The request to stop criminal prosecutions for non-violent actions, to release political prisoners!
Open letter to the President of the Russian Federation on the eve ofthe Putin-Biden summit in Geneva on June 16
June 10, 202
To the President of the Russian Federation
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!
Just now, on May 21 this year, the 100th anniversary of Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was celebrated in Russia and in the world. Your and the President of the United States Joseph Biden greetings on this occasion have become significant events of these days.
The main legacy of A.D. Sakharov, reflected in the title of his Nobel Lecture “Peace, Progress, Human Rights”, is the thesis of the inextricable link between international security and the observance of human rights. I express the hope that this classic thesis will not be forgotten at your and the US President’s forthcoming summit in Geneva.
Speaking on May 27, 1989 at the First Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR, criticizing the amendments adopted in April 1989 to the USSR Law “On Criminal Responsibility for State Crimes”, including imprisonment for “Insulting or discrediting state bodies (…) or officials”, A.D. Sakharov recalled the fundamental internationally recognized principle: “the actions related to beliefs, if they are not associated with violence and incitement to violence, can not be subject to criminal prosecution.”
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, freedom of opinion, including the freedom to criticize ruling bosses, is an essential component of the state’s immune system, ensuring its stable existence and development.
I ask you, as a guarantor of the observance of the rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation, to give instructions on a decisive revision of the current practice of criminal prosecutions for political opposition and for criticism of the authorities, including persecutions for participation in unauthorized peaceful rallies. And I ask you to initiate the process of the release of political prisoners and other victims of political repression (the list is in the Human Rights center “Memorial”).
I also ask you, taking into account your special relations with the leadership of the Republic of Belarus, to do everything in your power to end the cruel political repressions in this neighboring country, friendly to Russia.
From the speeches of A.D. Sakharov in 1989, in the last year of his life, one can see how clearly he understood the catastrophic nature of the repressive approach, proposing concrete measures to overcome such destructive phenomena as monopoly in politics, monopoly in the economy, lack of control of the law enforcement agencies, lack of effective local governments. All this is still relevant today in Russia. A selection of these of his speeches is given in the epilogue of my book “Sakharov and the Power: “On the Other Side of the Window”. Lessons for the Present and for the Future”.
As the Head of the “Right of the Child” NGO I am obliged to emphasize that the lack of effective judicial and prosecutorial supervision over the legality of the investigation gives rise to sadism, the victims of which are also minors who have fallen under the rink of the law enforcement system. Also, the grave, in fact extreme, problems of poverty and housing for millions of Russian families with children cannot be resolved in conditions of suppression of criticism of the executive authorities and pathological, cynical inaction in this area of the irremovable for years legislative branch – State Duma.
Once again, I ask you to do everything possible to stop criminal prosecutions for non-violent actions in our country and in the fraternal Republic of Belarus.
member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Chairman of the Board of the “Right of the Child” NGO, Senior Researcher in the Department of Theoretical Physics of the P.N. Lebedev Physics Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences.