Saturday, August 27, 2005
Town council shows cost of opposing Putin
Alexander Klokov, the chain-smoking chief prosecutor in this quiet Russian backwater, says he cannot explain why, but Kovrov city council is a hornet's nest of criminals.
Over the past two years, 8 of the 21 council members have been in prison, awaiting trial or fresh from jail. It has made Kovrov, a city of 150,000 half a day's drive east of Moscow, something of a phenomenon.
The councillors themselves say there is a simple explanation: they dared to criticise Kovrov's mayor and now he is punishing them by fabricating criminal cases with the help of corrupt police, prosecutors and judges.
Kovrov may be an extreme example but critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin say officials everywhere are abusing the justice system to sideline political threats.
The rest of the article is well worth reading.