Tag Archives: Moscow

INF: Moscow in reciprocity mode

Russia will not deploy new missiles as long as the United States shows similar restraint in Europe and Asia, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said on August 18, reacting upon Washington’s withdrawal from the pact.

Washington announced the decision to formally leave the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia earlier this month after accusing Moscow of violating the Soviet-era treaty and deploying one banned type of missile, allegations the Kremlin has firmly denied.

Subsequently Russia has also left the INF, but Shoigu explained it had no plans to deploy new missiles.

AMENDED:

“We still stick to that. Unless there are such systems in Europe (deployed by Washington), we won’t do anything there,” he told the Rossiya-24 TV channel, according to Interfax news agency.

The pact banned land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles (500-5,500 km), reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

Russians demand fair elections

Around 50 thousands of Moscovites  expressed their solidarity with rejected the access to elections opposition politicians participating in a demonstration “For Freedom and Justice” . The last five weeks the demands for fair elections and inclusion of independent candidates in upcoming municipal ballot united people from different views and backgrounds.

The crowd gathered under umbrellas in spite of rain, while riot police and vans have cordoned off the area in anticipation of a possible further march of participants through the city center following the event.

People chanted that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “thief”,

White Counter”, an independent activist group that tracks attendance at Russian demonstrations, estimated the Moscow crowd at around 47 thousand by 3:30 PM local time, but people still were arriving.

Moscow police, suspected by critics of deliberately diminishing the numbers of protesters in official statistics,  assess that  20,000 people participated in the event.

In spite of the outstanding support independent candidate Lubov Sobol was arrested, according to TASS Russian news agency wire.

The participants of the demonstration are putting forward the following demands:
1. Withdraw the criminal and administrative cases that have been opened against participants of peaceful protests during last five weeks.
2. Release the illegally arrested in the criminal case of the so-called riots and withdraw the case.
3. Publicly investigate and prosecute those responsible for violating election laws and building a mechanism of political repression.
4. Resignation of the head of election commission Valentin Gorbunov and lustration of the members of election commissions at all levels.
5. At the fall session of the State Duma, amend the electoral law and lift the signature barrier.

Simultaneously there were demonstrations in support of independent candidates and fair and free elections in the other Russian cities.

AMENDED: video of independent candidate Lubov Sobol arrest in Moscow. She has registered video of storming of her accommodation by OMON (anti-riot police).

EU expects release of Moscow protesters

Tbe European Union expects an “immediate release” of over 600 peaceful protesters, detained by police in Moscow,  the spokesperson of the European External Action Service wrote in her Twitter micro blog.

More than 600 people, including opposition activists, were detained by riot police in Moscow on August 3 after authorities warned they would take “all necessary measures” to prevent  the unsanctioned rally.

A week after police detained more than 1,300 people at a similar protest in the Russian capital, hundreds of OMON riot police were deployed ahead of the intended protest to demand free elections in Moscow.

EU blames Moscow “disproportionate use of force”

“Over a thousand peaceful demonstrators, including prominent opposition figures and journalists, have been detained in Moscow today. They were calling for free and democratic elections in Moscow in September 2019.

These detentions, and the disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters, follow the worrying series of arrests and police raids against opposition politicians carried out in recent days, and once again seriously undermine the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly. These fundamental rights are enshrined in the Russian constitution and we expect them to be protected.

For the upcoming local elections in September 2019 to represent a genuinely democratic process, it is essential to create the conditions for a level playing field and an inclusive political environment.

We expect the authorities of the Russian Federation to respect Russia’s OSCE commitments and other international obligations when conducting the upcoming local elections.

Russia-Georgia flights cancelled

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, which imposes a temporary ban on passenger flights between Russia and Georgia from July 8, the Kremlin press service announced. (Image above: illustration).

From July 8, 2019, Russian airlines are temporarily prohibited from carrying out air transportation (including commercial flights) of citizens from the territory of the Russian Federation to the territory of Georgia,” the ukaz reads.

In addition, tour operators and travel agents are recommended “for the duration of the ban … to refrain from selling a tourist product that includes transportation of citizens from the territory of the Russian Federation to the territory of Georgia”.

Putin instructed the government to take measures to repatriate Russian citizens temporarily staying in Georgia.

The decree was signed “in order to ensure the national security of the Russian Federation, to protect citizens of the Russian Federation from criminal and other unlawful actions and in accordance with federal law on Security dated December 28, 2010,” the document says.

The ban will stay in place until that country’s authorities can guarantee security of Russian nationals, president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

On June 20, several thousand protesters demanded resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm the building of Parliament in the capital Tbilisi.. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. According to Georgian media, dozens were detained, 240 people suffered injuries.

The protests infuriated by Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). On Thursday morning, IAO President Gavrilov opened the session in the Georgian parliament building. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that Gavrilov addressed the event from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue.

Later, a decision was taken to wrap up the session and for the Russian delegation to leave the country. Members of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia’ party said that they did not know that Gavrilov had been scheduled to open the event, claiming that the protocol office had made a mistake.

Secretary General of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia’ party and Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze announced on Friday that Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze decided to step down.

Jagland raises concerns about journalist Golunov case

 

 

 

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, has made the following statement with regard to the situation of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov in Russia:

I am very much concerned and saddened by reports coming from Moscow alleging that investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was subjected to violence and injured by police forces while in custody in a Moscow police station.

Violence by police during investigation procedures is absolutely prohibited by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the Russian Federation is party.

