Quote for the Day


Lev Rubinshtein: "In our day, this abysmal xenophobia most often takes the form of an unbridled, hysterical homophobia"

posted 5 Jun 2017, 02:20 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Jun 2017, 02:24 ]

Xenophobia, to which people who have professed different, ‘false’ religions, people of different skin colours, people of ‘other’ convictions and ‘other’ worldviews different from those widely accepted, have been subject in different eras, is the most notable and visible sign of a dark, aggressive archaism. In our day, this abysmal xenophobia most often takes the form of an unbridled, hysterical homophobia. Modern, civilized humanity, having survived an endless series of self-destructive prejudices and superstitions, bloody wars and crimes, has achieved an understanding of the world predicated upon the sovereign right of people to be different, not identical to one another. The modern world is based not only on mutual understanding, but also on a friendly curiosity towards the ‘other.’ Not hatred, not suspicion, but a drive to understand and willingness to protect that which is subject to persecution and aggression. To counter by all possible civilized means the abysmal archaism that exists only thanks to violence and surviving superstitions is not only the right, but the obligation of people of the modern world, that is to say our common obligation.” 

- Lev Rubinshtein, poet


Source:
'Stefania Kulaeva: "The Three S’s of Lev Rubinshtein and LGBT",' Radio Svoboda, 29 May 2017 [translation by Rights in Russia]

Aleksei Simonov: "There has probably not been a situation as awful as there is now with regard to free speech since the late 1950s and early 1960s"

posted 5 Jun 2017, 02:12 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Jun 2017, 02:13 ]

"In my memory, there has probably not been a situation as awful as there is now with regard to free speech since the late 1950s and early 1960s. And not because there’s less of it. It’s just that there’s more need of it now, whereas the number of restrictions has increased multifold. Moreover, whereas everything used to be held in check by customs and traditions, say, then now it is held in check by laws, their application, and prisons. [...] 
I don’t think it all comes from above. In fact, the problem is the atmosphere that has formed in the country. And an atmosphere is formed not only from above. It forms from the interaction between the upper echelons and the lower depths. Hence, a very complex situation has arisen here that (this is my sense) even the upper echelons don’t know how to deal with. It’s not just the lower depths not knowing what to do with the upper echelons. What used to be considered utterly normal suddenly became opposition to the direction the regime is laying down for life and education. This is simply blatant testimony to how the trend has changed." 

- Aleksei Simonov, president of the Glasnost Defence Foundation

Source:
"Aleksei Simonov on freedom of speech in Russia: 'Anything left living in this realm has to be trampled”,' Voice of America Russian Service, 31 May 2017 [translation by Rights in Russia]

Tanya Lokshina: "Chechen law enforcement and security officials under the control of Ramzan Kadyrov [...] have been rounding up gay men as part of an apparent anti-gay purge"

posted 29 May 2017, 10:15 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 29 May 2017, 10:17 ]


"Since the end of February, Chechen law enforcement and security officials under the control of Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, who has been running Chechnya for a decade now like his own private fiefdom with the blessing of the Kremlin, have been rounding up gay men as part of an apparent anti-gay purge."

- Tanya Lokshina, Russia Program Director, Human Rights Watch, 2 May 2017

Evgeniya Chirikova: "In Russia, any topic, including Pokemon Go, is political."

posted 22 May 2017, 10:01 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 22 May 2017, 10:03 ]

"It’s crazy that in Russia a politician only has the right to speak out if he’s pro-regime. If he’s an oppositionist, he can keep his trap shut. An opposition politician is like a leper who can be killed, crippled, and imprisoned with impunity. But as for letting him speak at a demonstration—oh no! What if he taints our topic! 
If you think that by not letting politicians speak you’re avoiding politicization—that is a huge mistake. In Russia, any topic, including Pokemon Go, is political." 

Source:
Evgeniya Chirikova, 'They will reckon with you only if they sense in you a threat to their power,' Facebook, 13 May 2017 [translation by Rights in Russia]

Vladimir Pozner: "As it is known, I am an atheist. I stridently believe there is no God. [...] By propagating this view, am I violating the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation?"

posted 17 May 2017, 11:14 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 May 2017, 11:24 ]

"As it is known, I am an atheist. I stridently believe there is no God. It's not that I run around shouting, 'There isn't, there isn't' from morning to evening, but I do not hide my convictions. I would like to get an exhaustive clarification. By propagating this view, am I violating the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation? Perhaps [Russian Orthodox Church head] Patriarch Kirill would say whether I am insulting his religious feelings by affirming there is no God. Perhaps the chairman of the Constitutional Court could tell me if I have the right to think what I think and say what I say. Perhaps, the head of state [Putin] could clarify: Does court await me, will [I be given] a 'soft' sentence?"

- Vladimir Pozner, journalist, commenting on the conviction of YouTuber Ruslan Sokolovsky for 'offending  religious feelings' [as quoted by RFE/RL]

Photo: Wikipedia

On 16 May 2017, Tom Balmforth, writing for RFE/RL, reported: "On state TV's First Channel, the country's most watched station, veteran journalist Vladimir Pozner, 83, on May 15 criticized the law on 'insulting religious feelings' that saw Ruslan Sokolovsky handed a 3 1/2-year suspended sentence. Pozner read from the May 11 verdict against Sokolovsky, which found he had insulted religious feelings by 'denying the existence of God, denying the existence of the founders of Christianity and of Islam, Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammed'."

