its territory. However, Russia until recently has proclaimed its intention to become an open country like other open countries (give or take complete state control of the media and the abolition of elections on regional level and of individual deputies of the Duma). If this law goes through, all pretence will be finally abandoned.
Political rights and civil liberties have become so restricted in Russia that the country has been downgraded to “Not Free,” Freedom House announced in a major survey of global freedom released today.
Mark me down as a foreigner who can be shown to have criticized Russia, by which I mean the bit of Russia (the bit in charge) that did this to the rest of Russia.