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Legalizing euthanasia?

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitri Shusharin) - Head of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russian parliament) Committee on Social Policies Valentina Petrenko has reported on the drafting of a bill legalizing euthanasia in Russia.

The column "Opinion and analysis" does not imply much emotion but I don't think I can be totally neutral. Nor can I remain politically correct although I'm supposed to avoid any judgmental reasoning based on my religion. But when I write about euthanasia I cannot forget that I'm a Christian.

Petrenko explained who exactly will make a decision on murder and how this will be done: a patient's application will be reviewed by a special council at a body of executive authority, consisting of doctors, prosecutors, public figures and lawyers. They will study the case for two months and check to make sure the patient is not under any pressure. During this time he or she can change the decision. If not, the patient will be killed.

They have even specified that the patient will die from an overdose of painkillers.

They must have gone into every detail. They probably argued and changed things. Emotions ran high. Let God be their Judge. Now let's look at some details.

Why will this murder council be set up at the executive branch of government? Why not at a court of law? How will its members be selected? Will there be many volunteers? Obviously, only atheists can be selected for this work. I can't imagine a clergyman who would bless a parishioner for the job. I believe the same is true of other religions even if they do not have the clergy or the notion of a blessing.

Why does this initiative come from the Council on Social Policies? Perhaps, we should remember a rumor of several years ago about a proposal for a bill that would allow euthanasia not only for medical but also for SOCIAL reasons (!)

But this was only a rumor. Now we are dealing with an open information, and, more importantly, with the context in which it has appeared.

Rights and freedoms of citizens in Russia are being curtailed. This applies to the right to elect and be elected, the right to hold rallies and demonstrations, freedom of speech, and equality before the law. As in the past, some people are more equal than others in the most diverse spheres of public life. As for the freedom of travel and choice of residence, we have never had it, and the right to private property has long become fictional.

Now it's the turn of the right to live. It makes no sense to quote the experience of other countries, if only because these references are always selective. On some occasions we say the West has nothing to do with us because we are following our own road; on others we try to emulate it. Besides, the comparison that suggests itself is not with modern democracies but with the Germany of the 1930s.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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