Category Archives: human rights

EDITORIAL: Boot Russia out of the Council of Europe!

EDITORIAL

Boot Russia out of the Council of Europe!

Russia has only less than one-sixth the population of Europe, yet it has nearly one-third of all pending cases for human rights violations before the European Court for Human Rights, which is organized and maintained by the Council of Europe — of which Russia is a member.  Russia has nearly three times more cases pending before the EHCR than any other nation, and Russia loses nine out of ten cases when it is prosecuted by the EHCR.

The Kremlin’s response to its horrific human rights record — as adjudicated by one of the world’s most respected courts —  has been quite simple: It is moving to oust the court’s jurisdiction from Russia.  That’s fine, in fact it’s probably rather unfair to expect a nation of corrupt baboons to allow themselves to be controlled by something like the rule of law.

But as former Russian parliamentarian Vladimir Ryzhkov argues in the Moscow Times, it means that Russia must be ousted from the Council of Europe, and the sooner the better.  We call upon the COE to heed Ryzhkov’s words and move forward immediately in standing up for its core values and casting Russia out.

And we state what is obvious:  If Russia had the slightest shred of national dignity or honor, it would simply resign.

Continue reading

EDITORIAL: The Voice of Russia(n Lies)

EDITORIAL

The Voice of Russia(n Lies)

The chart above, prepared by the Committee to Protect Journalists, shows that only two nations on this planet, Iraq and Philippines, have more unsolved murders of journalists than does Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which ranks #3 in the world in nominal and #8 in the world in per capita butchery of members of the press.  Russia’s rate of savagery in this regard is 50% higher than Mexico’s, which comes in just below it at #9, and it has twice as many unsolved murders as does Mexico.  Russia moved from #9 last year to #8 this year.  Amazingly, with little room to do so, it’s getting even worse as time goes by.

But you would never know this from reading or listening to the “Voice of Russia,” the Kremlin’s own paid propaganda network. It is one of the very worst, most unreliable and dishonest sources of information about modern Russia in the world.  Because of outrageously dishonest reporting from the likes of VOR, Russians and Russophiles have a warped, distorted, neo-Soviet view of themselves and, like the infamous Emperor with his “new clothes,” fail to realize that in reality the entire world is appalled by them.

Look, for example, at the shameless lies VOR told about the recent visit to Moscow by human rights delegations from the United Nations and the European Union.

Continue reading

Maria Litvinovich Speaks

The heroic Russian activist Marina Litvinovich

One of our favorite Russia blogs, Global Voices, interviews one of our favorite bloggers, the epic Russian patriot Marina Litvinovich:

Marina Litvinovich is a blogger, civic rights and human rights activist. After a career in political consulting, an investigation of the Beslan hostage crisis, and participation in the liberal opposition movement, Marina has become one of the most influential activist bloggers in Russia. In this interview Marina shares her thoughts on her own blogging, as well as how the internet might affect deeper social and political changes in Russia.

Her blog has played a significant role in launching independent investigations, in cases such as the “Lukoil” car crash case as well as the “Live Barrier” case. Recently, Litvinovich launched “Best Today”, a web-aggregator that monitors the Russian blogosphere. You can read more about her background here and here.

Continue reading

The Islamic Republic of Putin

Human Rights Watch reports:

“Even in the 90s at the time of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria it wasn’t as bad as it is now. After all I didn’t wear a headscarf then and, though the keepers of public morals would sometimes pounce on you, they kept their hands to themselves. You could say to them ‘What’s it got to do with you? I’ve got a father and brothers, so who are you to give me orders?’ They didn’t want problems, so they’d back off. But now you don’t know where to hide. They have the power and the strength and they’re everywhere.”

The pretty young woman in a straight, well-fitting skirt and crisp light-coloured blouse gestures helplessly.

“It’s so humiliating, but you have no other option – you have to put on the headscarf. If, say, they hit you, and that’s not unlikely, then your brothers won’t be able to leave it at that. They’ll have to take action against the aggressors, who will just kill them. You dress according to their rules not so much out of fear for yourself, but to protect your family.”

In June Madina and her friend were fired at from a paintball gun.

Continue reading

Why Putin’s Schemes must Fail and Collapse

Vladimir Voinovich

Novelist Vladimir Voinovich, writing in the Moscow Times:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin insists that “without normal democratic development, Russia will have no future.” We Russians are pleased to hear these enlightened words, yet Putin adds a “but” to his argument that renders his points senseless.

We have hated this “but,” this coordinating conjunction, ever since the dawn of the Soviet era. Then we were told that freedom is good, but that one can’t live in an individualist society without common concern for the communist state. Democracy is great, but only in the interests of the working class.

Now Russia’s prime minister tells us that democracy is indeed great, but that public protests cannot take place around hospitals and such. Never mind that the Russian Constitution does not list hospitals among places forbidden for public assembly.

Continue reading

Backwards, Oppressive, Horrifying Russia

Our lead editorial touts the latest “Nations in Transit” report from Freedom House, which finds that Russia  “has undergone the largest decline of any country in the study” of 29 countries in post-Soviet space where human rights and democracy are concerned.  Here is the executive summary from the Russia report.

Over the past decade, Russia’s government has become increasingly authoritarian. Boris Yeltsin’s presidential tenure from 1991 to 1999 saw competitive, but tainted, elections, relatively free television discussions, an incipient civil society, and somewhat decentralized political power. However, it laid the groundwork for increasingly authoritarian rule with the 1993 tank assault on the Parliament, a super-presidential constitution, the first Chechen war, and extensive corruption.

Continue reading

What’s wrong with Cisco Systems?

Before it’s News reports on the outrageous misconduct of a small number of foolhardy American corporations.  Did somebody say boycott?

Yesterday, Cisco announced a more than one billion dollar initiative to leapfrog innovation in Russia’s ICT sector. As part of the Skolkovo ProjectCisco will establish a “physical presence” in Skolkovo, relocate employees from its engineering team to the area, and launch Skolkovo as a model for Cisco’s“Smart+Connected Communities” by building networked infrastructure that enables a range of technologies like the smart grid, smarter transportation information hubs, and public safety surveillance hubs.

Continue reading