Free Russia Foundation Launches #NoToWar Campaign

No justice for Srebrenica. Russia vetoed the genocide resolution

Jul 10 2015

Russia vetoed the UN resolution calling to recognize Srebrenica massacre as a genocide.

Between July 11 and July 13 of 1995, Europe witnessed a horrific event in its Balkans region, the worst since the Second World War.

It happened in a pretty little town called Srebrenica, in the eastern part of what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska (Serb Republic). As war raged all around Bosnia and what was once socialist Yugoslavia, United Nations troops declared Srebrenica, then held by Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) troops, a “safe area” in April 1993.

Two years later, Bosnian Serb nationalist troops under the control of General Ratko Mladic overran the town. And that July, some eight thousand Bosniak men and boys were massacred by the Serb troops.

This event, which will be commemorated in Bosnia on the 11th of July, is known as the Srebrenica Massacre or Srebrenica Genocide. Dozens of recently identified victims will be remembered and buried at the memorial to the genocide.

What happened in Srebrenica in the summer of 1995 has been widely referred to as a genocidal act by both national governments and international organizations as the Bosnian Serbs committing the massacre were Orthodox Christian and the Bosniak victims were Muslims. However, not everyone agrees that the atrocities qualify as genocide.

Russia, as a member of the United Nations Security Council, has vetoed a resolution calling the events at Srebrenica a genocide, angering many across Europe.

Genocide naming has unfortunately become a politicized and subjective squabble in many places even when evidence points to genocide being committed. The United States has quietly not recognized the Armenian Genocide due to the fear that recognition will hurt the important relationship with Turkey, as does Israel. Even though France recognizes the Rwandan Genocide, Paris has waffled on its own role in the genocide.

And Russia refuses to acknowledge that Srebrenica (and the Holodomor) was a genocidal act.

The reasons for this are numerous. Russia has historically enjoyed close ties with Serbia. The two countries are predominantly Orthodox Christian. The Cyrillic alphabet is used in both Serbian and Russian. The countries share the same national colors and both use the Orthodox two-headed eagle as a national symbol.

Serbia is a divided country. While many Serbians believe their country should become a member of the European Union, others, particularly Serb nationalists, believe Serbia should look to its more traditional allies, namely, Russia. Serbian nationalism championed by Slobodan Milosevic was one of many catalysts that drove the Balkans into the hell of the Yugoslav Wars in the early 1990s. Yet a Serbian with nationalist credentials ousted Milosevic from power in 2000, when he lost the 2000 General Election to Vojislav Kostunica.

Another argument stems from numbers. The massacre at Srebrenica killed some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys. By comparison, somewhere between half a million and 1.5 million Armenians perished in the Armenian Genocide, and six million Jews met their death in the Holocaust. Some argue that the massacre in Srebrenica was not big enough to be considered a genocide, merely an atrocity of war. Yet the definition of genocide only vaguely considers size

Though international organizations claim that Serbia herself was not responsible for the massacre at Srebrenica, it did assert that Serbia did not do enough to prevent the atrocities from happening.

This is not to say Serbians outright deny what happened at Srebrenica. President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic have both admitted and apologized for the massacre, and Vucic plans to attend the commemoration in Srebrenica on July 11. Yet neither consider what happened at Srebrenica a genocide, and Russia’s recent decision to veto the UN resolution was looked upon favorably in Serbia.

It’s important to remember that Serbia and her nationalist forces were far from the only forces responsible for atrocities during the Yugoslav Wars. Croatian nationalists committed numerous atrocities, matching their Serb counterparts tit-for-tat in vileness. Once Bosnia entered the fold, the multi-ethnic country was torn apart by Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks alike. The Yugoslav Wars made the lives of Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs hell-only the Slovenes and Macedonians managed to get out relatively unscathed as they did not possess ethnic minorities of interest to Croatia, Serbia, or Bosnia.

