Russian scientists and cultural figures oppose police violence
Russian Police Use Batons on Protesters at Demonstration
Topics&# 160; time&# 160; Navalny’s supporters announced a new form of protest&# 160;
Almost two hundred Russian scientists and cultural figures have made a collective appeal in defense of fellow citizens detained at mass rallies in support of Alexei Navalny and against police violence in the country..
«Peaceful gatherings of citizens have been held throughout Russia in recent weeks – they took to the streets to protest political persecution – assassination attempts, fabrication of criminal cases and arrests of political opponents, – indicated in the letter. – Such phenomena, characteristic of dictatorships, are unacceptable in modern society, incompatible with the tasks of the development of our country and return it to the totalitarian past. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Russian citizens took part in these peaceful actions.».
As the authors of the appeal note, local authorities refused to all applications for holding protest events, which clearly violates the rights of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution.. «The senselessly brutal actions of the police, who beat peaceful, unarmed citizens, and the complete arbitrariness of the courts, en masse violating all conceivable requirements of the law, the principle of impartiality, justice, and the presumption of innocence, cause deep indignation. These days have become a real shame for the Russian judicial system.», – approved in a letter.
According to its authors, the courts have become a kind of «triplets» of the Stalinist era of terror and churning out blue-copy indictments against the protesters. The appeal also called for the release of all those detained and arrested during the rallies and demanded to stop «politically motivated fictitious criminal cases».
Among the signatories: writers Boris Akunin, Lev Rubinstein, Viktor Shenderovich, Denis Dragunsky, actors Veniamin Smekhov, Alexander Filippenko, Chulpan Khamatova, Yevgeny Tsyganov, Yulia Snigir, Anatoly Bely, directors Vladimir Mirzoev, Andrey Proshkin, Alexei Popogrebsky, Boris Khlebili Sigarev, Vitaly Mansky, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Oleg Dorman, Ivan Vyrypaev, director «Levada Center» Lev Gudkov, film critics Anton Dolin, Andrey Plakhov and others.
Anton Dolin: «The repressive process that has begun, apparently, will not end quickly»
Film critic, radio station host «silver Rain» Anton Dolin, one of the signatories of the appeal, in a commentary for the Russian Service «Voices of America» noted that those who joined this appeal were most outraged by the following: «These are unprecedentedly tough, illegal actions of the authorities and the so-called law enforcement agencies, illegal sentences on completely obviously false, invented charges, – he specified. – There are all the signs of a repressive illegal state, which has now become so clearly manifested during the days of the actions».
At the same time, Anton Dolin found it difficult to predict whether the Russian authorities today have a desire to try to establish a dialogue with society, or, on the contrary, they will continue to rely on violence in all directions.. «I can’t diagnose what the authorities want or don’t want. Let her be responsible for herself. I see that the repressive process that has begun, apparently, will not end quickly. And in what exactly it will manifest itself, according to what scenario the events will develop, I think, we don’t know, nor the authorities themselves have yet decided», – summed up the film critic.
Sergey Lukashevsky: «One of the main problems in Russia today – fear of government repression»
In turn, the director of the Sakharov Center, Sergei Lukashevsky, believes that such petitions are written not with the aim of achieving any direct consequences, but when the dialogue between the authorities and civil society stalls or simply does not exist. Nevertheless, in his opinion, the appearance of such collective letters plays a rather important role..
«Because one of the main problems in Russia today – it is fear of repressive actions of the authorities, – explained the interlocutor «Voices of America». – In recent days, we have seen not only a direct increase in repression, an increase in the number of detainees and arrested persons, but also the use of completely new methods that were previously impossible to imagine. We have already observed that, upon entering an uncoordinated action, they may be sentenced to 10-20 days of arrest. But the fact that they can come to your home, since with the help of video cameras they figured out that you were somewhere in the area of \ u200b \ u200bthe protest event, and taken to the police, this has not happened before».
It seems to Sergey Lukashevsky that such petitions help the Russian society to consolidate and not be afraid.
During the past actions in support of Navalny, over 11 thousand people were detained, criminal and administrative cases were initiated against almost five thousand of them, more than a thousand citizens were fined.
Will the flash mob work??
Meanwhile, supporters of Alexei Navalny are calling for a switch from uncoordinated actions to a flash mob in order to avoid another wave of arrests. The new action is scheduled for next Sunday, February 14th. This was announced by the head of the Navalny headquarters network Leonid Volkov. He urged all concerned people to go out into the yard in the evening, turn on the flashlight on the phone and raise it up. The picture taken on video is supposed to be posted on the social network..
The Kremlin reacted nervously to calls for a flash mob. Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov stressed that those guilty of violating the law will be brought to justice. At the same time, what may be the violation of the law, he did not explain.
Director of the Sakharov Center Sergei Lukashevsky believes that it is now important for Navalny and his supporters to maintain a certain level of pressure on the authorities and continue to manifest political demands. «At the same time, their arsenal is rather limited., – he added. – This is the difficulty of any active political action under the conditions of a harsh authoritarian regime. And they are looking for options. Of course, flash mobs cannot replace, for example, a large-scale, well-organized rally. This is a test of strength, an attempt to continue to pursue its own policy».
In conditions when legal institutions practically do not work, people who are critical of the authorities and their policies have no choice but to look for new forms of protest, concluded the director of the Sakharov Center..