Russian scholars urge Minister of Justice Konovalov to reconsider report on Memorial Human Rights Centre

posted 23 Nov 2015, 03:50 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 23 Nov 2015, 04:04 ]
19 November 2015

Source: (info)
To: the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation A. V. Konovalov

Dear Minister

Both in the press and in social media an official report produced by one of the departments of your Ministry relating to an inspection of the non-governmental organization Memorial Human Rights Centre is being widely discussed. The text of the report, which we have, contains the following specific statement: 'By their activities, members of the Memorial Human Rights Centre have undermined the foundations of the Russian Federation’s Constitutional order by calling for the overthrow of the existing authorities, and for a change in the political regime in the country.'

We, the undersigned Russian scholars and journalists, consider that a statement as serious as this must be based on no less serious evidence. However, in acquainting ourselves with the text of the official report, we have not found a single example of an activity by Memorial Human Rights Centre, which would enable such a conclusion to be drawn.

The accusations contained in the report, produced in the name of your Ministry, that Memorial Human Rights Centre has engaged in 'calling for the overthrow of the existing authorities, for a change in the political regime in the country' are based on a statement that 'the given organization is actively engaged in political activity aimed at creating a negative view among the public of government policy emanating from the highest organs of the State; it voices its disagreement with decisions and actions of the above mentioned Authorities, and with the results of the preliminary investigation and verdicts of the courts in widely known criminal cases, as can be seen in the examples, details of which are given below.'

As examples, we are given the reproduction on the website of Memorial Human Rights Centre of an appeal to the President of the Russian Federation by another organization, the International Memorial Society, relating to actions of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, and also to a statement on the same site which disputes the results of the investigation and verdicts in the so-called Bolotnaya Square trials.

All the above, and the other facts relating to the activities of the Memorial Human Rights Centre listed in the text of the report that we have seen, are inalienable rights of citizens of the Russian Federation, guaranteed by Articles 29, 32 and 33 of the Constitution and, accordingly, cannot be considered to be undermining the constitutional order. This also applies to calls 'for regime change' which are perfectly legal if they are not accompanied by 'propaganda or agitation, provoking social, racial, national or religious hatred and enmity': after all the Constitution allows for peaceful change of the existing regime by means of voting in elections. Nor can there be any doubt of the legality of citizens and their organizations expressing their disagreement with decisions made by organs of the state, or with court verdicts, let alone with the results of preliminary investigations. The right of the freedom of expression is guaranteed by Articles 29 and 33 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

The report of the inspection produced in the name of your Ministry contains not a single example of a call by Memorial Human Rights Centre for the overthrow (i.e. with the use of force) of the existing order.

Thus we see neither factual nor legal grounds for the extremely serious claims that the Memorial Human Rights Centre is ‘undermining the Constitutional order of the Russian Federation’ and ‘calling for overthrowing the existing authorities’.

Moreover we consider that the aforesaid report report creates a dangerous precedent: it equates criticism of the authorities with the undermining of the constitutional order. In our view, the implementation in practice of such a claim would infringe the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, which are upheld both in the Russian Federation’s Constitution and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in the European Convention on Human Rights and Basic Freedoms. We are of the opinion that it is not the activities of Memorial Human Rights Centre, but rather the potential implementation of the conclusions of the official report, that could lead to 'undermining the foundations of the Constitutional order of the Russian Federation.’

We demand a thorough review of the aforesaid report for its compliance with the Constitution and those international agreements to which Russia is a party. We request you to abstain from taking any decisions, based on that report, until such a review has been completed, and to inform the Russian public of its results.

Signatures may be sent to:

Please provide higher degree qualification, place of work, position.

Signatories are also being collected HERE
List of signatories as of 18 November 2015:

