May 14, 2007

The Other Russia

Writing at Sign and Sight, Andre Glucksmann calls the "greats" of Europe to action. Excerpting "Time to back the Other Russia"

The new dissidence that was recently manifested in Moscow failed to impress the moral and political authorities. Paris, Rome, London, Berlin turned away and came to their own conclusion: Putin, his oil and gas, his weapons of destruction and the weapons that he sells to the entire world weigh more than a few thousand demonstrators who are beaten, dispersed and arrested by security forces ten times stronger. Schroeder pockets his dividends from Gazprom, Jacques Chirac goes into retirement without the slightest regret for the legion of honour that he stuck on Putin's back. And Romani Prodi seems to confuse Putin with Pushkin.

Anna Poltikovskaya was murdered and has already been forgotten, together with dozens of other journalists who became the victims of fatal contracts. Journalists investigating the forces behind the building that was blown up in Moscow are eliminated. 300 people died in the explosion and it was used to justify the war in Chechnya. And Litvinenko was poisoned with Polonium.

Khodorkovsky and Trepashkin are locked up in deepest Siberia. Every fourth or fifth Chechnen has lost his life. Gary Kasparov and his friends are receiving threats and being prevented from demonstrating with a rose in one hand and the Russian constitution in the other. How many heads have to roll, how many hopes destroyed before Europeans, those champions of human rights, finally react?

I don't know much about Garry Kasparov's movement, but the statement from the Other Russia Conference proves that these are some extraordinarily brave people.

The conference has succeeded in showing that Russia still possesses a civil society capable of defending its rights. It is also clear that this fact has become a special source of concern to the powers that be in Russia. Their goal is the complete and unending control of every national resource and this can only be achieved by repression and anti-constitutional means based on the destruction of civil liberties and the cleansing of the political field. Such methods are certain to drive Russia into the abyss.

Our goal is to combat this destructive trend and this is why they despise us and fear us. Their fear is justified as the tasks we set for ourselves and our country are incompatible with the existence of the present regime. We aim to restore civil control of power in Russia, a control that is guaranteed in the Russian Constitution that is so frequently and unambiguously violated today. This aim requires a return to the principles of federalism and the separation of powers. It calls for the restoration of the social function of the state with regional self-administration and the independence of the media. The judicial system must protect every citizen equally, especially from the dangerous impulses of the representatives of power. It is our duty to free the country from outbreaks of prejudice, racism, and xenophobia and from the looting of our national riches by government officials.

Posted by dan at May 14, 2007 9:59 PM