Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), who chairs the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly Human Rights Committee, is calling on the Russian government to halt its harassment of civil society organisations such as Memorial.
Santos said that the Russian authorities have a duty to ensure the ability of non-governmental organizations, including human rights group Memorial, to continue their important work and rescind restrictive regulations on their activities.
After being forced to change its charter to conform to strict new laws governing NGOs, Memorial announced it had submitted all the proper documentation to the Russian Ministry of Justice.
“In the short-term, I hope that this means an end to the harassment of Memorial. However, Russia must enact meaningful reform and remove the draconian legal framework which is limiting the space for civil society to work,” Santos said.
Read more on the OSCE website.
Speaking at a conference hosted by Sciences Po in Paris, France, Mikhail Khodorkovsky put forward his vision for a democratic Russia, emphasising the importance of embracing civil society, an independent judicial system, and separation of powers.
According to a summary of the event posted on the Sciences Po website, Khodorkovsky argued that Russia would have no other choice but to turn towards Europe in order to develop. He insisted on the urgency of replacing “the archaic governance system” which traps Russians in arbitrariness and ineffectiveness, and pushes the country’s finest into exile. He also lashed out against the Kremlin’s policies which create conflict with neighbors and rely on false propaganda to convince the population that only the current regime can protect the country against external “threats.”
Khodorkovsky emphasized the importance of balancing the political system, by ensuring that parliament, judiciary, local and regional governmental institutions against the powers of the presidency.
Read more about the event at Sciences Po.
Open Russia’s online forum “Political prisoners 2.0: are there any legal ways to disagree?” (in Russian) will take place at 12:00 PM (Moscow time) on October 29, 2014 – the eve of the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions in Russia. You can participate by joining the event and asking the forum expert guests questions on Facebook here.
Unfortunately there will be no simultaneous English translation – the event will be broadcast in Russian only.
Today Mikhail Khodorkovsky is participating in one of the panels of the Forum 2000 conference in Prague titled “Russia: A Non-Democratic Power on the World Stage?” along with Petr Kolář, Former Ambassador to Russia, Czech Republic, Vytautas Landsbergis, Former Head of State, Lithuania, Andrey Zubov, Historian, Russia, and Daniel Baer, Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, USA.
This link for the live feed can be found below. Click here to read Khodorkovsky’s speech during the opening of the conference.