Remember the Date
On 5 February 2000, Russian soldiers summarily executed dozens of civilians in the Chechen village of Aldy. Survivors of the massacre have no hope of finding justice, with the authorities doing everything in their power to whitewash this and other tragedies. [Source: Open Democracy]
Kazbek Chanturiya writes: 'This Sunday marked the seventeenth anniversary of the Aldy Massacre. This is what locals call the zachistka (cleansing operation) by Russian military units in the small village on the outskirts of Grozny. About 100 civilians were killed in the operation, mostly elderly people and women, with a one-year-old boy and his young mother also among the dead. According to eyewitnesses, the security forces who conducted the "cleansing operation" in Aldy acted with deliberate intention, because virtually none of those killed had done anything at all to provoke them to such cruelty. [...] A criminal investigation into the mass execution of peaceful residents in the village of Aldy was opened on 5 February 2000; the investigation has been suspended and resumed several times since then. This crime, which can easily be counted among the cruellest episodes of the Second Chechen War, remains not only unpunished but also un-denounced and unrecognised by the authorities.'
Photo via Open Democracy: 'A still from documentary ’Aldy: No statute of limitations’ showing Russian journalist Natalya Estemirova before her murder in 2009. Source: YouTube.'
Source:Kazbek Chanturiya, 'Anniversary of Aldy Massacre passes in fear and silence,' Open Democracy, 10 February 2017
Remember the Date: 27 January 1945 - Auschwitz-Birkenau liberated by Soviet troops #HolocaustMemorialDay
On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, was liberated by Soviet troops.
"International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 1 million Gypsies, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 during the 42nd plenary session. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of The liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust. Resolution 60/7 establishing 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day urges every member nation of the U.N. to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide."
- source: Wikipedia
Photo: 'Jews on selection ramp at Auschwitz, May 1944' (c) "Bundesarchiv Bild 183-N0827-318, KZ Auschwitz, Ankunft ungarischer Juden"
On 19 January 2009 human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were shot dead on Moscow's Prechistenka Street. Rights in Russia was set up one year later on the first anniversary of their deaths in their memory.
On 26 December 1991 "the Supreme Soviet, the highest governmental body of the Soviet Union, voted both itself and the Soviet Union out of existence. This is generally recognized as marking the official, final dissolution of the Soviet Union as a functioning state. The Soviet Army originally remained under overall CIS command, but was soon absorbed into the different military forces of the newly independent states. The few remaining Soviet institutions that had not been taken over by Russia ceased to function by the end of 1991. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991, Russia was internationally recognized as its legal successor on the international stage. To that end, Russia voluntarily accepted all Soviet foreign debt and claimed overseas Soviet properties as its own. Under the 1992 Lisbon Protocol, Russia also agreed to receive all nuclear weapons remaining in the territory of other former Soviet republics. Since then, the Russian Federation has assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations."
"On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as the President of the USSR, declaring the office extinct. He turned the powers that had been vested in the presidency over to Yeltsin. That night, the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time, and the Russian tricolor was raised in its place. The following day, the Supreme Soviet, the highest governmental body of the Soviet Union, voted both itself and the Soviet Union out of existence. This is generally recognized as marking the official, final dissolution of the Soviet Union as a functioning state. The Soviet Army originally remained under overall CIS command, but was soon absorbed into the different military forces of the newly independent states. The few remaining Soviet institutions that had not been taken over by Russia ceased to function by the end of 1991. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991, Russia was internationally recognized as its legal successor on the international stage. To that end, Russia voluntarily accepted all Soviet foreign debt and claimed overseas Soviet properties as its own. Under the 1992 Lisbon Protocol, Russia also agreed to receive all nuclear weapons remaining in the territory of other former Soviet republics. Since then, the Russian Federation has assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations."
Soviet Union, Wikipedia
The Soviet secret police - the Cheka (from the Russian abbreviation 'ChK' (ЧК) for 'чрезвыча́йная коми́ссия' - chrezvychainaya komissiya) - was founded on 20 December 1917 on the basis of a decree issued by Vladimir Lenin. Lenin appointed Felix Dzerzhinsky, a Polish aristocrat turned communist, to head the organization. Dzerzhinsky remained the director of the secret police until his death from a heart attack in 1926. While the organization underwent a series of reorganizations and renaming - becoming the GPU in 1922 and then subsequently OGPU, NKVD, NKGB, NKVD, NKGB, MBB, KGB, and in the post-Soviet era FSK and FSB (the latter being the organization's current name) - the Cheka has remained a name for the Russian secret police in colloquial use. Operatives of the Cheka are known as 'Chekists'.
