Q:IN WHAT sort of society might a 68-year-old man be sent to jail for peacefully carrying his nation's flag in a parade to celebrate Flag Day?
A: In Vladimir Putin's Russia, if the man is someone that Mr. Putin -- former president, current prime minister and seemingly eternal ruling-party boss -- happens not to like.
Last week a court in Moscow sentenced Lev Ponomaryov, 68, a longtime human rights activist, and Mikhail Schneider, an organizer of the opposition Solidarity movement, to three days in prison for taking part in "an unsanctioned rally." Russia's constitution guarantees freedom of assembly, but in the Putin era any gathering requires a permit and permits are routinely denied to anyone who questions the ruling regime. More
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