Just after New Year, Rights in Russia had the opportunity to ask Aleksei Simonov, president of the Glasnost Defence Foundation, a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, and a member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, to share his perceptions of current developments in Russia.
Rights in Russia Aleksei Kirillovich, what is your view of the events that are taking place in Russia today?
Aleksei Simonov Russia has frozen stock still in bewilderment at herself. What has happened in Russia can be compared to the well-known joke about the centipede. The centipede was asked: “Tell us please, how does it happen that straight after the 17th leg, you put down your 26nd? And after that, your 33rd?” And the centipede froze because she had never thought about this. For her it was a natural thing to do. She thought to herself: “How do I do that?” And she wasn’t able to move any more. There is a feeling that Russia, like the centipede, in the weeks before New Year froze stock still in bewilderment at herself. She didn’t expect that she could do anything like that. She simply did not expect what happened first of all on 10 December, and then on 24 December. She honestly had not thought she was capable of anything like it. [Read more]