Mikhail Khodorkovsky: "The authorities are destroying the framework of civil society”

2 April 2013 

Source: HRO.org (info)
Statement by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, political prisoner, on the crackdown on NGOs 

“Unprecedented across-the-board inspections of non-profit organisations by prosecutors and police are now taking place throughout Russia. Some of them, of course absolutely accidentally, are even taking place in front of the TV cameras of the NTV state TV channel. For all intents and purposes, these inspections, carried out mostly against human rights organisations, resemble banal intimidation, not only of politicized public structures, which are accustomed to such events, but of everyone who is trying to protect people from bureaucratic arbitrariness.

In fact, the authorities, despite their own statements, are destroying the framework of the fledging civil society in the development of which they claim to take so much interest.

What’s going on looks like a link in a chain of carefully thought-through provocations aimed at worsening relations with the West in the run-up to the significant international events that are to take place in Russia at the end of this year and early next year.

It’s possible to assume that some government representatives, in their zeal and anger, are acting not only against Russia’s interests but even against their own, possibly without realizing the consequences of their actions.

The Kremlin is depriving itself of support from civil society and worsening its relations with the active part of the population, first of all the “angry urbanites”, who are already poisoned by a lack of trust.

At the same time, I believe that society itself needs to demonstrate a consolidated stance: politically motivated pressure on public organisations by the authorities is unacceptable.” 

Source: Mikhail Khodorkovsky Press Centre 

This English-language version is reprinted by kind permission of the Mikhail Khodorkovsky Press Centre

The Russian version can be read here