Russia walks an odd line when it comes to genocide. The Holocaust is remembered as a genocide in Russia, and the Armenian Genocide is also recognized in Russia, and has been since 1995. Yet the Holodomor and Srebrenica do not make the cut in the Kremlin.

The Kremlin’s decision to veto this UN resolution is not a prudent decision. Srebrenica has been analyzed by international organizations at the Hague as well as at the United Nations, and the evidence does point to deliberate slaughter by the Bosnian Serbs. Refusing to call it genocide only allows the embers of nationalism to continue to burn in a region of the world where nationalism still divides and keeps progress from happening-especially in Bosnia, which has been effectively stuck in neutral since the Dayton Accords. It may be a hard pill to swallow for the Serbians, but it will be an issue that will allow the countries to progress to other issues if it is resolved sooner than later.

By Kyle Menyhert

It happened in a pretty little town called Srebrenica, in the eastern part of what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska (Serb Republic). As war raged all around Bosnia and what was once socialist Yugoslavia, United Nations troops declared Srebrenica, then held by Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) troops, a “safe area” in April 1993.

Two years later, Bosnian Serb nationalist troops under the control of General Ratko Mladic overran the town. And that July, some eight thousand Bosniak men and boys were massacred by the Serb troops.

This event, which will be commemorated in Bosnia on the 11th of July, is known as the Srebrenica Massacre or Srebrenica Genocide. Dozens of recently identified victims will be remembered and buried at the memorial to the genocide.

What happened in Srebrenica in the summer of 1995 has been widely referred to as a genocidal act by both national governments and international organizations as the Bosnian Serbs committing the massacre were Orthodox Christian and the Bosniak victims were Muslims. However, not everyone agrees that the atrocities qualify as genocide.

Russia, as a member of the United Nations Security Council, has vetoed a resolution calling the events at Srebrenica a genocide, angering many across Europe.

Genocide naming has unfortunately become a politicized and subjective squabble in many places even when evidence points to genocide being committed. The United States has quietly not recognized the Armenian Genocide due to the fear that recognition will hurt the important relationship with Turkey, as does Israel. Even though France recognizes the Rwandan Genocide, Paris has waffled on its own role in the genocide.

And Russia refuses to acknowledge that Srebrenica (and the Holodomor) was a genocidal act.

The reasons for this are numerous. Russia has historically enjoyed close ties with Serbia. The two countries are predominantly Orthodox Christian. The Cyrillic alphabet is used in both Serbian and Russian. The countries share the same national colors and both use the Orthodox two-headed eagle as a national symbol.

Serbia is a divided country. While many Serbians believe their country should become a member of the European Union, others, particularly Serb nationalists, believe Serbia should look to its more traditional allies, namely, Russia. Serbian nationalism championed by Slobodan Milosevic was one of many catalysts that drove the Balkans into the hell of the Yugoslav Wars in the early 1990s. Yet a Serbian with nationalist credentials ousted Milosevic from power in 2000, when he lost the 2000 General Election to Vojislav Kostunica.

Another argument stems from numbers. The massacre at Srebrenica killed some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys. By comparison, somewhere between half a million and 1.5 million Armenians perished in the Armenian Genocide, and six million Jews met their death in the Holocaust. Some argue that the massacre in Srebrenica was not big enough to be considered a genocide, merely an atrocity of war. Yet the definition of genocide only vaguely considers size

Though international organizations claim that Serbia herself was not responsible for the massacre at Srebrenica, it did assert that Serbia did not do enough to prevent the atrocities from happening.

This is not to say Serbians outright deny what happened at Srebrenica. President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic have both admitted and apologized for the massacre, and Vucic plans to attend the commemoration in Srebrenica on July 11. Yet neither consider what happened at Srebrenica a genocide, and Russia’s recent decision to veto the UN resolution was looked upon favorably in Serbia.

