Person of the Week: Konstantin Senchenko

posted 18 Jan 2016, 19:13 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 18 Jan 2016, 19:19 ]
On 12 January 2016 at a press conference dedicated to Russia’s Press Day which takes place on 13 January each year, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, declared that members of the political opposition in Russia should be treated as ‘enemies of the people’ and ‘traitors,’ Meduza reported: “[...] I believe that these people need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent [of the law] for subversive activities,” Kadyrov said.

In response, on 14 January, Krasnoyarsk deputy Konstantin Senchenko, writing on his Facebook page, called Ramzan Kadyrov ‘a disgrace to Russia.’ On 15 January Grozny TV reported that Konstantin Senchenko had apologized to Kadyrov for his statement. As The Moscow Times reported, ‘The telephone apology, reportedly featuring Senchenko's voice, was broadcast by Grozny TV and the Kremlin-leaning Lifenews, and was quickly picked up by other media outlets, including the Interfax news agency.’

However, in an interview with the radio station Ekho Moskvy, Senchenko said he had not made any such apology and denied having spoken to either Lifenews or Grozny TV. The Moscow Times cites Senchenko’s words to Ekho Moskvy: ‘Senchenko said he had only had a private conversation with "a very honorable person in our city."’ Writing on Facebook, State Duma deputy Dmitry Gudkov subsequently said that he believed Senchenko’s telephone had been tapped.

Among those critical of Ramzan Kadyrov’s comments was human rights ombudsman, Ella Pamfilova who, according to Caucasian Knot, said that 'if the opposition activities take place in the framework of the Constitution, then no one has the right to subject it to "administrative, judicial or other kind of arbitrariness."’ Following Senchenko’s statement , the hashtag #ПозорРоссии [DisgraceToRussia or NationalDisgrace in English] began trending on Twitter.

Eva Hartog, ‘Kadyrov Controversy Turns Into Opposition Phone Tapping Scandal, The Moscow Times, 15 January 2016
‘Chechen ruler says Russia’s protest leaders should be imprisoned as “enemies of the people”,’ Meduza, 12 January 2016
‘Human rights defenders condemn Ramzan Kadyrov's statement on non-systemic opposition,’ Caucasian Knot, 15 January 2016
‘В ГОСТЯХ: Константин Сенченкодепутат городского совета Красноярска; ВЕДУЩИЙ:Наталья Селиванова,’ Ekho Moskvy, 15 January 2016

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