Já se sabia que ao serviço da Santa Mãe Rússia há soldados que não existem. Parece que passou a ser crime falar, escrever ou apenas procurar pelos soldados mortos ou feridos em gloriosos tempos de paz e prosperidade.
Russia has made it a crime to speak, write or broadcast about Russian troop losses in peacetime and about people co-operating with Russian foreign intelligence, in what critics said was a Kremlin attempt to stop all information about Moscow’s involvement in the war in Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday spelling out more than 20 additions to Russia’s state secrets law, including “information which reveals personnel losses in times of war and in peace time while a special operation is being conducted”. The new censorship rules mean families of Russian soldiers killed fighting in Ukraine or activists researching Moscow’s clandestine campaign risk prison sentences of up to eight years.
“It appears that the position of just denying there are Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine cannot last any longer,” said Kirill Koroteev, a lawyer with Memorial, the human rights group.
Earlier this month, associates of the murdered opposition politician Boris Nemtsov published adamning report that said at least 220 active Russian soldiers had died fighting in Ukraine.
Days before he was shot in central Moscow in February, Nemtsov said he intended to enlighten the Russian people, starting with families of military and security officials, that Mr Putin was dragging the country into war.
“Now people will go to prison for searching for data about our fallen soldiers,” Ilya Yashin, one of Nemtsov’s closest associates and co-author of the report, wrote on Twitter.
Olga Romanova, a journalist and rights activist, wrote on her Facebook page: “These things mean that a blogger will be criminally prosecuted for writing about a young widow . . . crying after she received a coffin from Donbass.”
Technically, Russia’s state secrets law only covers certain institutions or persons. But legal experts said the new rules could easily be applied more broadly to silence families of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine, activists distributing or publicly discussing such information and all media reports about Russian involvement in the war.