Russia has always been a dangerous place for dissidents and people who are not “patriots.” So this is not a surprise-
A row that started with a joke about an “anti-Soviet” kebab shop has spiralled into a full-scale intimidation case in which a Russian journalist has been forced into hiding by young nationalists.
Alexander Podrabinek, the Russia correspondent for a French radio station and a veteran Soviet-era dissident, had his home picketed and was threatened with legal action by a pro-Kremlin youth group after he wrote an article criticising the censorship of the name of a restaurant in a northern suburb of Moscow. He claims he and his family have also received death threats from the youth group, called Nashi.
[W]hen members of Nashi, the organisation set up by Kremlin ideologues during Vladimir Putin’s tenure as President, saw the article, they went on the attack. The group, which critics have likened to the Hitler Youth, said it would take Mr Podrabinek to court and vowed to make his life hell unless he apologised.
When Samuel Johnson talked about patriotism being the last refuge of the scoundrel, he wasn’t jesting.
Russian dissidents, artists, journalists etc have it good. They have to face but one group of thugs. Their Indian counterparts, on the other hand, are mauled day in day out by anybody who can gather ten people around his or her cause. Directors and song writers have to kiss and make up with queens and princes, fix their “gaffes,” or suffer huge losses while chief ministers living in Wonderland wonder “why the well-known film maker had to apologise to an individual at all,” and artists and writers, some of whom have been dead for years, have to take care not to hurt the “sentiments” of people who love being offended and are incapable of using a pen to respond. When they do use a pen, its either a poison pen, or a police complaint designed to harass the person in question. How else can one resort to one’s favorite activity—bullying.
Having multiple wolf packs running amok has a brighter side to it though—no single person can monopolize the intimidation business. Most of the world might have to deal with a single dictator, but, to borrow the title of Tigmanshu Dhulia’s short film, yahaan toh anekon hitler raj karte hain.