Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Vladimir Putin Hides the Truth

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, NYT
JUNE 2, 2015

For President Vladimir Putin of Russia, the manipulation and suppression of facts is as much a tool of his war in Ukraine as an AK-47 or a rocket launcher. He continues to insist that Russian soldiers and weapons are not involved in the conflict in the eastern sector of the country, despite evidence to the contrary from NATO, the United States and independent journalists.

Last week Mr. Putin added a new and especially cruel twist to his formula of deception by decreeing that the deaths or wounds of Russian soldiers in “special operations” can be classified as military secrets, even in peacetime. In the past, the list of state secrets applied only to personnel losses in wartime.

The decree furthers a climate of propaganda and secrecy that was well established during Soviet times and that Mr. Putin has worked hard to revive. It could lead to the arrest of journalists and human rights activists who gather and publicize information about soldiers’ deaths, further restricting the open flow of essential information.

On a personal level, the decree is especially heartless because it could make it even more difficult for loved ones to obtain the facts about their soldiers’ deaths or injuries, which grieving families need to understand the circumstances of the casualties. Government critics also charge that Russia’s refusal to acknowledge that its soldiers are in combat denies them disability payments and their relatives death benefits and other awards.

(More here.)

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