External threat

Sep 18 2015

In Eastern Ukraine the shooting does not cease, in occupied Crimea the main “tourists” have long been Russian tanks and other heavy weapons, Russia pointedly puts the UN Security Council veto on the establishment of an international tribunal to investigate the disaster downed “Boeing” that is actually an admission of guilt for the deaths of nearly three hundred innocent people.

A London court has openly said that the murder of Litvinenko was personally ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian propaganda, meanwhile, continues to stubbornly stand on its own, broadcasting in various ways, two mutual theses: “It’s not us” and “we just defended.”

However, the Russian authorities, and after them, the media, have, for several years, successfully proven to townsfolk that any meanness and crime are justified by the unprecedented state of “external threat”. It turns out that the United States is to blame for all that today makes Russia an “organized” orange revolution” at the Russian border, supporting and continuing to support the opposition, cultivate a” fifth column “, lobby their interests in Russia” and so on.

As the hysteria on this subject in Russian society, not only does not subside, but is also gaining momentum, let’s try to understand one of the most common propaganda theses “The US organized Maidan in Ukraine.”

First, it is worth saying that the statement that the United States doesn’t support anyone and will never support anyone, is untrue. World reality is that there are no Saints – every country supports movements in other countries that are close to them, but does not go with the defined framework and rules. Revolution will also occur where there are strong and appropriate sentiments in society. Without them it is impossible to organize a revolution from outside that particular country. For this reason pro-Kosovo rallies in Serbia in 2013 could not develop into a revolution, as well as opposition rallies in Belarus in 2011 which did not lead to the victory of the “Revolution through social networks” not only because of the repressive machine of Lukashenko, but also because, his popularity was really high among the people.

In short, the revolution can be supported, but not organized, and both Russia and its opponents are doing it well. The “Winner” is the one whose interests most correspond to the real aspirations of the people of a country, that’s all. “Blood” is a revolution that happens when the dictator, against the will of the people, usurped power and does not want to leave. Unfortunately, practice shows that dictators do not really go without a lot of blood.

Thus, it is no secret that the United States at the diplomatic level supported the Maidan in Ukraine, but not to organize or hold it they simply would not do. Ukrainians took to the Maidan, because corruption and gangster lawlessness under the regime of Yanukovych rolled over, and to top it all, he sharply and severely ruined the dream of the majority of Ukrainians, which he himself had previously entertained. Add to that the brutal crackdown on students’ rally; it becomes clear why the Ukrainian revolutionaries were set up so strongly.

Some advocates go further and argue that the very mentality of Ukrainians was also a product of the influence of the United States. In a sense, this is true: the value of life and human dignity, the desire to live by the law and not by the bandit concept of law, protest against corruption, the corruption of judges and officials, and the arbitrariness of the siloviki, the value of freedom as such are all indicators of Western, and not Soviet mentality. It is clear that the mentality was formed over decades, and there are some absolutely legitimate means of broadcasting values through culture and education.

CCt2iZFWEAMhIxy

On the other hand, is the mood of the inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine not a product of Russian influence? The only difference being that in their “wards” Russian political technologists produced no values, but fears, moreover, false fears. Do not forget the fact that the flag and the symbols of the DNR arose long before the Maidan and that throughout Eastern Ukraine Cossacks and other groups acted, distributing books about “Ukrainian fascism” and in this manner acted Russian propaganda. If we talk about the clash of the two poles of influence on the public mood – Russian and American – it cannot be denied that the US was at least more honest, because it aired universal values, not invented fears.

The next argument is that Russian propaganda has, for several years, fanned the fear of “foreign agents.” Many subjects of propaganda films have intended to illustrate the central idea of the Kremlin – “financed by the US, Russian NGOs currently allow too much.”

If you understand the issue, it appears that this is a blatant lie, or we will have to admit that financed by Russia, NGOs can afford in the US and Europe much more than “too much”. For example, in America there are a variety of affiliated Russian NGOs formally aimed at improving Russian-American relations, that is, in fact, the NGOs, which in Russia would be called foreign agents. However, these organizations exist in the United States quite easily, and there is no pressure against them.

The members of these NGOs are very active. Their members come to the US-Ukrainian conferences at local universities, behave defiantly, organize provocations actively debated with the speakers and even publicly called them liars. Members of these organizations are trying to disrupt any pro-Ukrainian activities, including marches, and are making alternative actions, including in support of the pro-Russian militants, in short aggressively and openly spreading Russian propaganda worldwide.

