Staunton, November 28 – In Soviet times, dissidents regularly called on the USSR government to obey its own constitution. Now, given that the Putin regime is restoring many of the conditions of the past, Russia’s human rights activists feel compelled to make the same appeal once again.
At a congress in Moscow, Lev Ponomaryev, the head of the For Human Rights Movement, said that the activists have concluded that they must join efforts to preserve “the main achievement of the early 1990s, the Constitution of the Russian Federation” which provides for basic rights (cursorinfo.co.il/pravozashhitniki-v-rossiyu-vernulis-sovetskie-vremena/).
Now, those rights and even that document are under threat because they are being ignored by the government, he continues; and as a result, the regime is becoming ever more repressive on a broad front. The congress called for eliminating the anti-extremism arm of the interior ministry as a necessary step in that fight.
“The main violators of the constitution and thus the ones responsible for the mass violations of human rights now are the force structures,” Ponomaryev says. “The main task of civil society is to oppose their destructive activity,” an appeal that resembles those made in the 1980s by Soviet dissidents.
One interesting feature of the congress was its refusal to allow employees of REN TV and NTV to cover its proceedings because as Ponomaryev says these two outlets have become known for their “absolutely false” broadcasts and attacks on those who attempt to defend human rights in Putin’s Russia.
In a confirmation of what the congress declared, the Russia media devoted more coverage to the exclusion of such government journalists than it did to the appeals of the human rights activists themselves (ria.ru/society/20171126/1509611567.html).