President Vladimir Putin (1952- ) on Mount Athos… who do you stand with? The fathers of the Mountain, who support President Putin, or, do you stand with the godless secularists of Amnesty International? I somehow think that it’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?
One of the latest reports published by the human rights watchdog group Amnesty International attempts to “blow the whistle” concerning the human rights situation in Russia, in particular, it claims there are infringements of freedom of opinion and a crackdown on independent mass media and nongovernmental organizations. Looking through Amnesty International’s report, one would think it was addressed to the Communist leadership of the former Soviet Union, it doesn’t pertain to 21st-century Russia. One must be either completely blind or deeply biased not to see the enormous changes that have occurred in democratic post-Soviet Russia. Incidentally, just yesterday, the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta published a very long article by one of the Kremlin’s opponents. It contained a tough assessment of the eight years of Vladimir Putin’s presidency. No such article would ever appear in a country where dissent isn’t tolerated. If you think that this was a singular event, you’re wrong. During the current election campaign, which is now ending, one could hear the presidential candidates express their views live on state and private broadcasting channels, pouring tons of criticism on the government and accusing it of every possible thing.
True, not all is ideal in Russia. It’s hard to expect regional authorities to flirt with journalists who criticise them. However, is there anywhere on Earth an oasis of democracy where things are different? Thousands of nongovernmental non-commercial organisations currently operate in Russia. No one infringes upon their rights if they are not financed from abroad and if they don’t defend the national interests of other countries. This is normal practise for any sovereign state. President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly voiced readiness to heed constructive, honest, and objective human rights criticism from abroad. Nevertheless, none is to be found in Amnesty International’s report. Its authors didn’t bother to think that if things were as bad as they allege, President Putin’s course wouldn’t have won support from the overwhelming majority of Russian voters.
27 February 2008
Voice of Russia World Service
Amnesty International is up to its old tricks of being a shill for American corporate interests. Contemporary Russia is not the USSR, the GULag no longer exists, and the KGB no longer spies on anyone (for it’s as dead as the dodo, despite what you hear from ignorant American sources). Vladimir Putin is genuinely popular, he has great respect abroad as a leader, and he has improved the objective condition and standing of his country by his administration. All of which, by the way, George W Bush lacks, and lacks copiously and conspicuously, especially in comparison with Mr Putin. When is Amnesty International going to write a report on the USA under neocon misrule? Now, THAT would be a good read! Let’s start with the bombing of Belgrade on Orthodox Easter and the “Department of Homeland Security”… sounds rather Orwellian, no?