Hundreds of people in St. Petersburg protested the killing last week of Russian activists who were fighting for human rights and the establishment in Russia of a legal system predicated on law and due process. Stanislav Markelov, a lawyer who had taken on human rights cases and fought against neo-Nazi groups. Protestors held flowers, candles, and carried pictures not only of Markelov, but of the slain journalist Anastasia Baburova. Naturally, the police claimed those expressing support for human rights in Russia were interfering with the movement of pedestrians.
The tragedy of modern Putin Russia is the absence of a strong government commitment to civil rights and due process. Those who stand up against neo-Nazis groups in the country are harassed and denied basic rights of protest. In Putin Russia, silence is the official manner in which one can express protest about violations of human rights. Hopefully, one day, the Russian people will enjoy a democratic society in which the forces of civil rights dominate society.