LIVE UPDATES: Opposition member Dmitry Nekrasov has fled Russia, fearing that that the Federal Security Service (FSB) will prosecute him on vague charges of “terrorism.”
Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.
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In a blog post for Ekho Moskvy today, May 27, Nekrasov explains first his decision to run in the elections, then his reasons for fleeing to Latvia (translation by The Interpreter):
“Like many ‘firey revolutionaries,’ I don’t like the regime. And I believe that in the next 5-15 years it will collapse or it will be forced to transform itself significantly. But even so, I am certain that this will happen hardly from the result of the actions of opposition forces and not even as the result of a socio-economic crisis but as the consequence of an accidental set of circumstances, ‘black swans,’ which we cannot affect and which are impossible to predict.”
“Suddenly in our strangely constructed state some sort of tumblers clicked and I (and not only I but others) began to be named nearly every day on federal TV channels. No one ever got my consent, no one ever asked me for anything but suddenly I began to be named literally everywhere and the danger signals ceased.”
“After a year of television appearances and round tables, I thought that I was once again respectable, and here from all the cracks was leaking information that the Kremlin supposedly wanted legitimate elections. As if to say the percentage that United Russia got was not so important, it was all under control anyway, but legitimacy was a priority, especially in Moscow above all.”
“I’m glad of course that my election campaign led to my great recognition at least in these circles but that’s simply 1937, for ‘friendship with an enemy of the people.'”
Then various other friends who still remained in government service began to leak to him that a decision had been made to put me in jail. That they were going to incriminate me with “financing extremism and terrorism.” He got the exact same message from different channels from people he trusted who were well informed.
Nekrasov thought this was just to scare him into not running for the elections:
“Usually in Russia the custom with such bourgeois liberals as me is to have a different type of relationship: risks are created for your business, then they come to an agreement with you. Like the searches at Oneksim, then the sale of RBC (with a corrective for the scale, of course). I was prepared for such risks and knew how to deal with them but terrorism — that’s total delirium.”
“This was approximately the conversation. ‘Tell us about your tie to terrorism?’ ‘I don’t have any, what can I reply.’ ‘We have information that you are linked to terrorism.’ Well, you should ask specific questions’ — and complete answer of concrete questions.”
“The unreality of the story that between appearances on federal TV and writing analytical articles, I was involved in TERRORISM along the way was so obvious that I believed they would really fabricate such a case. I believe in human stupidity. The leak seemed realistic.”
“The system is multiplying its enemies and losing qualified cadres.”
A number of people noted Nekrasov’s departure with concern.
Translation: Dmitry Nekrasov has made his European choice. Have you?
But not all bloggers were positive, and an account like this indicates he had enemies:
Translation: Panic-stricken flight of liberals from Russia. Opp Dmitry Nekrasov has dumped. A feather to him. Minus 1 bastard from the television screen.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick