May 3, 2013
American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights, together with independent Russian-American community activists and organizers, calls upon all our friends and supporters to join the actions of solidarity with Russia’s citizens jailed by its government on political grounds, including those currently persecuted for their participation in the Moscow rally for fair elections and democratic change on May 6, 2012. We encourage you to join us, our friends and allies at the following events:
- Saturday May 4, in New York City, at 14 Union Square and East 17tn Street, at 12 pm
- Sunday May 5, in San Francisco, at 2790 Green Street, at 1 pm
- Monday May 6, in Seattle, at 600 Union Street, at 3 pm
- Monday May 6, in Washington DC, at 2650 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest, at 6 pm
We call upon the Russian government to release all those imprisoned on political grounds now, as well as end politically motivated prosecution of its opponents. We also welcome the provisions in the immigration bill currently in the US Senate that make all those involved in gross violations of human rights and other inhumane acts inadmissible for entry to the United States. We call upon the U.S. Congress to enact these provisions. We urge our supporters around the country to write to their representatives in Congress asking them to make these provisions into law.
April 20, 2013
As members of Russian/Russian-speaking communities of America and on behalf of our respective organizations, we are united with the people of Boston and all our country in the mourning and profound sadness over the deaths and injuries incurred by the barbaric acts of terror and violence of the past week. We extend our condolences from the depth of our hearts to the families and friends of the victims. And we share the feelings of relief and overwhelming joy over the final apprehension of the surviving suspect. Boston Police, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies as well as local residents involved in making this happen have shown their heroism and professionalism under unprecedented circumstances, and we are deeply grateful to them.
For many decent, law-abiding and hard-working Russian-Americans of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, this is particularly tragic, given that the suspects in this unfathomable crime against our country and its people hail from Russia’s North Caucasus. Many of our friends and relatives in Russia know full well the suffering and trauma caused by similar acts of terror. We reject the attempts to link criminal actions or intent with any nationality, religion, or immigrant status. We believe that the ideology that justifies violence (whether in the name of Islamic or any other religion or otherwise) has no place in America or any other civilized country. We are fully supportive of every lawful measure and international collaboration among all the parties involved to combat the dangers of extremist beliefs and prevent the horrors of such attacks as we just experienced from ever happening again.
Leaders and supporters of:
American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights (ARA)
International Association of Former Soviet Political Prisoners (IASPP)
Russian-Speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx (RCCMB) -
Dmitri Daniel Glinski (New York, NY), Alexander Bolonkin (Brooklyn, NY), Sergey Semenov (Chicago, IL), Dmitriy Grishin (Columbus, OH), Julia Bikbova (Chicago, IL), Igor Kokarev (Santa Monica, CA), Irina Serova (Washington, DC), Sasha Zhdanov (Austin, TX), et al.
(To add your signature, please write to email@example.com with your name and location)
We urge our friends and supporters to donate to The One Fund Boston, formed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino to help the people most affected by these events.
On April 12, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the public list of Russian nationals sanctioned under Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012. Below are some of the comments and reactions of members of ARA community:
“As a participant of the campaign for the Magnitsky Act, I share the feelings expressed by many, including a number of Russian democrats and members of U.S. Congress: the published list of persons sanctioned under the Act is better than nothing but rather unimpressive. If its purpose is to change the behavior of the Russian officialdom, its impact is likely to be negligible. But the decision made by the Administration in this regard reflects the underlying realities, including the weakness of the movement for change inside Russia and of its supporters among Russian-American voters. Neither have been able to organize themselves and thus make a compelling case to the Administration and American society on why a more resolute implementation of the Magnitsky Act would be in the U.S. national interest and worth the risk of antagonizing its present government. It would be irrational for us here and counterproductive for the opposition in Russia to expect the U.S. Government to behave differently in this situation. Instead, those who aspire to lead the movement for change in Russia should do a thorough review of its strategies and tactics. Our Association can and should be one of the platforms for this dialogue in the Russian-American community. In the meantime, we should continue to draw the attention of the U.S. government and public to the situation in Russia and do the best we can to help the people and organizations under attack.”