It’s important to remember that Serbia and her nationalist forces were far from the only forces responsible for atrocities during the Yugoslav Wars. Croatian nationalists committed numerous atrocities, matching their Serb counterparts tit-for-tat in vileness. Once Bosnia entered the fold, the multi-ethnic country was torn apart by Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks alike. The Yugoslav Wars made the lives of Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs hell-only the Slovenes and Macedonians managed to get out relatively unscathed as they did not possess ethnic minorities of interest to Croatia, Serbia, or Bosnia.

Russia walks an odd line when it comes to genocide. The Holocaust is remembered as a genocide in Russia, and the Armenian Genocide is also recognized in Russia, and has been since 1995. Yet the Holodomor and Srebrenica do not make the cut in the Kremlin.

The Kremlin’s decision to veto this UN resolution is not a prudent decision. Srebrenica has been analyzed by international organizations at the Hague as well as at the United Nations, and the evidence does point to deliberate slaughter by the Bosnian Serbs. Refusing to call it genocide only allows the embers of nationalism to continue to burn in a region of the world where nationalism still divides and keeps progress from happening-especially in Bosnia, which has been effectively stuck in neutral since the Dayton Accords. It may be a hard pill to swallow for the Serbians, but it will be an issue that will allow the countries to progress to other issues if it is resolved sooner than later.

By Kyle Menyhert

Free Russia Foundation Condemns the Kremlin’s Decision to Annex the Occupied Territories of Ukraine and Preparations for Mobilization in Russia

Sep 20 2022

On September 20, 2022, the occupation authorities of the self-proclaimed republics “LNR” and “DNR” and other occupied territories of Ukraine, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, hastily announced that they would hold “referendums on joining Russia” in the near future. The authorities of the “LNR” and “DNR” added that the vote will take place as early as this week, from September 23 to 27, 2022.

On the same day, the Russian State Duma introduced the concepts of “mobilization,” “martial law” and “wartime” into the Russian Criminal Code. The deputies voted for the law in the third reading unanimously — all 389 of them. Now voluntary surrender, looting and unauthorized abandonment of a unit during combat operations will result in imprisonment.

From the first day of the war unleashed by Putin’s regime and its allies against independent Ukraine, Free Russia Foundation, which supports Russian activists, journalists, and human rights activists forced to leave the country because of direct security threats, has condemned the crimes of Putin’s regime against independent Ukraine. We respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states and consider human life and freedom to be of the highest value.

The forthcoming “referendums”, mobilization, and martial law are a collapse of the whole system of “Putin’s stability,” the illusion of which the Kremlin has been trying to maintain since the beginning of the full-scale war with Ukraine. Vladimir Putin is preparing to blatantly violate international law once again and launch an attack on democracy and freedom in Ukraine and Europe. Any statements by the Kremlin that residents of the occupied territories of Ukraine want to become part of Russia are false.

Three decades ago, the Ukrainian people proclaimed the independence of their state. Since 2014, the world has seen that Vladimir Putin has undermined Ukraine’s sovereignty and any attempts at anti-war protest in Russia through military force, repressive legislation, false statements, and massive state propaganda. Despite all the suffering inflicted on Ukraine, Putin has failed to achieve this goal: Ukrainians continue to show fortitude and determination to defend their country at any cost, and Russian anti-war resistance continues despite repression.

We consider any attempts to tear away Ukrainian territory through so-called “referendums” categorically unacceptable and call on state institutions and international human rights organizations to join the demand for an immediate end to the war and the liberation of the occupied territories. Any war brings suffering to humanity and endangers peace. We will not allow a totalitarian dictatorship to prevail and we will continue to fight for Ukraine’s independence and Russia’s democratic future.

Free Russia Foundation announces the appointment of Vladimir Milov as Vice President for International Advocacy

Sep 01 2022

September 1, 2022. Washington, DC. Free Russia Foundation announces the appointment of Russian politician, publicist, economist, and energy expert Vladimir Milov as FRF Vice President for International Advocacy.

