Ludmila Alekseeva: 'It is my deeply held belief that the Crimean land grab has brought shame on my country'

posted 11 Sep 2014, 12:55 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Sep 2014, 13:04 ]
7 September 2014

Source: Ekho of Moscow

By Ludmila Alekseeva, Chair of Moscow Helsinki Group

I am outraged at the fact that an interview has been falsely attributed to me in which I allegedly express approval of Russia's annexation of the Crimea. I have said it before and I will say again: it is my deeply held belief that the Crimean land grab has brought shame on my country. It was a dishonourable way to treat our brothers in Ukraine, a country facing immense problems. A good neighbour is one who helps his neighbour overcome difficulties, not one who exploits them for his own benefit – and this holds just as true for nations as it does for people. In the world today it is both shameful and ridiculous to go around invading countries. What we need is to find common ground, not to wage war.

We must seek forgiveness not just from Ukraine but also from the Crimean Tartars, Crimea’s native people. They have very good reasons for not wanting to live in Russia, since it is the successor of the USSR, at whose hands they experienced an enormous tragedy in 1944 when the entire nation was deported from Crimea to the USSR’s eastern republics on Stalin’s orders.

I am a Russian citizen and I do not shirk my responsibility for the way my country behaves towards its neighbours and towards its own citizens. I demand that any media outlets which have published claims that I support the “Crimea is Ours” campaign, even in the form of links to another source, remove these false allegations and print this statement in their place. I warn that I shall take legal action on grounds of damage to my reputation and slander against anyone who fails to comply with this request.

Translated by Joanne Reynolds