The noose tightens.
via: The Economist
IN the weeks and months after Vladimir Putin’s victory on March 4th for a new term as Russian president, the Kremlin appeared unsure about exactly how to deal with a protest movement that it had assumed would disappear on its own after the election. The signs were contradictory: tentative hints at a more conciliatory policy were followed by signs of looming crackdown, and vice versa. One day wearing a white ribbon in the street or eating breakfast in front of the wrong café was enough to get arrested; another day tens of thousands of people were able to walk along Moscow’s central boulevards unimpeded by police.
Then came the events of recent days, when a coherent strategy on the part of the authorities for snuffing out the resilient opposition movement—or at least that part embodied by large-scale street demonstrations—appeared at last to settle into view. The Duma Russia’s parliament, passed a new bill raising fines for participating in unsanctioned protests to $9,000, almost as much as the average annual Russian salary. Organisers could face fines of up to $30,000. Mr Putin signed it into law on June 8th arguing that society must “protect itself from radicalism.”