Those on the left's fringe (though they tend to overshadow the rest of the left) enjoy comparing President Bush to Hitler and so forth, so let's hope they devote some attention to examples of real fascism.

Russia moved Wednesday to impose greater government control over charities and other nongovernmental organizations, including some of the world's most prominent, in what critics described as the Kremlin's latest effort to stifle civil society and democracy. The lower house of Parliament gave preliminary approval to legislation that would require tens of thousands of Russian organizations to register with the Ministry of Justice, impose restrictions on their ability to accept donations or hire foreigners and prohibit foreign organizations from opening branches in Russia. The legislation could yet be significantly revised, but if it is approved as now written it would force organizations like the Ford Foundation, Greenpeace and Amnesty International to close their offices in Russia and re-register instead as purely Russian organizations - something the legislation, in an apparent contradiction, appears to disallow.

The government in Moscow must be getting pretty shaky if they're afraid of actual unrest.

Some of the bill's supporters defended it as an effort to bring order to the registration of 450,000 nongovernmental organizations. But others said it was aimed at preventing foreign efforts to support political opposition movements, like the one that swept to power in Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" last fall.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Russians do move to sweep their government clean of the ex-Communists and other strongmen who have taken it over. I just hope they don't end up ceding their East to China.



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