The Russian government has issued an order telling postal workers that police and security agents have a right to open mail, causing alarm among rights advocates who fear a return to the Soviet-era tactics of the KGB.
The Communications Ministry said the order, which went into effect Tuesday, does not expand the powers of investigators, since they still need to obtain a court’s permission as required by law if they want to open letters or packages.
But rights advocates said the order is unconstitutional because it does not mention the need for court permission. The document, filling two pages in small print, explains in detail to postal workers that investigators have access to the mail and postal data bases, and can demand a separate work space within post offices.
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