Source:
Tom Balmforth, Veteran State TV Journalist Asks On Air: Can Atheism Get You Jailed In Russia?, RFE/RL, 16 May 2017

Aleksandr Podrabinek: "Why is a legal professional in court accusing a defendant of something that does not fall within the framework of the law?"

posted 15 May 2017, 05:22 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 May 2017, 05:26 ]

"The prosecutor in the trial of the case of Ruslan Sokolovsky, who was catching Pokemons in an Orthodox church, accused the defendant of not respecting the State. 'An expression of disrespect for the State is inadmissible,' Prosecutor Ekaterina Kalinina stated. Moreover, she accused Sokolovsky of “anti-constitutional 'attitudes' and 'ridiculing the Russian president.' What does any of this have to do with the law? The law does not prohibit failing to respect the State or having anti-constitutional attitudes, and as for ridiculing the Russian president—that’s old news. Why is a legal professional in court accusing a defendant of something that does not fall within the framework of the law? So that everyone clarifies for themselves that this is not about the law. He is being tried for his attitude and disrespect. It’s all perfectly clear and candid."

Aleksandr Podrabinek, journalist and human rights defender

Source:
'Александр Подрабинек: Откровенные времена,' Radio Svoboda, 9 May 2017 [translation by Rights in Russia: 'Aleksandr Podrabinek: Candid Times,' Rights in Russia, 9 May 2017'

Philip Leach: “This judgment [...] establishes the extent of the Russian authorities’ responsibility for severe loss of life during the Beslan School Siege"

posted 14 Apr 2017, 09:05 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Apr 2017, 09:12 ]

“This ground-breaking judgment provides a significant measure of justice for the families, after so many years. It establishes the extent of the Russian authorities’ responsibility for severe loss of life during the Beslan School Siege, but also calls for important lessons to be learned, so that the mistakes made at Beslan are not repeated.”

Professor Philip Leach, Director of European Human Rights Advocacy Centre

Photo: Middlesex University

Source:
'ECtHR: Russian authorities failed to prevent loss of lives during Beslan School Siege [EHRAC],' Rights in Russia, 13 April 2017

Igor Kalyapin: "I believe that if civil society is going to demonstrate the kind of dynamic development it demonstrated at this rally [on 26 March], then the authorities won’t have a chance to tighten the screws"

posted 12 Apr 2017, 12:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Apr 2017, 12:25 ]

"I believe that if civil society is going to demonstrate the kind of dynamic development it demonstrated at this rally [on 26 March], then the authorities won’t have a chance to tighten the screws. I am absolutely certain of this. […] 
I believe that any public investigation and public report at the end of the investigation would be unquestionably effective. If that public investigation is publicly reported on to the head of state, then that is unquestionably all the more effective."

Source:
'Igor Kalyapin on the aftermath of the demonstrations of 26th March [Radio Svoboda],' Rights in Russia, 30 March 2017 [source: Moscow Helsinki Group]

Liudmila Alekseeva: "We are not living in a country governed by the rule of law"

posted 11 Apr 2017, 10:44 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Apr 2017, 10:48 ]

"
What worries me most is the tendency for the authorities once again to talk to citizens from a position of strength, both during the protest [of 26 March] and after it, resorting to intimidation and deceit. For example, television channels in Russia have as yet made almost no mention of the event, despite its importance for our country’s public life. Judging by the President’s public utterances, the authorities have no desire to talk to members of civil society about what is worrying them, or to meet them half way – they still want to scare people and force them to stay at home instead of resolving issues through compromise. [...] We are not living in a country governed by the rule of law"

- Liudmila Alekseeva, chair Moscow Helsinki Group

Source:
'Liudmila Alekseeva: Once again, the authorities are resorting to intimidation and deceit,' Moscow Helsinki Group, 1 April 2017 [translation: Rights in Russia]

The European Parliament 'condemns the police operations in the Russian Federation attempting to prevent and disperse peaceful anticorruption demonstrations, and detaining hundreds of citizens, including Alexey Navalny, whose organisation initiated the demonstrations'

posted 10 Apr 2017, 10:10 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Apr 2017, 10:14 ]

The European Parliament:

[...] 1. Condemns the police operations in the Russian Federation attempting to prevent and disperse peaceful anticorruption demonstrations, and detaining hundreds of citizens, including Alexey Navalny, whose organisation initiated the demonstrations;

2. Calls on the Russian authorities for the immediate release of, and the dropping of charges against, Alexei Navalny and all the peaceful protestors, journalists and activists detained in the anti-corruption rallies held in Moscow and a number of Russian cities on 26 March and 2 April 2017; underlines the fact that Russian authorities bear full responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of those detained;

3. Underlines the fact that the sentences imposed are politically motivated, and urges the Russian judiciary to demonstrate its independence from political interference; calls on the Russian authorities to put an end to the harassment of journalists, political opponents and political and civil society activists, to fully respect international human rights obligations and to guarantee media freedom and freedom of assembly [...].

Source:
'European Parliament resolution on Russia, the arrest of Alexei Navalny and other protestors,' European Parliament, 5 April 2017

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