Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Lawmaker Says Bans Are Freeing and Civil Rights Are Restrictive

Yelena Mizulina Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

An outspoken Russian lawmaker has turned heads for arguing that civil rights are restrictive, while bans are a form of freedom.

Yelena Mizulina, who successfully lobbied for Russia’s 2012 “gay propaganda” law and spearheaded efforts to decriminalize domestic violence, made the statement in defense of recent internet restriction laws. On Monday, Russian senators backed tighter internet controls against foreign meddling that critics say could disrupt Russia's internet and be used to stifle dissent.

“What are rights? They’re the biggest lack of freedom. I can tell you that the more rights you have, the less free we are,” Mizulina argued, using the Russian word that translates as both “rights” and “law.”

“A ban is when the person is free because it says ‘this is impossible, but with everything else — [you can] do what you want,’” she was quoted as saying at an internet safety forum by the Moskva news agency Monday.

Observers noted parallels between Mizulina’s impassioned statement and George Orwell’s “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength” quote from his dystopian novel “1984.”

Russia has introduced tougher internet laws in the last five years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services and social networks to store user data on servers in the country.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more