Russian opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky
Opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky, writing on the Huffington Post:
The building of autocracy in Russia is done in small steps. One brick was added to the wall this Friday by the State Duma. An act that further restricts public gatherings and protests in the country passed in its first hearing.
The most widely discussed “innovation” of the new act is that it obliges organizers of all actions involving cars or any other means of transportation (including trains, bycicles etc.) to de facto receive approval from the authorities. It is an apparent response to recent protests of car owners (the so-called “blue buckets”) and opposition actions in Moscow trains. The government and police found it difficult to stop or persecute participants of those protests, so now they’ll have a pretext.
Opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky is now Twittering in English. Here are some of the latest entries (including the big news that his new wife is already pregnant! way to go, Oleg!):
After yesterday’s illegal arrests, Oborona with its friendly orgs held a protest right in metro trains today – http://tinyurl.com/l7h32d1:44 PM Sep 21st from Echofon
Kozlovsky’s Army Under Siege
“I was furious when I heard Putin speaking fairy tales in Davos about how our economy is under control. It is my duty to stand up for my rights. I want to live in a good place. I want my children to grow up in a free country, not a gulag.”
– Yevgeny Antipov, a 21-year-old student in Vladivostok last weekend, insisting that he was not afraid to be marching against the government for the first time.
A Putin supporter makes the only argument he can in favor of his Master. The young lady is probably not convinced. Are you?
Does U.S. President Barack Obama ever intend to speak out on the oppression of basic democratic and liberal values in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, values he supposedly holds dear? Or are Obama’s pretty words just that, and nothing more?
Oleg Kozlovsky and his opposition organization Oborona (“Defense”) continue to face outrageous harassment from the barbaric band of thugs who run the Moscow Kremlin. Obama continues his repugnant, cowardly silence. We fear that those who told us to trust that Obama would act once he took power were seriously misled.
Writing on his blog, Oleg Kozlovsky publishes the text of a speech he recently gave at an OSCE conference in Helsinki, where he asks for the assistance of the West in standing up to dictatorship in Russia. Are you listening, Mr. Obama? Note that, as we’ve previously reported, Kozlovsky is now a Russia columnist for the powerful Huffington Post blog, and his first installment deals with the Politkovskaya trial. An interview with Kozlovsky by Radio Free Europe follows the text.
I recall what I did at this very day a year ago. It was an election day but for me it was marked by another arbitrary arrest. Just seconds after I commented the elections to an foreign TV channel in the heart of Moscow, I was literally dragged into a police van, threatened and beaten by several anonymous officers. Then they brought me to a police station, held there for a few hours and released without any charges.
I was quite lucky, in fact. A week earlier, an opposition activist Yury Chervochkin was beaten to death, supposedly, by the colleagues of those officers who arrested me. These are just some of the many examples of what Russian “law enforcement” agencies are really busy with.
Oleg Kozlovsky, writing on Robert Amsterdam’s blog:
On 15 November, Union of Right Forces (SPS), one of the two remaining democratic parties in Russia, was liquidated by its own members at an extraordinary convention in Moscow suburbs. This was, as openly admitted, a deal between the party’s leadership and the Kremlin. Some of the former SPS members will now join a new puppet party Right Deed (Pravoe Delo) while dissenters will participate in creation of Solidarity opposition movement.
Oleg Kozlovsky, writing on Robert Amsterdam‘s blog:
On 5th November the world’s attention was drawn to American presidential elections and the victory of Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Russian authorities used this day to declare an unprecedented reform in the country’s recent history—changes to the Constitution. Dmitry Medvedev in an annual address to the houses of the Parliament suggested that the presidential term should be increased from 4 years to 6 years and the Duma’s term—to 5 years.
And La Russophobe is no exception! Oleg Kozlovsky cleans up swell for the 30th annual Human Rights First awards banquet on Friday in Manhattan. The stunning couple is completed by co-winner Nora Younis, from Egypt. Hubba, hubba. What a hunk! Lucky girl!
Click the jump to read Kozlovsky’s interview with Robert Amsterdam.
