Sometimes it’s really, really bad

TW: censorship, cholera pandemic, sexual assault

The Russian government seems to have implemented a new policy where they destabilize the democratizing opposition movement without publicly shaming trials of resistance figures, which internationally backfired in the case of the Pussy Riot! trial. Instead, they arrest and temporarily detain opposition leaders, then more quietly fine or penalize them with a smaller sentence. The effect is less rhetorical and bombastic but it has made the opposition disjointed and incapable of very effectively criticizing the government.

(Some activists, including Roman Dobrokhotov have been arrested for “swearing in public” when they had taped their mouths shut and held up blank placards to protest state censorship.)

A cholera outbreak in Haïti has nearly reached its third year  after being spurred on by unusually heavy rains. Allegations are surfacing that poor oversight by the UN lead to the accidental reintroduction of the disease to Haïti after more than a century of safety from it. This adds to an already extensive list of grievances for the Haïtian people which can be traced back to the UN’s poor management – which also includes both sexual and physical attacks on local civilians. If the UN is providing basic security and services that the government of Haïti cannot, then they’re doing an astoundingly bad job of it.

In India, public criticism of Bal Thackeray and the Shiv Sena was met with arrests in the first few days after his death. 21 year old Shaheen Dhanda, for instance, only complained that criticism should be socially permissible along with praise for Thackeray, but she and a friend who liked her status were both detained. There’s some public backlash against the arrests brewing, but the situation remains uncertain. Local governments have begun arresting people for criticizing Hindutva, and it’s not clear that that will stop or even just remain at that.

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