Similar actions are taking place in other countries. Recall how an unknown person tried to disrupt, by shouting pro-Kremlin slogans, the speech the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at the Institute of Europe at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). Russian security services behave in the Baltic States pretty cheeky. I’m not talking about the many Kremlin “trolls”; mudslinging authors of different articles other than Putin’s propaganda.

And it refers only to ordinary propagandists, not professional spies, who also turn out to be numerous. Take for example the scandal exposing the ten Russian agents in 2010, the year or winter spy scandal in New York. But it pales in comparison to recently published data on the bribery of politicians and Putin’s secret service in the European Parliament and the parliaments of some European countries.

So, summarizing the above, the question arises: why in this case has the United States or Europe not built up arms and seized foreign territory under the pretext of protection from the invisible but tangible pressure from Moscow? Why has it happened that Russia has turned out to be so “sensitive” to the much milder manifestations of “soft power”?

In my opinion, the answer here lies in the phenomenon of the perception of bias. The fundamental difference between the United States from Russia is that the United States government does not to get involved in the foreign opposition – real or imaginary – of ordinary people, in other words, does not solve their problems at the expense of society. In normal countries the state’s task is to ensure a calm and peaceful life for its citizens, even if in some moments it would be advantageous to resort to the help of citizens, violating peace. However, the Americans are willing to take risks and to allow the Russian agents of influence to openly promote their views, but do not allow aggression and “witch hunt” into its society.

Just imagine what would happen if US media broadcast, local pro-Russian propaganda coming out in protest with banners DNR “is a foreign agent”, “it is financed by Russia”, “they are traitors, and a fifth column” “Ten friends of terrorists” and all the like. Imagine if all of these revelations were accompanied by the angry complaints about the fact that these “enemies and traitors” act with impunity, because they not formally violate the law. To what hatred of the Russians came from the Americans in this case?

However, the Americans have not fallen so far as to begin to poison the people, borrowing the rhetoric of Kremlin’s “Goebbels-TV.” For centuries, developed in the United States, the balance between private and public has been too expensive for the American nation, to put it in jeopardy because of a few strange people with no less bizarre posters. And in that respect – and to their own people – and to the “enemy” this is a special honour.

The situation is different in Russia, where people have always been used, not as an end in itself, but as a tool that is easy for the state to sacrifice their interests. “Cannon fodder”, “consumable” – the attitude of the Russian authorities to their own people has led to the extraordinary aggression in Russian society.

The authorities feared the “Bolotnaya” protests in 2012, and incited one side of the people against the other. The Russian government is frightened by the repetition in Russia of a Ukrainian Maidan, and incited the Russians against the brotherly Ukrainian people. Afraid of American influence the Russian government threw society into the abyss of militant chauvinism. One need only recall the recently published, in social networks, “manual for informers”, which in plain text said: “It is foolish to rely on the intelligence services in this situation. The special services should be the whole of Russia. ”

This mobilization of society might at some stage be profitable, but it has one very significant drawback in a country that has nothing to defend. There is no society – one big “secret service”. There is no peace and no quiet people, instead there is one big war. No stability – only economic collapse and calls “to survive under the pressure of the enemy.” No joy and friendship – only aggression and hatred. There is no truth, no freedom, no human happiness, because “consumables” cannot be happy, and should not. And this means that such a country has no future.

By Ksenia Kirillova
Translated by Steve Doyle

A London court has openly said that the murder of Litvinenko was personally ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian propaganda, meanwhile, continues to stubbornly stand on its own, broadcasting in various ways, two mutual theses: “It’s not us” and “we just defended.”

However, the Russian authorities, and after them, the media, have, for several years, successfully proven to townsfolk that any meanness and crime are justified by the unprecedented state of “external threat”. It turns out that the United States is to blame for all that today makes Russia an “organized” orange revolution” at the Russian border, supporting and continuing to support the opposition, cultivate a” fifth column “, lobby their interests in Russia” and so on.

As the hysteria on this subject in Russian society, not only does not subside, but is also gaining momentum, let’s try to understand one of the most common propaganda theses “The US organized Maidan in Ukraine.”

First, it is worth saying that the statement that the United States doesn’t support anyone and will never support anyone, is untrue. World reality is that there are no Saints – every country supports movements in other countries that are close to them, but does not go with the defined framework and rules. Revolution will also occur where there are strong and appropriate sentiments in society. Without them it is impossible to organize a revolution from outside that particular country. For this reason pro-Kosovo rallies in Serbia in 2013 could not develop into a revolution, as well as opposition rallies in Belarus in 2011 which did not lead to the victory of the “Revolution through social networks” not only because of the repressive machine of Lukashenko, but also because, his popularity was really high among the people.