Dmitri Daniel Glinski, ARA co-chair of the Board (New York)
“The Obama Administration did show in fact a very symbolical support for the Magnitsky Act, literally neutralizing the work of all the Senators and Congressmen who worked on this Act to punish Russian criminals involved in the violent death of Sergei Magnitsky. Unfortunately, the list of only 18 officials out of 280 gives a green light to Russian corrupted officials to continue suppressing law and freedom in Russia. It looks like President Obama has chosen not to support the ideals of freedom and justice the way the U.S. did many years before, when it helped other nations to establish democracy and freedom. It is a pity to realize that the Administration did this in order to avoid the dissatisfaction of Putin, with his dictatorial behavior. We can only wish that the U.S. Government takes a more courageous and uncompromising stance when facing dictators.”
Dmitriy Grishin, ARA-Columbus, OH
“I believe that the Obama Administration has managed to withstand the strong pressure both from Russian officials (who warned it not to publish the “Magnitsky list”) and those who sought to have an excessively large list. President Obama’s balanced line will make the Magnitsky Act work more effectively than it would have been otherwise.”
Zhanna Reid, ARA Board Member (New Paltz, NY)
This action of solidarity with Russian protesters against the ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans was organized by Natalia Pelevine, a member of ARA leadership and executive secretary of the Independent Human Rights Council, recently established in Moscow with participation of Lyudmila Alexeyeva and other key human rights defenders in Russia. / Пикет солидарности был организован Натальей Пелевиной, членом Совета АРПА и ответственным секретарем Независимого совета по правам человека, недавно образованного в Москве с участием Людмилы Алексеевой и других ведущих российских правозащитников.
Please proceed to the link on the website of the House of Representatives:
We believe there are many of us - American Russians, Russian-speaking intelligentsia – who can effectively interact and communicate across the world, who have open minds, friendly attitude, who can make their contribution, to promote the growth of democracy, rule of law and civil society in Russia. We can assist open-minded Russians with European values in their struggle for the rule of law.
What we can start with:
1.establish communication via Internet
when our volunteers would go online in the social networks, blogs, civil organizations websites etc., to provide Russians with free of propaganda and many-sided information. Needless to say Russian mass media – main TV and radio channels are being censored. There is mistrust in Russian authorities as well as mistrust in democracy values. People are disappointed and disoriented.
Main subjects to discuss:
a) anti-Americanism in Russia . After a short break (1990-s up to early 2000-s) the anti-American wave is back to Russia. Though many American patterns came into a daily life in Russia, anti-American sentiments are high among all generations and groups of society. According to the independent Levada Center all-Russia poll performed in March 2010, 73% of Russians believe the USA to be “the aggressor” , striving to take “all countries in the world under it’s control”; only 8% see the country as a“defender” of peace, democracy and order in the world”. Popular idea“:Americans are looking forward to Russia’s collapse to capture Russian natural resources, to enslave us” Unfortunately even those Russian activists who believe in the rule of law and have democratic values support this idea. We can discuss this issue, giving examples of our own lives in the US, so that they can make difference between the truth and
b) how democracy works in the countries with European values, how it works in the US, sharing our own experience. Democracy is a very important subject now, when a big mistrust in democratic values is widely in Russia.Though Russia has democratic institutions, they usually don’t function in the democratic way. We can share with them ways Americans stand for their civil rights, key factors that make democratic institutions work here in the US.
c) ways development of market economy and free competition works
d) American society experience of fight racism and xenophobia, in the fight of minorities for their rights.
2. Next step can be developing Independent online media and social network for Russian speaking people
3.Arrangement of traditional communication means such as bilateral contacts, professional or student delegations exchanges promotes more opportunities for citizens of both Russia and USA, to get better understanding of each other’s values.
AMERICAN RUSSIAN-SPEAKING ASSOCIATION FOR CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS
together with Spectrum Human Rights Alliance,
International Association of Former Soviet Political Prisoners & Victims of the Communist Regime (IASPPV),
and Russian-Speaking Community Council of Manhattan & the Bronx (RCCMB)
“RUSSIAN-AMERICANS AND RUSSIA’S MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE:
COMMUNITY ORGANIZING 2.0″
- How has the resurgence of the democratic movement in Russia impacted Russian-speaking immigrants in the US?
- What does the new wave of Russian-speaking community organizing and advocacy represent?
- What are the implications of the Russian government crackdown on dissent for the flow of refugees and asylum seekers to the US?
- How do we address the absence of philanthropic support for Russian-speaking nonprofits?
- What are our legislative and policy priorities for the new administration and the Congress?
