Verdict against Putin opponent Kara-Mursa: Morally rotten

In Russia, an opposition politician has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. President Putin is fighting his own people.

Journalists stand in front of a courthouse in Moscow, a woman speaks into a microphone

The lawyer for the imprisoned opposition politician Kara-Mursa speaks to journalists Photo: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Russia’s judiciary has once again set an example on behalf of the Kremlin: opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Mursa was sentenced to 25 years in a camp under stricter conditions – including for disparaging the Russian army and state treason.

Since the beginning of Moscow’s war of aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, these have been the common clauses in the penal code, on the basis of which uncomfortable contemporaries are being hunted down. The verdict against Kara-Mursa, who is in poor health and actually unfit for imprisonment, could amount to a death sentence. But a human life more or less – what does that matter.

A statement by the public prosecutor last week also makes one sit up and take notice. He referred to Kara-Mursa as an “enemy” who should be punished. This is reminiscent of the show trials of the Stalin era, where alleged “enemies of the people” were sentenced and executed in rows. But it doesn’t take prominent personalities like Vladimir Kara-Mursa or Alexei Navalny, who might not survive his imprisonment either, to attract the regime’s hatred.

In Vladimir Putin’s empire, a harmless child’s drawing or a careless remark in the classroom is enough to call the Russian domestic secret service FSB into action. It is as shocking as it is true: Russia is not only at war against Ukraine and the “collective West”, but also against its own people. That says a lot about the state of this country, which has long since left the circle of civilized states. The system has collapsed and is morally rotten. To link its continued existence solely to the person of Vladimir Putin would be extremely naïve.

The day will come when the darkness that is covering Russia will lift, Kara-Mursa said in his closing remarks. There is still a long way to go until then, but the Ukraine war could be the beginning of the end.

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