In short, the revolution can be supported, but not organized, and both Russia and its opponents are doing it well. The “Winner” is the one whose interests most correspond to the real aspirations of the people of a country, that’s all. “Blood” is a revolution that happens when the dictator, against the will of the people, usurped power and does not want to leave. Unfortunately, practice shows that dictators do not really go without a lot of blood.

Thus, it is no secret that the United States at the diplomatic level supported the Maidan in Ukraine, but not to organize or hold it they simply would not do. Ukrainians took to the Maidan, because corruption and gangster lawlessness under the regime of Yanukovych rolled over, and to top it all, he sharply and severely ruined the dream of the majority of Ukrainians, which he himself had previously entertained. Add to that the brutal crackdown on students’ rally; it becomes clear why the Ukrainian revolutionaries were set up so strongly.

Some advocates go further and argue that the very mentality of Ukrainians was also a product of the influence of the United States. In a sense, this is true: the value of life and human dignity, the desire to live by the law and not by the bandit concept of law, protest against corruption, the corruption of judges and officials, and the arbitrariness of the siloviki, the value of freedom as such are all indicators of Western, and not Soviet mentality. It is clear that the mentality was formed over decades, and there are some absolutely legitimate means of broadcasting values through culture and education.

CCt2iZFWEAMhIxy

On the other hand, is the mood of the inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine not a product of Russian influence? The only difference being that in their “wards” Russian political technologists produced no values, but fears, moreover, false fears. Do not forget the fact that the flag and the symbols of the DNR arose long before the Maidan and that throughout Eastern Ukraine Cossacks and other groups acted, distributing books about “Ukrainian fascism” and in this manner acted Russian propaganda. If we talk about the clash of the two poles of influence on the public mood – Russian and American – it cannot be denied that the US was at least more honest, because it aired universal values, not invented fears.

The next argument is that Russian propaganda has, for several years, fanned the fear of “foreign agents.” Many subjects of propaganda films have intended to illustrate the central idea of the Kremlin – “financed by the US, Russian NGOs currently allow too much.”

If you understand the issue, it appears that this is a blatant lie, or we will have to admit that financed by Russia, NGOs can afford in the US and Europe much more than “too much”. For example, in America there are a variety of affiliated Russian NGOs formally aimed at improving Russian-American relations, that is, in fact, the NGOs, which in Russia would be called foreign agents. However, these organizations exist in the United States quite easily, and there is no pressure against them.

The members of these NGOs are very active. Their members come to the US-Ukrainian conferences at local universities, behave defiantly, organize provocations actively debated with the speakers and even publicly called them liars. Members of these organizations are trying to disrupt any pro-Ukrainian activities, including marches, and are making alternative actions, including in support of the pro-Russian militants, in short aggressively and openly spreading Russian propaganda worldwide.

Similar actions are taking place in other countries. Recall how an unknown person tried to disrupt, by shouting pro-Kremlin slogans, the speech the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at the Institute of Europe at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). Russian security services behave in the Baltic States pretty cheeky. I’m not talking about the many Kremlin “trolls”; mudslinging authors of different articles other than Putin’s propaganda.

And it refers only to ordinary propagandists, not professional spies, who also turn out to be numerous. Take for example the scandal exposing the ten Russian agents in 2010, the year or winter spy scandal in New York. But it pales in comparison to recently published data on the bribery of politicians and Putin’s secret service in the European Parliament and the parliaments of some European countries.

So, summarizing the above, the question arises: why in this case has the United States or Europe not built up arms and seized foreign territory under the pretext of protection from the invisible but tangible pressure from Moscow? Why has it happened that Russia has turned out to be so “sensitive” to the much milder manifestations of “soft power”?

In my opinion, the answer here lies in the phenomenon of the perception of bias. The fundamental difference between the United States from Russia is that the United States government does not to get involved in the foreign opposition – real or imaginary – of ordinary people, in other words, does not solve their problems at the expense of society. In normal countries the state’s task is to ensure a calm and peaceful life for its citizens, even if in some moments it would be advantageous to resort to the help of citizens, violating peace. However, the Americans are willing to take risks and to allow the Russian agents of influence to openly promote their views, but do not allow aggression and “witch hunt” into its society.