Speakers: Dr. Alexander Bolonkin, Dr. Dmitri Glinski, Zhanna Reid, Larry Poltavtsev
Dr. Alexander Bolonkin, a rocket and aviation scientist, was in Soviet jail from 1971 to 1987 for distributing the works of Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov. After moving to the US, he worked as Senior Research Associate at NASA and U.S. Air Force. He is a member of the Board of the International Space Agency, and author of 17 patented inventions and more than 170 books, including “Human Immortality and Electronic Civilization” and “Memoirs of a Soviet Political Prisoner.” He is the founding president of IASPPV and co-chair of the board of ARA.
Dr. Dmitri Glinski, a nonprofit management professional and author of works on Russian affairs, including co-authored “Tragedy of Russia’s Reforms: Market Bolshevism Against Democracy;” worked for the US Librarian of Congress and Congressional Research Service (1998-2005), taught at Columbia (2004-2009), and is a member of UJA-Federation of NY Commission on the Jewish People. He is the founding president of RCCMB and co-chair of the board of ARA. He is currently working on his management degree at Harvard.
Zhanna Reid is a public relations and communications professional with degree from Moscow State University, is one of the founders and member of the board of ARA.
Larry Poltavtsev (joining us by Skype from Washington DC) is a successful IT entrepreneur and company owner, as well as a human rights advocate, founding president of Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, and vice chair of the board of ARA.
Friday November 9, 12:15-2:00 pm
Columbia University, Lerner Hall (2920 Broadway), Room 501
(train 1 to 116th Street, please go around the building to sign in at the front desk)
Space is limited. Please kindly RSVP by November 7 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, please call (212) 726-2082.
АМЕРИКАНСКАЯ РУССКОЯЗЫЧНАЯ ПРАВОЗАЩИТНАЯ АССОЦИАЦИЯ
совместно с Международной правозащитной организацией “Спектрум”, Международной ассоциацией бывших советских политзаключенных, а также Русскоязычным общественным советом Манхэттена и Бронкса
приглашают Вас к участию в общественном диалоге
“ДВИЖЕНИЕ ЗА ПЕРЕМЕНЫ В РОССИИ
И САМООРГАНИЗАЦИЯ РУССКОЯЗЫЧНОЙ АМЕРИКИ”
в пятницу 9 ноября в 12:15 в Колумбийском университете
(Lerner Hall – 2920 Broadway, Room 501;
обогните здание, чтобы попасть к главному входу, где будут лежать списки на проход)
Круг обсуждаемых вопросов (который Вы можете дополнить своими):
- Какое воздействие оказывают события в России на русскоязычную диаспору?
- Что собой представляет новая волна русскоязычных некоммерческих организаций и общественных деятелей?
- Какова наша программа действий, и с чем мы обращаемся к новой администрации и Конгрессу?
Для внесения в список на проход, пожалуйста, зарегистрируйтесь на этой странице или по емейлу email@example.com, указав Ваше имя и контактную информацию. Также просим указать, если Вам нужен одновременный перевод тех выступлений, которые будут на английском.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
РУССКИЙ ПЕРЕВОД СМ.НИЖЕ
Press Contact: Helen Abramova, Phone: 703-473-0299, E-mail: HelenA@amrusrights.org
New York City / Washington, DC / Chicago, IL / Columbus, OH / Kansas City, MO / Greenville, SC / Atlanta, GA / Los Angeles, CA / Seattle, WA
(Wednesday, October 31, 2012)
RUSSIAN-AMERICAN VOTERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ADDRESS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS RUNNING FOR REELECTION TO CONVEY THEIR STRONG SUPPORT FOR THE MAGNITSKY ACT
American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights with its friends and allies mark the Day of Political Prisoners with online campaign in a dozen of states
October 30 is observed by many Russians around the world as the Day of Political Prisoners. It was introduced in 1974 in Soviet labor camps by human rights advocate and author Kronid Lyubarsky and a hero of the Soviet Jewry struggle for the right to emigrate Alexey Murzhenko. In 1991, Russian parliament officially recognized it as the national Day of Remembrance of Victims of Political Repressions.
20 years later, Russia is losing, at an ever increasing speed, the last vestiges of its democratic accomplishments of the early 1990s, for which Soviet-era human rights defenders paid a heavy price. According to The Memorial Society, Russia’s most authoritative source of human rights information and research, there are currently about 80 people in jail or under prosecution for political reasons, even if official charges against some of them are of a different nature.
