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The European Parliament (EP) has taken a much more favourable attitude toward Russia at the same time as the human rights situation in Russia has continued to deteriorate. This is revealed in a February 2013 research paper by the Italian political scientist, Stefano Braghiroli, for the Centre for EU-Russia Studies at the University of Tartu.
Russia is geographically, culturally, and politically situated in-between Europe and Asia — sometimes being included in Europe, sometimes counted as part of Asia. What challenges does this bring for Russia’s participation in civil society activities within the Asia-Europe context? What is the space in Russia for civil society movements and their participation in international NGO work?
In an interview with Spiegel, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, member of the Russian feminist punk collective, Pussy Riot, discussed the group’s political aims, why she believed there were limits to Vladimir Putin’s power, and how the “fight for our ideas and values” would continue. She said it was “not me, but the authorities who must be afraid.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has published a report on the human rights situation in various countries. The starting point of the report is one of double standards: The report only focuses on human rights in countries, with which Russia is looking for discord.
The report devotes several pages to Finland. It seems that Moscow regards Finland as a similar target for pressure and part of its “near abroad” as the Baltic States. The report directs accusations against Finland using the same sort of demagoguery as against the Baltic States.
The West has paid too little attention to the human rights situation in Russia, the former head of the now defunct YUKOS oil company, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, said. Speaking in a written interview with four Western newspapers — The Wall Street Journal, Le Figaro, Il Mondo, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, — Mr Khodorkovsky blamed the West for passivity in monitoring the respect of human rights in Russia. Such a position will cost dearly to both Russia and Europe, he warned.
Latvian political scientist and researcher Edvins Snore (Edvīns Šnore), director of the documentary film, The Soviet Story, gave a talk on the phenomenon of Soviet Communism at an event organised by the Finnish organisation, Pro Karelia, in Helsinki on 6 June 2011. Below, the full text of Mr Snore’s talk:
I want to thank the organisers of this event for inviting me to take part. I am delighted to be here in Finland and to speak about a subject, which is important to the Baltic people, which is known in Finland also, but which is less known in the rest of Western Europe. That subject is Soviet Communism and its legacy today.