Is Russia bullying its youths?

Several youths are currently on trial in Russia, accused of having co-founded an extremist movement. Judges have once again refused to release 18-year-old Anna Pavlikova from custody. Russian commentators see a strategy behind the rise in judicial excesses, which include Internet users being arrested for sharing posts on social media.

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Echo of Moscow (RU) /

Zero tolerance for protest

Echo of Moscow uses the proceedings against Pavlikova to lay bare state oppression:

“[Kremlin spokesman] Peskov said that the Kremlin was following this case. We don't need Peskov to know that; the Kremlin always follows everything. And if someone gets a few years in prison the Kremlin simply shrugs and says it can't do anything, that this was the decision of an extremely just Russian court. Today's Putin-Russia in a nutshell: a provocateur thinks up a case, there are arrests, and then sentences. Protests are forbidden. ... Arrests and trials for reposts, likes and photos: you reposted a photo of the opening of an anti-fascist museum in Poland? That's all it takes for them to come and get you: 'Why is there a swastika on the photo?'”

Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Aberrations of justice are deliberate

Although Moscow has ostensibly criticised local authorities for being overeager in their investigations, behind the scenes it is encouraging or at the very least tolerating them, Radio Kommersant FM concludes:

“These incidents are becoming more and not less frequent with each day that passes. ... Why? One could blame it all on the narrow-mindedness of provincial officials. In Moscow and St. Petersburg there are far fewer cases like this. But when local officials take things too far the central headquarters have to intervene, send in manuals and put a stop to the flood of investigations. ... Duma members have tried to push through milder sentences for reposts. It didn't work. ... That means these trials are necessary. Without a doubt, otherwise people will suddenly start thinking they do what they like - when in fact they have to be kept under control.”