In a speech to the FSB leadership on 20 December 1999, Vladimir Putin famously joked that in his person the FSB had successfully infiltrated the Russian government. Soon after he assumed office as president in 2000, Vladimir Putin returned a plaque honouring Yury Andropov, a former head of the KGB and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, that had been removed in 1991 to the building in Moscow where the former leader had once lived.
Pictured: Cheka badge as it was in 1922; source: Wikipedia
'The Cheka,' Wikipedia
Putin Speech, 20 December 1999, Путин_20_12_1999 Putin 20.12.1999 FSB - KGB
Brian Whitmore, Andropov's Ghost, RFE/RL, 9 February 2009
Andrei Sakharov, Russian scientist, dissident, public figure and human rights defender, died on 14 December 1989. Born on 21 May 1921, he was 68 years old.
'Intellectual freedom is essential to human society — freedom to obtain and distribute information, freedom for open-minded and unfearing debate, and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such a trinity of freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship. Freedom of thought is the only guarantee of the feasibility of a scientific democratic approach to politics, economy, and culture.'
- Andrei Sakharov, Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom
On 12 December 1993 new Constitution was adopted in Russia by national referendum. The Constitution came into force on 25 December 1993, at the moment of its official publication.
The Constitution begins:
"We, the multinational people of the Russian Federation, united by a common fate on our land, establishing human rights and freedoms, civic peace and accord, preserving the historically established state unity, proceeding from the universally recognized principles of equality and self-determination of peoples, revering the memory of ancestors who have conveyed to us the love for the Fatherland, belief in the good and justice, reviving the sovereign statehood of Russia and asserting the firmness of its democratic basic, striving to ensure the well-being and prosperity of Russia, proceeding from the responsibility for our Fatherland before the present and future generations, recognizing ourselves as part of the world community, adopt the CONSTITUTION OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION."
Chapter Two of the Constitution deals with 'Rights and Freedoms of the Person and Citizen' [Articles 17 - 64].
Articles 17, 18 and 19 read as follows:
1. In the Russian Federation recognition and guarantees shall be provided for the rights and freedoms of the person and citizen according to the universally recognized principles and norms of international law and according to the present Constitution.
2. Fundamental human rights and freedoms are inalienable and shall be enjoyed by everyone since the day of birth.
3. The exercise of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen shall not violate the rights and freedoms of other people.
The rights and freedoms of the person and citizen shall be directly operative. They determine the essence, meaning and implementation of laws, the activities of the legislative and executive authorities, local self-government and shall be ensured by the administration of justice.
1. All people shall be equal before the law and court.
2. The State shall guarantee the equality of rights and freedoms of the person and citizen, regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, property and official status, place of residence, religion, convictions, membership of public associations, and also of other circumstances. All forms of limitations of human rights on social, racial, national, linguistic or religious grounds shall be banned.
3. Man and woman shall enjoy equal rights and freedoms and have equal possibilities to exercise them.
Chapter One of the Constitution deals with the 'Fundamentals of the Constitutional System' [Articles 1 - 16]
Article 15 reads as follows:
1. The Constitution of the Russian Federation shall have the supreme juridical force, direct action and shall be used on the whole territory of the Russian Federation. Laws and other legal acts adopted in the Russian Federation shall not contradict the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
2. The bodies of state authority, the bodies of local self-government, officials, private citizens and their associations shall be obliged to observe the Constitution of the Russian Federation and laws.
3. Laws shall be officially published. Unpublished laws shall not be used. Any normative legal acts concerning human rights, freedoms and duties of man and citizen may not be used, if they are not officially published for general knowledge.
4. The universally-recognized norms of international law and international treaties and agreements of the Russian Federation shall be a component part of its legal system. If an international treaty or agreement of the Russian Federation fixes other rules than those envisaged by law, the rules of the international agreement shall be applied.
Source of emblem: Конституция Российской Федерации'Constitution of Russia,' Wikipedia
The Constitution of the Russian Federation [in English] [For the original Russian, see here]
On 11 December 1994, Russian troops entered Chechnya at the start of military operations intended to prevent the region achieving independence. The First Chechen War ended on 31 August 1996 with the signing of the Khasav-Yurt Accord. Over the 21 months of the conflict, Russian military deaths have been estimated at approximately 4,000 to 5,000 (some have claimed them to be as high as 14,000). Chechen military losses have been estimated variously at from 3,000 to 15,000. Civilian deaths in the region have been variously estimated at from 20,000 to 100,0000, while many put the figure at between 50,000 and 80,000 killed.
Remember the Date: 10 December 1948 - adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly
On 20 December 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. According to Wikipedia: "The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of what many people believe to be the rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. [...] The Declaration consists of thirty articles which, although not legally binding, have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, economic transfers, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and other laws."
The website of the United Nations states: "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages."
The Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
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