Paul Goble reports:
Four leading Finnish non-governmental organizations have called on visiting President Dmitry Medvedev to live up to his promises to protect human rights and civic freedoms and to end the violence against journalists and ethnic minorities in the Russian Federation that are creating a gulf between Moscow and Europe.
The appeal, signed by the leaders of the Kiila Social Union, the Finno-Russian Civic Forum, the Finnish Section of Amnesty International, and the Finnish PEN Center, says that its members “had hoped for the development in Russia of a society which shares European values like human rights and civic freedoms.”
But given recent developments in various sectors of Russian life, it continues, the signatories “are deeply concerned by the state of the observation of human rights in Russia,” all the more so because Medvedev, as in his interview with Novaya Gazeta, offered himself as a defender of these rights. “Are you seriously prepared for a change in the law on non-governmental organizations,” the appeal’s authors ask. Are you genuinely attached to the rule of law and the defense of human rights? And with regard to these questions, the Finnish NGOs challenge the Russian president, “will we see actions and not just words?”