So I've decided to let my hair down today and go all extremist on you.
So, are you ready? All right. Here goes.
Russia's forceful annexation of Crimea was a violation of international law.
The conflict in the Donbas is not a civil war, it's a war of aggression carried out by Russia against Ukraine.
The Russian Federation should be a federal state, as stipulated by its constitution.
Moscow should decentralize more power to its regions and give ethnic groups like the Tatars greater autonomy.
Peaceful nonviolent demonstrations against things like high public transport fares are a legitimate form of protest.
Many Russian officials are corrupt.
Was that radical enough for you?
Well, it should be, because each one of the things I just said comes from an actual criminal case in which an actual Russian citizen was actually prosecuted for extremism.
In fact, in some cases, they were prosecuted simply for liking or sharing such comments on social media.
Now, don't get me wrong. Russia does have a problem with extremists.
Vigilante groups routinely attack members of the LGBT community.
Nationalist gangs regularly assault ethnic minorities.
But these things, of course, are rarely -- if ever -- prosecuted.
And, in fact, according to independent monitoring groups, actual extremist incidents are on the decline in Russia.
But at the same time, prosecutions for all those things Vladimir Putin's regime considers extremist have tripled over the past five years.
Extremism, it appears, is often in the eye of the beholder.
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