The relatives of Leonid Gosman, a Russian journalist critical of the regime and former opposition politician, are very concerned: Gosman (72), who returned to Moscow from Germany in June, was taken into custody by the police at the end of August after a hospital stay and was expedited to court sentenced to an »administrative arrest« of 15 days.
The reason given was a 2020 Facebook post in which he poked fun at Russian legislation that prohibits comparing the Soviet Union to Nazi Germany. Gosman had written in an entry at the time: ‘It is wrong to equate them – Hitler was an absolute evil and Stalin even worse. […] Hitler unleashed a war against humanity, the communists declared total war against their own people.«
STATEMENT Last week, while he was still in prison, Gosman was again sentenced to another two weeks in prison. The reason was an article he wrote in 2013 in which he compared the methods of the Soviet counter-intelligence service SWR with those of the SS. In addition, the prison conditions have now been tightened. His wife is no longer allowed to bring him food to prison.
Since her father has to follow a special diet to prepare for an operation because of a chronic bile disease, this is an additional difficulty, his daughter Olga Gosman, who lives in Germany, told this newspaper.
It would be contrary to Russian law to simply lock up a seriously ill man. The crimes that Leonid Gosman has been accused of by the judiciary are in fact not punishable at all. After all, her father did not equate the Red Army with the Wehrmacht, but compared Stalin’s actions with Hitler’s. In addition, the Moscow judges immediately imposed the maximum penalty of 15 days in prison instead of the usual fine, which according to Olga Gosman indicates political influence.
ISRAEL And she also suspects anti-Semitic motives, because: Leonid Gosman is Jewish. He also holds Israeli citizenship. »Anti-Semitism has always been at the core of Putin’s government and the secret service KGB. Putin is now trying to blame the Jews for everything that isn’t going right, in order to divert attention from himself,” believes Olga Gosman. In addition, anti-Semitic sentiments in Russia also contribute to hatred of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi.
Normally, members of the opposition are allowed to leave Russia, she says, but Putin’s Jewish opponents are treated “with particular cruelty.” For the daughter, the treatment of her sick father in the Moscow prison is tantamount to torture.
MEP Sergey Lagodinsky (Bündnis90/Die Grünen) is also dismayed by the latest developments. He told the Jewish General: “I am very concerned that the Kremlin is playing the Jewish card to consolidate support for its policies. Articles are already appearing that denigrate the opposition as ‘un-Russian’. Of the Pressure on the Jewish Agency for Israel (Sochnut) was also an unpleasant novelty. In times of crisis, Jews are always suitable as scapegoats for would-be smart political advisors.«
Lagodinsky, who himself has Russian roots and came to Germany in 1993 as a so-called Jewish contingent refugee, calls on the Israeli government to intervene in the Gosman case. “After all, this is also about one of their citizens, and Israel’s relations with Russia – unlike those with the European Union – are less strained.”
ARRESTS Leonid Gosman was briefly arrested by the police in July after the Russian Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant against him as part of an investigation into a criminal case. He was accused of violating the law that obliges Russian citizens to inform the authorities about their continued citizenship or a residence permit abroad. Gosman stated at the time that he had the authorities…