This situation has a negative impact on some of Russia’s neighbors, emboldening their own governments that are also increasingly persecuting their opponents. It also increases pressure for emigration from Russia, a country which is currently the 7th largest source of asylum seekers in the world. Over the past two years, the number of Russians granted asylum in the United States grew by 35 percent.
In light of this, a number of Russian-speaking community organizations have coalesced in support of the Magnitsky Act (named after Russian anti-corruption whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky who perished in 2009 in Moscow jail at the age of 37). This legislation would impose visa and financial sanctions on Russian government officials (and, in the Senate version, their counterparts in other countries) responsible for the arrest and the death of Magnitsky or for other gross violations of human rights. This bill was introduced in Congress last year by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) and recently included in the legislation that would grant Russia permanent normal trade relations with the US with the removal of the Jackson-Vanick Amendment of 1974. It currently has 40 supporters in the Senate (including 22 Republicans, 17 Democrats, and one Independent) and 82 in the House (including 42 Democrats and 40 Republicans).
On October 30, Russia’s leading human rights organizations rallied in support of the political prisoners of our time. In solidarity with them, our supporters and friends – Russian-speaking voters around the country – are reaching out to Members of U.S. Congress – co-sponsors of the Magnitsky Act who are running for re-election on November 6. We are conveying our support for the speediest passage of the Act on their campaign websites and Facebook pages and by tweeting to them on behalf of Russian-speaking voters who share our opinion. We urge Russian-speaking Americans and all our friends to go to the polls on November 6 and vote with this information in mind. (In addition, we also support the Former Soviet Union State Pension Fairness Act, introduced by Rep. Nadler, that requires US government to report on its pursuit of pension payments for former Soviet workers currently in the US who have been denied their pensions by post-Soviet governments.)
Our online campaign is conducted in eleven states including those with the largest population of Russian-American voters – New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, California, Washington, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri. Georgia, and South Carolina. The campaign was postponed for a day due to the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy.
For additional information or to get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with us on our Facebook page or join our group. If you vote in the U.S. elections, we invite you to join or support this campaign which will go on until November 3.
Пресс-секретарь Helen Abramova, тел.: 703-473-0299, E-mail: HelenA@amrusrights.org
Нью-Йорк – Вашингтон – Чикаго – Коламбус – Канзас-Сити – Гринвиль – Атланта – Лос-Анджелес – Сиэтл
(31 октября 2012)
СЕГОДНЯ РУССКОЯЗЫЧНЫЕ ИЗБИРАТЕЛИ В 11 ШТАТАХ НАПРАВИЛИ ОБРАЩЕНИЯ ПОДДЕРЖКИ КОНГРЕССМЕНАМ, КОТОРЫЕ ПОДПИСАЛИСЬ ПОД ЗАКОНОПРОЕКТОМ ИМЕНИ СЕРГЕЯ МАГНИЦКОГО И ИЗБИРАЮТСЯ НА НОВЫЙ СРОК
Этой онлайн-кампанией Американская русскоязычная правозащитная ассоциация и ее союзники в диаспоре отмечают День политзаключенных в России
Как известно, законопроект предусматривает запрет на выдачу въездных виз в США и арест банковских счетов для лиц, причастных к аресту и гибели российского юриста и антикоррупционера Сергея Магницкого (1972-2009), а также других чиновников, допустивших грубые нарушения прав человека. Законопроект был внесен в прошлом году в Сенат представителем Мэриленда Бенджамином Кардином, а в нижнюю палату – конгрессменом от Массачусетса Джеймсом Макговерном (оба принадлежат к Демократической партии). В настоящее время его официально поддерживают 40 из 100 сенаторов (22 республиканца, 17 демократов и один беспартийный) и 82 из 435 конгрессменов (42 демократа и 40 республиканцев). Он прошел несколько слушаний в комитетах и включен в сенатский законопроект об отмене поправки Джексона-Вэника и предоставления России статуса наибольшего благоприятствования в торговле. В сенатском варианте проекта санкции предусмотрены не только для российских нарушителей прав человека, но и для виновников подобных нарушений в любом государстве мира.
