“The Russian State’s Ever-Wider Crackdown on Dissent”

(p. A4) VYAZY, Russia — When the spooks started following him again, Ivan Pavlov felt at ease.

“That’s our profession,” the lawyer famed for taking on Russian spies wrote on Facebook.

Two days later came an early morning knock on his Moscow hotel room door, and Mr. Pavlov realized he should have been more worried.

For a quarter-century, Mr. Pavlov defended scientists, journalists and others swept into the maw of what he calls Russia’s “leviathan” — the security state descended from the Soviet K.G.B. Crusading against state secrecy, Mr. Pavlov turned his legal battles into spectacles. Appealing to public opinion, he sometimes helped his clients avert the worst.

Now the leviathan threatens to swallow Mr. Pavlov. In April [2021] he took on one of his most explosive cases yet: the accusation of extremism against the organizations led by the jailed opposition leader, Aleksei A. Navalny. Within days, Mr. Pavlov was arrested. Now, he himself has become a symbol of the Russian state’s ever-wider crackdown on dissent.

It was one thing to defend clients from the arbitrary power of the state; it has been quite another, Mr. Pavlov has discovered, to feel it deployed against himself. The story of Mr. Pavlov — one of Russia’s best-known lawyers and freedom of information activists — is a story of how quickly modern Russia has changed.

For the full story, see:

Anton Troianovski. “Shielding Others, and Now Defending Himself, From the Russian State.” The New York Times (Saturday, June 5, 2021): A4.

(Note: bracketed year added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 4, 2021, and has the title “‘My Conscience Is Clean. And Yet They Came for Me’.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.