Ахметова Мария Вячеславовна, к.филол.н., РАНХиГС, снс
Базыкин Георгий Александрович, к.б.н., ИППИ РАН, зав. сектором
Беленкина Нина Михайловна, издательство "Наука"
Бершицкий Сергей Юрьевич, д.б.н., Институт иммунологии и физиологии УрО РАН
Бирюков Дмитрий Сергеевич, к.филос.н., СПбГУАП
Борисов Николай Михайлович, д.т.н., НИЦ "Курчатовский институт", ведущий научный сотрудник
Воробейчик Евгений Леонидович, д.б.н., Институт экологии растений и животных УрО РАН, заместитель директора
Гельфанд Михаил Сергеевич, д.б.н., профессор, член Academia Europaea зам. директора, ИППИ РАН, профессор МГУ
Гинзбург Илья Файвильевич, д.ф. -м.н., проф. Институт математики СО РАН, Новосибирск, гл.н.с. и Новосибирский госуниверситет, проф.
Горбунов Михаил Юрьевич, к.б.н., Институт экологии Волжского бассейна РАН
Гусев Алексей Викторович, к.и.н., МГУ им. М.В. Ломоносова, доцент
Демина Наталия Валентиновна, магистр математики, научный журналист "Полит.ру", член редсовета газеты "Троицкий вариант — Наука"
Долгин Борис Семенович, научный редактор "Полит.ру"
Дорожкин Сергей Вениаминович, к.х.н.
Дробышев Юлий Иванович, к.б.н., ИПЭЭ РАН
Жуйков Борис Леонидович, д.хим.н., Институт ядерных исследований РАН
Звонкин Дмитрий Александрович, кандидат математических наук, CNRS (Париж)
Иванов Алексей Викторович, д.г. -м.н., и.о. рук. ЦКП, Институт земной коры СО РАН, Иркутск
Кондрашов Федор Алексеевич, PhD, Заведующий лабораторией, Центр Геномной Регуляции
Кубасова Наталия Алексеевна, д.ф. -м.н., НИИ механики МГУ
Лидский Петр Владимирович, к.б.н., Университет Калифорнии, Сан-Франциско, научный сотрудник
Лутаенко Константин Анатольевич, к.б.н., ИБМ ДВО РАН, зав. лаб.
Медведев Эмиль Самуилович, д.ф. -м.н., ИРХФ РАН, гнс
Мелькумянц Артур Маркович, д.б.н., проф. РКНПК МЗ РФ, в.н.с.
Насретдинова Венера Фатиховна, к.ф. -м.н., м.н.с. ИРЭ РАН
Неретина Светлана Сергеевна, д.филос.н., Институт философии РАН
Нестеров Антон Викторович, к. филол. н., МГЛУ, доцент
Онищенко Евгений Евгеньевич, Физический институт им.П.Н.Лебедева РАН, научный сотрудник
Оскольский Алексей Асафьевич, д.б.н. Ботанический институт им. В.Л. Комарова, в.н.с.
Пшеничнов Игорь Анатольевич, д.ф. -м.н., Институт ядерных исследований РАН, в.н.с.
Рекубратский Александр Витальевич, к.б.н., ВНИИ пресноводного рыбного хозяйства, вед. научн. сотр.
Сигалова Ольга Михайловна, ИППИ РАН, аспирант
Слепухина Ирина Ароновна, ЕМУП МОАП, начальник службы информационных технологий
Соломина Ольга Николаевна, чл. -корр.РАН, д.геогр.н., зам.директора ИГРАН
Стаф Ирина Карловна к.филол.н., ИМЛИ РАН, с.н.с.
Тамм Михаил Владимирович, к. ф. -м. н., с.н.с. физического факультета МГУ, доцент НИУ ВШЭ
Утехин Илья Владимирович, к.и.н., профессор ф-та антропологии Европейского университета в СПб
Федченко Валентина Владимировна, к.ф.н., доцент
Фогельсон Юрий Борисович, д.ю.н., адвокат
Фрадков Александр Львович, д.т.н., профессор ИПМаш РАН, зав.лаб.
Хантемиров Рашит Мигатович, д.б.н., Институт экологии растений и животных УрО РАН, в.н.с.
Хачатурян Александр Вячеславович, гимназия 1543, учитель
Цатурян Андрей Кимович, д.ф. -м.н., МГУ, в.н.с.
Цирлина Галина Александровна, д.х.н., профессор Химический факультет МГУ, профессор
Чеботарев Павел Юрьевич, д.ф. -м.н. ИПУ РАН, гнс
Чеботарёва Альбина Николаевна, к.техн.н., пенсионерка
Шустин Евгений Германович, д.ф. -м.н., ФИРЭ им. В.А. Котельникова РАН, г.н.с.
Яблонский Леонид Тодорович, д.истор.н., профессор ИА РАН, зав. оделом

Source: Тroitsky variant Nauka

Translated by Mary McAuley