Сегодня сторонники АРПА и ее союзники отмечают День политзаключенного (День жертв политических репрессий) в России онлайновой кампанией обращений к конгрессменам, поддержавшим законопроект и баллотирующимся на новый срок, через их вебсайты, фейсбук-страницы и твиттеры. В своих обращениях русскоязычные избиратели благодарят конгрессменов за поддержку законопроекта и заявляют о своем намерении голосовать за тех, кто обеспечит его скорейшее прохождение в Конгрессе. Тем самым мы выражаем нашу солидарность с движением за перемены и жертвами политических репрессий в современной России (как и в ряде других государств бывшего СССР).
В кампании участвуют избиратели в одиннадцати штатах – Нью-Йорке, Нью-Джерси, Калифорнии, Вашингтоне, Миссури, Иллинойсе, Огайо, Мэриленде, Южной Каролине, Джорджии и Флориде. Кампания была отсрочена на один день в связи с разрушительными последствиями урагана. Она продлится до 3 ноября. Если Вы голосуете на выборах в Соединенных Штатах, приглашаем Вас поучаствовать в кампании или поддержать ее материально.
About AMERICAN RUSSIAN-SPEAKING ASSOCIATION FOR CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS
American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights, Inc. (ARA) was formed this spring on the crest of the wave of solidarity rallies with Russia’s movement for change that were held in New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Kansas City. ARA held its first national convention on May 6 at the Hispanic Federation in New York. We work in close cooperation with other civic organizations, including Institute of Modern Russia, Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, Fair Vote for Russia, and others, as well as Russie-Libertes in France and International Movement ‘Speak Up!’ in the United Kingdom. At this time, ARA is an all-volunteer organization.
On August 17, 2012, our Association took part in a major rally in support of Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova that were sentenced on that day in Moscow for two years in jail in a politically motivated trial. We join the call of thousands of citizens of Russia and many other countries to release the members of the “Pussy Riot” band!
The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States
The Honorable Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States June 11, 2012
Mrs. Secretary of State,
We are writing to express grave concerns of our organizations and their supporters around the country over escalating repressions against opposition leaders, activists, and anti-corruption crusaders in Russia. Today, on the eve of the government-sanctioned mass rally in Moscow, police raided and searched the apartments of its key organizers, including Alexey Navalny, Sergey Udaltsov, Ilya Yashin, Ksenia Sobchak, and others, as well as their relatives, seizing their computer equipment, membership lists, publications, and other personal possessions. In its report on the raids, the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor-General described the seized materials as “literature with anti-state slogans” – a grim reminder of arbitrary charges of “anti-Soviet propaganda” used by government authorities in the communist era.
Following the adoption of the draconian law that introduced prohibitive penalties for holding unsanctioned rallies, today’s raids are yet another point of no return in Russia’s transformation into an authoritarian police state. We respectfully urge you to use every diplomatic means at your disposal to warn Russian government about the consequences of its behavior in terms of its standing in the community of nations. We also urge you to raise these issues in your meetings with Russian officials during the forthcoming G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Dr. Alexander Bolonkin (Brooklyn, NY), Dr. Dmitri Daniel Glinski (New York, NY), Co-Chairs of the Board, American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights, Inc.
Olga Golovanova (Brooklyn, NY)
Yuriy Gusev (Washington DC)
Natalia Lauk (Pocatello, ID)
Zhanna Reid (New Paltz, NY)
Yuriy Popov (Brooklyn, NY)
Aleksandra V. Kapustina (Los Angeles, CA)
Farrukh Khamdamov & Anna Solina (Brooklyn, NY)
Aleksandr Yakubson (Staten Island, NY)
Maria Paramonova (Seattle, WA)
Marina Beridze (New York, NY)
Maria Smirnova Galbo (Sacramento, CA)
Artiom Fadin (Atlanta, GA)
Isabel Green (New York, NY)
Владимир Буковский, Наталья Горбаневская и международные ассоциации написали обращение к Олланду и Меркель
Диссиденты Владимир Буковский, Наталья Горбаневская, Владимир Альбрехт, Александр Болонкин, а также члены ассоциаций Russie-Libertés (Франция), Speak Up! (Великобритания), American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights (США) и движение Fair Vote for Russia – Берлин (Германия) написали письмо европейским лидерам Франуса Олланду и Ангеле Меркель накануне визита в Париж российского президента, Владимира Путина.
