TUESDAY APRIL 17 CONTENTS
(1) EU Condemns Putin over Protests
(2) Kremlin Overplays its Hand on Khodorkovsky Retrial
(3) How Russia Intimidates its Neighbors
(4) Tymoshenko in Foriegn Affairs?
(5) LR on PP
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Monsters and Critics reports:
Europe’s top human rights watchdog Monday condemned the recent police crackdown on opposition demonstrators in Russia while the European Commission called on Moscow to respect fundamental rights. ‘We condemn this disproportionate use of force,’ said Council of Europe President Rene Van der Linden. Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly constituted fundamental rights in democratic countries, he stressed. Russia joined the 46-member council in 1996. Last year, it hold the rotating six-month chairmanship of Europe’s top human rights body which is independent from the European Union. A spokeswoman for the EU Commission said that ‘freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are very important values’ to which Russia had signed up as a member of international organisations such as the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Co- operation in Europe (OSCE). The commission was ‘very concerned’ about the violent police attacks in St Petersburg and Moscow, she told reporters. The 27-member EU would raise the recent events when holding talks with Russian officials at the margins of an EU foreign ministers meeting next week in Luxembourg, the spokeswoman said. Respect for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly ‘are very important in the pre-election phase in Russia,’ she added. The opposition accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of increasingly restricting human rights ahead of parliamentary elections in December 2007 and the presidential election next March.
Germany, which is current president of the European Union, had earlier also condemned Russian police use of ‘excessive force’. German government spokesman Thomas Steg said that the ‘excessive use of force’ by Russian security officials had been a cause for concern. In particular, Steg said that action against members of the media had been ‘unacceptable’ with the German Embassy in Moscow protesting about the detention of accredited journalists. The German government expects a ‘comprehensive statement’ from the Russian side explaining the circumstances surrounding the protests and the arrests, Steg said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to raise the Russian police action with Putin at a Russian-European Union summit set for May 18 in the Russian city of Samara. Germany currently holds the EU presidency. Russian police violently broke up a rally against the policies of Putin in his native city St Petersburg on Sunday following similar brutal scenes in the capital Moscow a day before. A total of 350 demonstrators were briefly arrested at the two rallies over the weekend.
Former YUKOS owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev will be brought to Moscow for additional investigative actions, a lawyer said. “According to today’s court ruling, the Prosecutor General’s Office has to bring Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to Moscow for investigative actions within the framework of a new case,” Khodorkovsky’s lawyer Yuri Shmidt told Itar-Tass. Earlier in the day, the Moscow City Court confirmed that the investigative actions related to new charges brought against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev in Chita were unlawful. In March 2007, Moscow’s Basmanny Court upheld the defendants’ complaint and ruled that the investigation was unlawful. The court thus obligated the Prosecutor General’s Office to bring Khodorkovsky and Lebedev back to Moscow for investigative actions at the place where the crime was committed
The Kremlin has made a grave strategic error in seeking to retry Khodorkovsky for the same crime. First, the mere fact that it is doing so makes it look not only malignant, but weak. Second, it’s been forced to publicly retract its shoddy, illegal attempt to try Khodorkovsky in Siberia for crimes committed in Moscow. More weakness. And third, now it is forced to bring Khodorkovsky into the Moscow mailstrom where Kasparov and Kasyanov are continuing the drumbeat of protest on the streets. These are ham-handed, neo-Soviet moves we might have expected from the Politburo. Undoubtedly, when Putin rose to power he planned to avoid mistakes of this kind and do dictatorship “right this time.” No such luck.
To watch an MSNBC video on how Russia is weaponizing energy to intimidate its neighbors and rekindle the cold war, click here.
Does anyone know what Itar-Tass is talking about?
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Timoshenko’s anti-Russian rhetoric in an influential American magazine. “This is an anti-Russian manifesto and an attempt to bring the world back into atmosphere of the Cold War,” the ministry said on Monday, commenting on Timoshenko’s article in the Foreign Affairs magazine.
We’ve looked at both the Foriegn Affairs and Foreign Policy sites and can’t find a trace of something like this. Can anyone help?
Check out La Russophobe’s latest installment on Publius Pundit, where she exposes how the so-called “conservatives” at the Discovery Institute are betraying the conservative legacy of Ronald Reagan by supporting the rise of dicatorship in Russia with a deluge of Soviet-like propaganda. Now, they’ve even dared to invoke Reagan’s hallowed name in support of their nefarious activities, and that’s going one step too far for even the most hardened proponent of “intelligent design” (DI’s pet project) to stomach.