Moreover, the fact that Mr Golunov claims that evidence against him was manipulated raises even greater suspicion over the current situation.

Taking into account the particular gravity of the alleged facts, I call on the Minister of Interior of the Russian Federation, Mr Kolokoltsev, to personally address this situation.

I also hope that Human Rights Commissioner Moskalkova will look into these allegations.

Freedom of expression and the right to security are fundamental in a democratic society and law enforcement bodies must also defend these values.”

Spokesperson of the European External Action Service also made a statement, underlining that the European Union relevant institutuios follows closely the case of journalist Godunov, arrested in Moscow.

AMENDMENT:

British Forign Secretary Jeremy Hunt made a statement via his Twitter microblog on the arrest of Ivan Golunov. He also mentioned “fear of retribution” among  negative effects on practice of investigative journalism in Russia in general.

AMENDEMNET:

According to Golunov’s lawyer Chikov claims his client suffered from police brutalty, being beaten at his arrival to custody. He added paramedics suspected Golunov had suffered broken ribs, bruising and a concussion, and that “police chiefs” were refusing his hospitalisation

AMENDEMENT

Today the international organisation Reporters without borders (RSF) launched  mobiliseation to manifest in front of Russian Embassy in Paris, demanding liberation of Golunov, and dropping all charges against him.

 

AMENDEMENT

Poroshenko signs law criminalizing multilingualism

The incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko has signed the law on provision of the functioning of the Ukrainian as the state language. The signing ceremony was broadcast by all central Ukrainian TV channels.

Poroshenko  said he had the “greatest honor and a unique opportunity to sign the law on provision of the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language,” adding the signature “is one of the most important acts for the formation of Ukrainian statehood” since the language is the platform and foundation on which the state is being built.

I emphasize that this law does not affect the languages of national minorities living in Ukraine,” Poroshenko said. “…The only thought we did not intend to take into account was Moscow’s opinion. Let them do with Russian”  he added.

“Very few issues are as fundamental to a person’s identity as their native language. Challenging this may provoke a defensive response. History teaches us that any such attempts often end badlywarned Lamberto Zannier, High Commissioner on National Minorities of the OSCE.

Although Ukraine is officially aiming the European Union integration de facto Poroshehnko opposed the European values, namely the linguistic rights of the minorities. At present 23 official and 60 regional languages are practiced on the EU territory.

In Europe, linguistic diversity is a fact of life. Languages are an integral part of European identity and the most direct expression of culture. In an EU founded on the motto ‘United in diversity’, the ability to communicate in several languages is an important asset for individuals, organisations and companies. Languages not only play a key role in the everyday life of the European Union, but are also fundamental for respecting cultural and linguistic diversity in the EU” the European Commission explains.

In Ukraine the case of attempts to introduce bilingualism or multilingualism, or to grant official status to any other language in the whole country or in a separate region, this equates to overthrowing the constitutional order. You can get up to 10 years in prison for this in accordance with section 109 of the Penal Code.

Here is the list of ten top changes language law imposes on the citizens of Ukraine:

1. The only state and official language in Ukraine is Ukrainian. Public disrespect and ignoring the law is equated with the abuse of state symbols: from a fine of up to 6.800 hryvnia up to imprisonment up to 3 years.

2. All the representatives of the central executive bodies of Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, deputies, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, notaries, medical workers, and teachers must have proficiency of the Ukrainian language. All meetings, events, working communication in government bodies, including Crimea, in state and municipal events should be held in Ukrainian. If the event organizers deems it necessary to apply another language, they must ensure it “provides a translation into the state language”.

3. Language requirements for members of the government, high-ranking officials, and people’s deputies will be determined by the National Commission for Standards of the State Language, and the Ukrainian Language Center will test them for compliance. In addition to these two new institutions, the Terminology Center of the Ukrainian language will be created. One of its tasks is the “development of the standards of the Ukrainian sign language.”

4. In public kindergartens, the language of instruction is Ukrainian, in private there may be other options, however Ukrainian language should be present. As for universities, the teaching should be conducted in Ukrainian, but lectures in one of the EU languages ​​are allowed. That is, Chinese and Yiddish, as follows from the text, are banned on a par with Russian.

5. In theaters, cinemas should sound the Ukrainian language. Performances and films in a foreign language must be accompanied by subtitles. “Cinemas can show foreign films in the original language, accompanying the subtitling in Ukrainian. The total number of showcases of such films cannot exceed 10% of the total number of showcases of films in a cinema a month,” the bill said.

6. Mass media is also switching to the Ukrainian language. If, say, your favorite newspapers or magazines were printed in Russian, then after the law came into force, they should have half the circulation of the Ukrainian version. The total duration of foreign language television and radio programs and broadcasts may not exceed 10% of the daily broadcasting time for national broadcasters, and 20% for regional and local broadcasters.

7. In bookstores should be on the shelves at least 50% of the products in the Ukrainian language.

8. A language ombudsman  is becoming  a leading authority for complaints. The language inspector will get rights akin to a police officer. He will be able to request documents or their copies and other information, including those with limited access, to freely visit state authorities, enterprises and institutions regardless of their form of ownership, attend their meetings, receive documents or their copies and other information from civil associations upon request, political parties, legal entities of private law.

9. The draft law also provides for the creation of an institution of language inspectors, who will observe the purity of speech in their region. It is assumed that there should be 27 language inspectors.

10. All who wish to obtain Ukrainian citizenship must pass the exam on the knowledge of the Ukrainian language.

 

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