Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr .: international pressure will force the Kremlin to make concessions
Vladimir Kara-Murza: Leading the opposition in Putin’s Russia – Full interview | VIEWPOINT
Russian opposition politician assesses the resolutions of the US House of Representatives on Russia
On Thursday, December 3, the House of Representatives of the US Congress unanimously adopted two resolutions on Russia: the first condemns the activities of businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is considered an approximate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and companies associated with Prigozhin, in particular PMC Wagner, which «pose a threat to the United States and allies»; second – demands the immediate release of Russian political prisoners. Both resolutions call for the use of sanctions. US lawmakers also called on US representatives, who are in talks with the Russian side, to raise the issue of releasing political prisoners..
Chairman of the Board of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., who for many years has been working to protect human rights in Russia at the international level, in an interview with the Russian Service «Voices of America» noted that the adoption of these resolutions demonstrates that international attention to the actions of the Kremlin is not waning.
«Despite the presence of a huge number of priorities for the US Congress, including work on an economic aid package in connection with the consequences of the pandemic and other issues, the congressmen took the time to discuss and adopt two resolutions aimed at the situation in Russia, – says Kara-Murza-ml. – The problems identified by these resolutions and the crimes that are committed on behalf of the Kremlin, in particular by the Prigozhin structures, and the fact that hundreds of innocent people in Russia today are in prisons for political reasons – these problems are not forgotten, they are talked about, they are remembered and will be paid attention to in the future. And it is very important that this international pressure does not ease».
The politician also draws attention to the fact that the Russian media and officials often emphasize that the resolutions of the US Congress are not legally binding, thereby understating their significance. However, Congress resolutions, especially if they have bipartisan support and are adopted unanimously – have significant authority and political weight, says Kara-Murza Jr. So, he notes, in March 2019, the US Congress adopted a resolution condemning the murder of Boris Nemtsov, which contained a clause on the need to impose sanctions within the framework of «The Magnitsky Law» regarding the organizers of this murder. And already in May, the United States imposed sanctions on one of the «grassroots» organizers of the murder of Nemtsov – Ruslan Geremeev.
Publicity and international attention are critical factors for the release of political prisoners, adds Vladimir Kara-Murza: «From the long Soviet past, under pressure from the international community, public opinion and the actions of the governments of democratic countries, the Soviet authorities had to release a certain number of political prisoners, for example, Vladimir Bukovsky, Anatoly Sharansky, Yuri Orlov, Alexander Ginzburg and many others. But we know such examples from recent times, already under Vladimir Putin. I am absolutely convinced that today both Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Oleg Sentsov would have continued to be in Russian prison if there had not been an international campaign in their defense and support.».
According to Kara-Murza Jr., it is important not only that the resolution of the US Congress mentions the total number of Russian political prisoners. – more than 300 people, which is «terrible figure», but also mentioning specific names: «It mentions Alexey Pichugin, the longest-serving Russian political prisoner and the last prisoner. “the Yukos case”, Yuri Dmitriev, historian “Memorial”, who was engaged in perpetuating the memory of victims of Stalinist repressions, it mentions Konstantin Kotov, an activist and one of the prisoners in the so-called “Moscow case” in connection with the protest demonstrations last year, Anastasia Shevchenko is mentioned there – the first person in Russia to be charged under the so-called Law on Undesirable Organizations, and a few more names».
Alexey Pichugin, adds the chairman of the board of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation, remains in prison for 17 years, despite two decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in his favor and a number of other numerous resolutions by international organizations condemning his imprisonment and demanding his release.
«Resolution similar to the one passed in Congress yesterday – these are not just some beautiful words, these are very important milestones on the way of increasing international pressure, which, in the end, will force the Kremlin to make concessions, including the release of innocent prisoners», – adds Kara-Murza Jr. He emphasizes that international pressure to release political prisoners is not interference in the internal affairs of Russia, but an appeal to the Russian authorities to respect human rights within the framework of their obligations under international provisions..
The resolution regarding Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oppositionist calls «unprecedented step»: «As far as I know, never until now in the history of the United States has a specific person, that is, an individual, been declared a threat to the national security of the United States by a resolution of the Congress.». The importance of this resolution also lies in the fact that it lists the activities of Yevgeny Prigozhin, conducted «on behalf and on behalf of the Kremlin regime» adds Kara-Murza Jr..