APPEAL TO THE PARTICIPANTS
OF THE G8 SUMMIT OF INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS IN CAMP DAVID, MD
President of the United States Barack H. Obama
Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper
President of France Francois Hollande
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel
Prime Minister of Italy Mario Monti
Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron May 6, 2012, New York-Paris-London
We, participants of the first National Convention of the American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights, representing Russian-speaking Americans concerned with the situation in their native country, – together with the London-based movement ‘Speak Up!’ and the Paris-based Association Russie-Libertés – are asking each of you to reflect upon the problem of political persecutions in Russia under the guise of criminal justice, and to help Russia address this issue.
Russian Federation, as a member of the Group of Eight of industrialized nations, shares the responsibilities undertaken by this group in the area of human rights, in addition to its responsibilities under international agreements and commitments that it undertook as member of other international institutions. At the same time, Russian authorities keep in jail over 30 people found guilty of various crimes in the proceedings that a number of human rights organizations and experts see as politically motivated and a travesty of justice. Russia’s most respectable and established human rights agencies, Memorial Society and the Moscow Helsinki Group, have recognized many of them as political prisoners.
In recent months, Russia’s growing movement of protest against the violations of civil and human rights by the authorities included the release of these individuals at the top of the list of its demands. In February 2012, Russia’s authoritative governmental agency – President’s Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights – submitted a list of 34 names of individuals convicted or charged of crimes under questionable circumstances, with a recommendation to then-President Dmitry Medvedev to grant them pardon. However, on March 15 President Medvedev indicated that he would not pardon anyone without a request from that person. And such a request implies an admission of guilt which is not acceptable to many of these prisoners. So far, only one of them signed a request for pardon and was granted it.
After the large amount of evidence suggesting widespread fraud in the parliamentary and presidential elections was dismissed by the Russian authorities, they have increasingly shown their confidence of being able to act with impunity and to disregard the opinion of human and civil rights advocates. Perceived indifference on the part of the international community is likely to embolden them, leading to further abuses, while people seen as political prisoners by a large part of Russian society will continue to linger in jail.
To prevent this from happening, we urge you to use your diplomatic leverage with Russian authorities at the G8 Summit to persuade them to release the individuals whose names were submitted for presidential pardon by Russia’s Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights and who have not been pardoned.
The full list of names is available on the website of the aforementioned Council (at http://www.president-sovet.ru/structure/group_6/materials/spisok.php?sphrase_id=529) and includes the following individuals, grouped by the nature of charges:
1) People convicted of divulging classified information related to their scientific research: Yevgeny Afanasyev, Svyatoslav Bobyshev, Sergey Vizir, Valentin Danilov, Igor Reshetin
2) People convicted on charges related to their professional work or entrepreneurial activities: Yelena Bazanova, Anatoly Bashmakov, Vitaly Vorobyev, Vladimir Yermolenko, Aleksey Kurtsin, Platon Lebedev, Vladimir Malakhovsky, Igor Matveev, Aleksei Pichugin, Vladimir Tenitilov, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Grigory Chekalin, Yuliya Tsivilskaya, Sergey Tsivilsky, Sergey Shimkevich, Aleksandr Shoror
3) People convicted of being implicated in terrorism in cases where the Council found the charges “dubious, among other reasons because of the defendants’ particular ethnic and/or religious identity”: Ravil Gumarov, Timur Ishmuratov, Zara Murtazalieva, Dias Rafikov, Fanis Shaykhutdinov
4) People determined by the Council to be “persecuted for reasons related to their civic activism”: Ivan Belousov, Igor Berezyuk, Ilya Vaskov, Taisiya Osipova, Kirill Unchuk, Valentin Urusov, Ruslan Khubaev.
This list should be expanded to include the three young singers – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Ekaterina Samutsevich – who were arrested in March for a performance in the church organized in the context of the anti-government protests, as well as the 3 young politicians – Alexey Navalny, Sergey Udaltsov and Ilya Yashin, who are now in jail on purely political motivations as recognized by leading Human Rights organisations such as Amnesty International. .
We hope, your Excellencies, that you will take advantage of the opportunity provided by the G8 Summit to convince the Russian authorities to release these people from confinement. This will reconfirm your countries’ commitment to the fundamental principles and values of democracy that cannot be sacrificed to political expediency and will help the Group of Eight gain more support in the Russian and international civil society.
