These weeks we are celebrating and remembering the sudden rapid disintegration of the Communist empire in Europe (still there in China though I would not describe either Cuba or North Korea an empire). It took another couple of years for the Soviet Union to collapse and as we know things have not gone terribly well in the ex-Soviet states. In particular one feel sad about Russia once again sinking into her authoritarian persona.
I was somewhat unhappily reminded of this by a note from a friend about a petition set up to protect Alexander Podrabinek, writer, journalist and a well known dissident of the Soviet era. A familiar name, in fact.
It seems that he and his family are being threatened by violent pro-government youth organizations who are unlikely to have gone after him without some instruction from on top. No, things are not as bad as they were in the Soviet Union, even in Brezhnev's, let alone Stalin's day. But that is not quite good enough, either.