Just imagine what would happen if US media broadcast, local pro-Russian propaganda coming out in protest with banners DNR “is a foreign agent”, “it is financed by Russia”, “they are traitors, and a fifth column” “Ten friends of terrorists” and all the like. Imagine if all of these revelations were accompanied by the angry complaints about the fact that these “enemies and traitors” act with impunity, because they not formally violate the law. To what hatred of the Russians came from the Americans in this case?

However, the Americans have not fallen so far as to begin to poison the people, borrowing the rhetoric of Kremlin’s “Goebbels-TV.” For centuries, developed in the United States, the balance between private and public has been too expensive for the American nation, to put it in jeopardy because of a few strange people with no less bizarre posters. And in that respect – and to their own people – and to the “enemy” this is a special honour.

The situation is different in Russia, where people have always been used, not as an end in itself, but as a tool that is easy for the state to sacrifice their interests. “Cannon fodder”, “consumable” – the attitude of the Russian authorities to their own people has led to the extraordinary aggression in Russian society.

The authorities feared the “Bolotnaya” protests in 2012, and incited one side of the people against the other. The Russian government is frightened by the repetition in Russia of a Ukrainian Maidan, and incited the Russians against the brotherly Ukrainian people. Afraid of American influence the Russian government threw society into the abyss of militant chauvinism. One need only recall the recently published, in social networks, “manual for informers”, which in plain text said: “It is foolish to rely on the intelligence services in this situation. The special services should be the whole of Russia. ”

This mobilization of society might at some stage be profitable, but it has one very significant drawback in a country that has nothing to defend. There is no society – one big “secret service”. There is no peace and no quiet people, instead there is one big war. No stability – only economic collapse and calls “to survive under the pressure of the enemy.” No joy and friendship – only aggression and hatred. There is no truth, no freedom, no human happiness, because “consumables” cannot be happy, and should not. And this means that such a country has no future.

By Ksenia Kirillova
Translated by Steve Doyle

Free Russia Foundation’s Press Release on Submission of Article 15 Communication to the International Criminal Court

Oct 06 2020

On 21 September 2020, the Free Russia Foundation submitted a Communication to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Office (in The Hague, Netherlands) seeking accountability for Crimean and Russian authorities concerning international crimes perpetrated during Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea. The Communication was prepared in cooperation with Global Rights Compliance and Center for Civil Liberties and is based on a focused inquiry conducted over the past year. In our inquiry, we documented crimes as part of a systematic, planned attack by the Russian state against civilians and groups in Crimea in order to discourage them from opposing the illegal occupation of Crimea and to force their departure from the peninsula. Crimes against civilians included unlawful arrests, beatings, torture, enforced disappearances, and other inhumane acts causing severe mental and/or physical pain. In particular, the crimes targeted the Crimean Tatars, a native ethnic group who had only recently returned to their homeland, having previously been forcefully and brutally displaced by the Soviet Union in 1944.

One of the principal coercive acts was the illegal detention and concomitant violence before, during, and after the imprisonment of political prisoners. Most of those detained were arrested by Russian and Crimean authorities on terrorism charges, but it was their legal, pro-Ukrainian advocacy that led to their imprisonment. In addition, trials of those arbitrarily detained were conducted in wholesale disregard of their fair trial rights. For example, some of those illegally imprisoned were denied a speedy trial, access to independent lawyers, and the opportunity to defend themselves against their arrest in a courtroom.

In order to force those illegally detained to confess to crimes they did not commit, Russian and Crimean authorities also perpetrated acts of torture and cruel or degrading treatment, the levying of additional charges against them, even more inhumane prison conditions, denial of communications with their families and threats made against them, enforced disappearances, and even, in at least one case, a mock execution.

Other inhumane acts include “punitive psychiatry” and the denial of adequate prison conditions, including the following: (i) feeding people inedible food or, at times, no food at all; (ii) facing severe overcrowding in prisons; (iii) denial of regular water supply; (iv) threats of assault against them by prison cellmates; and (v) adding pork to food – prohibited for observant Muslims. Further, medical attention was systematically inadequate or denied for many individuals.

Concerning acts of torture, it was perpetrated by different Russian authorities, including the FSB. Allegations include the use of electric shocks in an effort to get an accused to confess. One was beaten in the head, kidneys, arms and legs with an iron pipe. With another, fingers were broken. Still another endured spinal bruises and having a plastic bag placed over his head to the point of unconsciousness. Further, threats of sexual violence against a detained man were made. Murder as well. Hands were broken, teeth were knocked out in still another.