In her announcement of Vladimir’s new role, Natalia Arno, President of Free Russia Foundation, remarked: “I am delighted to welcome this distinguished Russian civil society leader to our team. I am certain that Vladimir will become our force multiplier and make a profound contribution to FRF’s mission, including strengthening civil society in Russia, standing up for democracy defenders who oppose war, both inside and outside the country, building coalitions and mobilizing supporters. Vladimir Milov’s professional skills and extensive experience in human rights advocacy will help us come up with effective and innovative approaches to combat the authoritarian regime and repression that the current Russian government has unleashed against citizens of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.”

Vladimir Milov was born on June 18, 1972. From 1997—2002 he worked in government agencies, more than 4 years of which were in senior positions, from assistant to the Chairman of the Federal Energy Commission to the Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia.

Vladimir Milov has bravely and publicly called out the authorities for monopolizing the economy, and encroaching into public and political life of Russian citizens. Milov’s profile as an opposition leader rose thanks to his joint project with Boris Nemtsov. The report titled “Putin. Results,” condemned the activities of the Russian government during Putin’s presidency. In 2010, Mr. Milov headed the Democratic Choice movement, which later served as the basis for the creation of a political party with the same name.

In 2016, Mr. Milov became an associate of the unregistered presidential candidate Alexei Navalny. On May 11, 2017, he began hosting a weekly segment on the economy, “Where’s the Money?” on the NavalnyLIVE broadcast on YouTube.

In April of 2021, he left Russia for Lithuania amidst persecution of Alexei Navalny’s organizations. In February of 2022, he categorically condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On May 6, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice added Vladimir Milov to the list of media outlets considered as “foreign agents.” Vladimir Milov is a regular guest expert for the world’s leading media outlets — CNN, CNBC, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal.

Kara-Murza faces a new charge as the Kremlin cracks down on its opponents

Aug 04 2022

Russian pro-democracy politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who’s been in jail since April for allegedly spreading “disinformation” about the Russian military, now also stands accused of “carrying out the activities of an undesirable organization,” which names Free Russia Foundation in the newly filed charge.

Free Russia Foundation, unconstitutionally designated as an “undesirable” organization by the Russian government in June 2019, did not organize an event on political prisoners in Moscow in 2021. FRF does not have any presence or programs inside Russia. Additionally, FRF has never conducted any work in the State of Arizona.

FRF strongly condemns the new charges brought against Vladimir Kara-Murza by Russian authorities and demands the dropping of all charges against him and calls for his immediate release.

“All actions of the Kremlin directed against Russian opposition politicians and activists have nothing in common with establishing the truth. They are instead aimed solely at getting rid of opponents of Putin’s regime,” FRF President Arno stated.

Free Russian Foundation and Boris Nemtsov Foundation launch “Russians for Change” fundraising campaign

Jul 25 2022

Russia is not Putin. We are Russia.

We aim at sharing this message with our friends around the world — therefore, in cooperation with Boris Nemtsov Foundation we are launching “Russians for Change” fundraising campaign.

We are going to be telling the stories of active pro-democracy anti-war Russians who have not lost their hope. US nationals also participate in this campaign: Francis Fukuyama, investigative journalist Casey Michel, and alumni of Boris Nemtsov Foundation media school.

Thank you for your donation:

The Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom honors the political legacy of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian liberal opposition politician assassinated in Moscow in 2015. It promotes freedom of speech and education along with the vision that Russia is a part of Europe.

Free Russia Foundation is starting to document cases of abduction by the Russian army of Ukrainians for the International Criminal Court

Jul 13 2022

In the temporarily occupied territories of the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, in addition to the killing of civilians and horrific destructions carried out by the Russian army: a severe violation of the norms of international law in the form of abduction of Ukrainians into the territory of Russia has been taking place.

Prior to being interned, Ukrainians are placed in so-called “filtration camps” where they are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.

All these actions violate the Hague Conventions and constitute an international crime.

We plan to collect information about such abduction cases, put it in written pleadings, and submit them to the International Criminal Court.

If you have been subject to abduction (internment), please, fill in the form via the link.