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Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, Russia

Absurd Human Rights Report May Hasten End of Putin Era


"The 'long-standing systematic problems of American society' are attributed to, in particular, 'corruption' and an 'imperfect electoral system.' Especially touching, given the backdrop of protests against the rigged Duma elections, is Foreign Ministry concern about, 'blocked access to elections and elected positions for independent candidates' in the U.S., as well as restrictions on free speech. … The end of authoritarian regimes comes when they cease to inspire fear and become ridiculous."


By Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr.*



Translated By Yekaterina Blinove


December 29, 2011


Russia - Yezhednevniy Zhurnal - Original Article (Russian)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin: Like the ancient Roman triumvirates, the two seem to have gamed the system to completely dominate a nominal democracy. But will Russians go along much longer?


RUSSIA TODAY NEWS: The year of dissent: 'Moscow rallies will go on' in 2012, Jan. 1, 00:05:35RealVideo

"Voice of America" asks Armenian Radio: "What is the salary of a Soviet engineer?" After a three-day pause, Armenian radio gives its answer: "And you lynch Black people." (Soviet-era joke)."


[Editor's Note: The point of this quip is that Soviet-era salaries were so embarrassingly low, Armenian radio was unable to answer without admitting deep shortcomings in the Soviet System. So as part of the USSR, the Armenians preemptively defended it by saying that America lynches Black people. In other words, our salaries for elite professionals may be unacceptably low, but look how much worse America is.]"


A report on, "The Human Rights Situation in Several of the World's Countries," published by the Foreign Ministry this week, is a worthwhile read for anyone. Our "response to Hillary," an obvious knock-off of the annual report by the U.S. State Department, fits into 90 pages. Twenty of them consist of a description of the American human rights situation, which, according to human rights defenders at Smolenskaya Square [the Foreign Ministry], "is far from the proclaimed ideals of Washington."


By the way, countries like North Korea, Syria and China don't appear on the Foreign Ministry's list. However, it does contain such grave offenders of human rights as Great Britain, Finland and Canada. In fact, 14 of the 15 countries represented in the report are recognized democracies and members of the E.U. or NATO (with the sole exception of Georgia).


Aside from an annoying plethora of grammatical mistakes ("to undertake measures"), the report is replete with phrases that would be the envy of a Soviet Union propaganda master. Take, for instance, the "sins of the British authorities," or the fact that the "human rights situation in Canada remains far from simple" (It brings to mind the classic utterance: "my merciless journalistic fate has brought me to Paris").      



The "long-standing systematic problems of American society" are attributed to, in particular, "corruption" and an "imperfect electoral system." Especially touching, given the backdrop of many thousands of protests against the rigged Duma elections, the Foreign Ministry is concerned about, "blocked access to elections and elected positions for independent candidates" in the United States (no examples are provided), as well as restrictions on free speech. "More and more often, journalists in the United States are losing their jobs because they made ‘politically incorrect’ statements," write the report’s authors. "In June of 2010, for daring to criticize Israel’s actions in respect to the 'Freedom Flotilla,' under pressure from the influential Jewish community (emphasis mine, VKM), the legendary Helen Thomas was forced to end her career."


Allow me to remind you I will remind that, "criticism of Israel" from the lips of the "legendary" Helen Thomas consisted of her advice to the Jews to "Get the hell out of Palestine," namely, to their "homes" in Germany or Poland. That is where, relatively recently, (and when Thomas had already reached the age of self awareness) millions were slaughtered in gas chambers.


A significant portion of the report (18 out of its 90 pages) is devoted to the Baltic countries. This included the traditional criticism of "discriminatory policies … in respect to the Russian minority residing there." In particular, the Foreign Ministry highlights the "problem of providing 'non-citizens' with active and passive voting rights in Latvia, and active municipal voting rights in Estonia." It is worth noting that in Russia, contrary to a decision last year by the European Court of Human Rights, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Russian Federation citizens living abroad or those with dual citizenship are deprived of the right of passive suffrage. And what do you know - even the rest of us Russian citizens are endowed with only symbolic voting rights.


[International Herald Tribune, France]

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Russian authorities accuse Lithuania of having a "distorted view of history" because local textbooks mention "bloody Stalin" (in the Foreign Ministry's report, the phrase "bloody Stalin" is in quotation marks). Maybe Foreign Minister Lavrov should have familiarized his employees, and not with the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation in CPSS Decision No. 9 from November 30, 1992 affirming the constitutionality of Yeltsin’s order to suspend the activity of political parties); but with the June 30, 1956 report of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, "On the Personality Cult and its Consequences."


They say that the end of authoritarian regimes come when they cease to inspire fear and become ridiculous. If that is so, then a small contribution to the inevitable and impending end of the Putin epoch has been made by the Russian Federation's Foreign Ministry employees, specifically the person of Konstantin Konstantinovich Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.


*Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr. is a historian, publicist, and member of the Federal Political Council movement 'Solidarity.'  




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