Trials were largely held behind closed doors for illegitimate reasons, and many of the witnesses were secret not only to the public but also to the Accused. Further, credible allegations exist that, at times, there were FSB or other agents in the room, silently instructing witnesses what to say and how the judges should rule. This adds credence to words, according to the Kyiv Post, heard by Arsen Dzhepparov from a senior FSB lieutenant who stated “I will prove by all possible – and impossible – means that [an Accused is] guilty – even if he isn’t guilty”.

Concerning the crime of persecution, nearly all of these deprivations of fundamental rights were carried out with discriminatory intent. Specifically, these groups were targeted due to their political view – namely, by peacefully opposing the illegal occupation of their country. Some were targeted on ethnic grounds or religious grounds on the basis of their Crimean Tatar background.

War crimes, another group of crimes punished at the ICC, were also perpetrated in addition to or in the alternative to the crimes against humanity. This includes the crime of torture, outrages against personal dignity, unlawful confinement, wilfully depriving protected persons of the rights of a fair and regular trial, and the transfer of the occupying power of parts of its population into the territory it occupies or the deportation of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory.

All these crimes had the ultimate objective of the criminal enterprise – the removal of pro-Ukrainian elements out of Crimea and the annexation of Crimea into the Russian Federation without opposition, including the installation of pro-Russian elements, which include the emigration of more than 70,000 Russians, the illegal imposition of Russian law in the occupied territory, forcing Russian nationality on many Crimeans, and the appropriation of public property.

Ultimately, we hope that all the information gathered by the ICC in the context of its preliminary investigation will lead the ICC to investigate mid- to high-level Russian and Crimean officials on this basis. The international community expects responsible global leadership that follows the rule of law and expects it – no matter the situation – to be respected, especially from a state that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. When this fails to happen, the international community must demand accountability. We hope that an investigation can be opened and responsible officials of the Russian Federation will be investigated. After an investigation that conforms to international best practices, responsible persons should be charged with the systematic perpetration of international crimes.

Novichok Use Implicates Putin’s Government in Navalny’s Poisoning

Sep 02 2020

Today, the German government has announced that Russian pro-democracy leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned by Novichok. Novichok is a deadly nerve agent developed by the Soviet government chemical weapons program and used on several occasions by the Russian government to kill its critics in the recent years.

To restate the obvious, Novichok is a poison that can only be accessed with the authority of the Kremlin. Therefore, today’s announcement by German officials  directly implicates the Kremlin and Putin in the high-profile assassination attempt on Navalny.

The choice of Novichok was not just a means  to silence Mr. Navalny, but a loud, brazen and menacing message sent by Putin to the world: dare to criticize me, and you may lose your life.

The announcement by the German government of its intent to formally notify the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (‘OPCW’) of the use of Novichok against Navalny is a meek bureaucratic half-measure that fails to acknowledge the extraordinary threat to human life posed by Putin’s regime everywhere. Taken together with Angela Merkel’s promise earlier this week to help Putin finish his Nord Stream 2 pipeline despite an international outcry amounts to condoning the poisoning and normalizing it into a new modus operandi where Putin’s murders go unpunished. Free Russia Foundation urges the leaders of the EU, its Member States and the U.S. Government to take an urgent and drastic action to punish the perpetrators of this heinous crime not only to serve justice, but to establish a powerful deterrent against new attacks by Putin’s regime globally.

Free Russia Foundation Statement on Kremlin’s Interference in Elections in Georgia

Aug 26 2020

We are deeply concerned with information recently distributed by the well-respected authoritative source Center “Dossier.” According to “Dossier,” the Kremlin is using Russian political expert Sergey Mikheev and consulting company “Politsecrets” to manipulate Georgian society, distribute disinformation and anti-democratic narratives, undermine Georgia’s Western aspirations, and interfere in free and fair elections in Georgia scheduled for October 2020.

More

Free Russia Foundation Calls for Investigation into Alexey Navalny’s Poisoning

Aug 20 2020

Free Russia Foundation is gravely concerned about the life and safety of Alexey Navalny. More

Civic Solidarity Platform Appeal with Regard to the Recent Events in Belarus

Aug 12 2020

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD REACT IMMEDIATELY AND STRONGLY TO RIGGED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS AND MASSIVE VIOLENCE OF SECURITY FORCES AGAINST PEACEFUL PROTESTORS IN BELARUS More