The Latest Lie about Human Rights Defenders. Statement by International Memorial Society

Source: (info), 19/01/12

· Human rights defenders

According to media reports, on 18 January 2012 the head of the FSB in the Republic of Komi, Aleksandr Kalashnikov, named the Golos Association and Komi Memorial Human Rights Commission in an official report as “extremist organizations operating in the Republic.”

Aleksandr Kalashnikov asserts that the activities of these organizations are “directed from abroad, are often financed by foreign non-governmental foundations, and are directed at the transformation of the political system in Russia.” He said the upcoming demonstrations planned for 4 and 24 February were extremist, and stressed that their main goal was to “disrupt the holding of presidential elections in Russia.”

Throughout the world, elections are the main means by which the political systems are changed. This is the purpose for which they are designated. In the opinion of Mr Kalashnikov, elections in Russia are needed for some other purpose – apparently to preserve the mythical “stability”, as the current government understands it. Judging by the mass fraud practised at the 4 December elections, Mr Kalashnikov is not the only person to hold this view.

It is not at all interesting to conduct a polemic with Mr Kalashnikov about the notion that the activities of independent civic organizations are controlled from abroad. This notion has become hopelessly putrid, and all reasonable people have long since ceased to believe in it.

In general, Mr Kalashnikov’s statement is of interest for one reason alone: it clearly illustrates the level of understanding of the current leaders of law enforcement bodies about what is causing and driving today’s protest movement.

Mass protest movements, including the “orange revolutions” with which they seek to scare us, arise not at the behest of any foreign forces. They arise as a result of the dismissive and arrogant attitude of the authorities towards citizens, as exemplified by the open falsification of the results of national elections. And they begin when society is no longer ready to put up with these falsifications. Whoever says that the demonstrations against electoral fraud are “orange roguery” demonstrates only a complete lack of respect for their compatriots.

Protest movements are not given birth by the US Department of State, nor by election observers from non-profit organizations, but by those heads of electoral commissions who expel observers from the polling stations. The protest movements are brought to life by governors who make their subordinates organize forced voting for the ruling party.

Attempts to stop the protests with the help of outworn methods in the style of Soviet secret police propaganda have no chance of success.

And the intellectual and professional level demonstrated by Mr Kalashnikov shows that the current political system really does need, and without delay, a very serious transformation.

Board of the International Memorial Society

Rights in Russia,
19 Jan 2012, 08:24