The Moscow Times, Asleep at the Switch
Writing on Pajamas Media a while back, our founder Kim Zigfeld has documented the appalling extent to which the Moscow Times newspaper is backing away from its previously heroic coverage of neo-Soviet barbarism in Russia. The most odious example of this noxious trend has been the paper’s stubborn unwillingness to give prominent coverage to the heroism of dissident leader Oleg Kozlovsky.
And the most repellent instance of that behavior came recently, when the paper buried the news of Kozlovsky’s human rights award in a tiny sentence at the bottom of an item about another dissident winning asylum in Ukraine. Kozlovsky hobnobbed with the likes of Mary Robinson, Sigourney Weaver and Caroline Kennedy, but you’d never know that from the pages of the Moscow Times. He had an op-ed in the Washington Post, but readers of the MT are oblivious of that fact. He was arrested preemptively on bogus charges, went on a hunger strike and then beat the charges in an appeal, but MT readers remain in the dark about all of it. Nor will the MT publish the letters to the editor it routinely receives from Kim, one of the most powerful Russia bloggers on the planet.
Andrew McChesney, the paper’s editor, should be ashamed of himself. If you’d like to register your displeasure with McChesney, click here or FAX (7-495) 232-6529, or write The Moscow Times, 3 Polkovaya Ul., Bldg. 1, Moscow, 127018.
Kozlovsky, Defender of Human Rights
At a ceremony tomorrow evening in New York City hosted by film star Signorney Weaver, the well-regarded international organization Human Rights First will present Russian opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky with its Human Rights Award for “extraordinary courage in the pursuit of our common birthright.” Caroline Kennedy and Mary Robinson will be in attendance.
We congratulate Oleg on this outstanding achievement and we applaud HRF for standing up for democracy and civil society in Russia. Kozlovsky burst onto the international scene with a major news piece and then an op-ed in the Washington Post newspaper, and he continues to struggle heroically and defiantly against the oppressive policies of the KGB-dominated Putin administration at tremendous risk to his personal safety. You can read our reports about him by clicking the “Kozlovsky” category in our sidebar. Oleg is a true Russian patriot, representing the last best hope for a real future for his country. Watch Oleg’s YouTube interview here and here. Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy’s Passport Blog has written up the event as well, including an interview with Oleg about the current state of democracy in Russia.
Writing on Robert Amsterdam’s blog, opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky, whose recent conviction and 13-day sentence for civil disobedience has now been reversed on appeal and declared to have been illegal, calls the Kremlin to task for its recent assault on blogger Dmitry Soloviev:
Dmitry Soloviev, a leader of the Oborona youth movement in Kemerovo region, faces criminal charges for criticizing the “siloviki” in a LiveJournal blog. He is accused by the regional prosecutor of posting information that “incites hatred, hostility and degrades a social group of people—the police and FSB”. According to the anti-extremist legislation introduced in 2006 (more specifically, the infamous paragraph 282 of the Criminal Code), he may face up to two years imprisonment if convicted.
Oleg Kozlovsky of Oborona has given an interview to the Oleg Dusayev of the New Times internet portal. Watch it and read the Russian transcript here.The following is our staff translation of the transcript (corrections welcome).
OLEG DUSAYEV: – Greetings. You are watching the New Times portal, I’m Oleg Dusayev. A criminal investigation has been opened against Dmitry Solovyev, an activist with the Oborona organization. He’s threatened with prison. I’m here with Oborona coordinator Oleg Kozlovsky to discuss the matter. Hello, Oleg.
OLEG KOZLOVSKY: Hello.
For the benefit of those who are not long-time readers of this blog, Oleg Kozlovsky is the leader of an opposition group in Russia called “Oborona” (“Defense”).
Several months ago, just as he was about to take part in the formation of new shadow parliament organization called the National Assembly, he was drafted into the Army although he was both medically and educationally except. The Washington Post, among others, reported on the illegality of his treatment, and then gave him an op-ed to explain the situation further. Oleg recently opened an English-language blog where he lays out further details (he’s also been arrested numerous times on spurious charges, often preemptively to keep him from participating in protest rallies).
Now Oleg’s blog reports that Oborona’s coordinator in the city of Kemerova, one Dimitri Solovyev, has been arrested and charged with “extremism” because of five posts he wrote on his Russian language Live Journal blog.