The Craven Cowards in Washington DC
U.S. officials in Moscow and St. Petersburg confirmed that several gatherings took place across Russia to demonstrate support for Article 31 of the Russian Constitution. And according to our Embassy and consulate, dozens of protestors were detained in both cities. Article 31 guarantees to Russian citizens the right to gather peacefully, without weapons, and to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches, and pickets. Since 2009, Russian citizens have been holding similar rallies on the 31st day of every month that has 31 days. The United States reiterates the importance of embracing and protecting universal values, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly enshrined in the Russian Constitution, as well as in international agreements with which Russia has signed. We are concerned by actions by the Russian Government in recent years, shrinking the space for civil society. We have concerns about intimidation of citizens, intimidation of journalists, intimidations of nongovernmental operators who are working on behalf of the Russian people. It is part of our ongoing dialogue with the Russian Government, and we hope and expect that Russia will live up to its human rights obligations. We – well, through our Embassy, we have expressed our concern to the Russian Government and that conversation is ongoing.
This mealy-mouthed, craven gibberish would be unacceptable even if it came directly from the lips of the President of the United States or the Secretary of State. There is no hint of any policy action, no naming of names like Nemtsov, and no language which would even vaguely suggest outrage. It is the language of a small person, from a small country, a cowardly mouse hiding in the shadows.
But America did not even have the courage to let a president or secretary utter these words. Instead, they came from an anonymous underling deep in the bowels of the State Department and were heard by almost nobody, least of all anybody in the Moscow Kremlin.