Participants of the National Convention
of the American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights:
Dmitri Glinski (Executive Director), Alexander Militarev (Board Chair), Sergey Semenov, Anastasia Sorokina, Olesya Sabirova, Alexey Semyonov, Anna Leonti, Arthur Nazarenko, Elena Yakovleva, Kristina Mayman, Alexey Tokmin, Maria Snegovaya, Tonya Raber, Xenia P. Grubstein, Alex Yakubssohn, Dmitry & Nadia Valuev, Nina Long, Yulia Shilnova, Sergey Shilnov, Larry Poltavtsev, Ilya Zaslavskiy, Andrey Strigin, Nikolay Sergeevykh, Tanja Nyberg, Natalia Krapiva, and others
Maxime Filandrov, President, Association Russie-Libertés, Paris, France
Andrey Sidelnikov, President, International Movement ‘Speak Up!’, London, United Kingdom
Russian-Speaking Americans Concerned With Human and Civil Rights Abuses in Russia Appeal to U.S. Congress and the G8 at Their National Convention in New York, Followed by Rally
American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights, Inc. (ARA) held its first national convention on May 6, 2012, in downtown Manhattan. The convention, under the title “Russian-Speaking America on the Rise: Awakening and Empowerment Through The ‘Fair Vote For Russia’ Movement”, was attended by ARA representatives from the states of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, California, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia. Leaders of ARA groups in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Kansas addressed the convention via Skype, video, and written remarks. In total, ARA currently has a presence among Russian-speaking population in 20 U.S. states.
The convention was also attended, in person or via Skype, by leaders and representatives of the Association’s allies in the ‘Fair Vote for Russia’ movement and partners in the Coalition of Russian-Speaking Organizations for Civil & Human Rights: Institute of Modern Russia (President – Pavel Khodorkovsky), International Association of Former Political Prisoners and Victims of the Communist Regime (President – Alexander Bolonkin), The Andrei Sakharov Foundation (President – Alexey Semyonov), The General Petro Grigorenko Foundation (President – Andrew Grigorenko) and others.
The event began with expressions of outrage as participants watched online the scenes from Moscow, where police brutally attacked people, including women, teenagers, and the elderly, at the officially approved rally of protest against the inauguration of Vladimir Putin.
The convention opened with a video greeting by Ludmila Alexeyeva, Chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group and Member of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society Development and Human Rights. The greeting was recorded in Moscow on the occasion of ARA formation. “At last … we have the first organization that unites [Russian-speakers in America] not only on the basis of shared culture, but also around shared policy views,” said Alexeyeva, the winner of 2004 Democracy Award by the US National Endowment for Democracy. “I thank its founders and wish this organization serious growth and real success.”
“Our organization grows out of an unprecedented movement in our diaspora, and out of real community needs, particularly among newer immigrants,” said Dr. Dmitri Daniel Glinski, ARA co-founder and Executive Director. “While the forces in Russia are highly unequal, and the timing of the events that will lead to change is unpredictable, we should capture the spirit of this movement to advance our two main interrelated goals. The first is to advocate with the U.S. government for more human rights-oriented policies toward Russia, including the speedy adoption of the Magnitsky Act. The second is to take part in building a more assertive and influential Russian-speaking community in America and to start catching up with other immigrant communities in the development of our advocacy organizations and nonprofit sector in general. We need to build our capacity to defend ourselves against media bias and discrimination in various markets, including employment; ensure a fairer representation of Russian-speaking Americans in government at various levels and in major philanthropic institutions; gain access to the sources of funding from which our nonprofit organizations have been excluded; create opportunities for our nonprofit talents and ensure their proper recognition; expand the range of communal dialogue and tolerance of different views in our own midst; and reduce our community’s dependency on others, without weakening the bonds that tie many of us to American Jewry.”
“Our Association is created to help increase the cohesiveness of our community and provide a venue for those who want to maintain their links to Russia while integrating in American society,” said Dr. Alexander Militarev, ARA co-founder and Board Chair. “We are building an organization that does not divide Russian-speaking immigrants by ethnicity or religion, and we see those among us who have paid a price struggling for civil and human rights as role models. It is delightful to see so many young faces in this room.”
“We are holding this convention and the rally on the eve of Mr.Putin’s inauguration to convey our solidarity with the movement for change in Russia,” said Xenia Grubstein, ARA co-founder and the chief organizer of Russian rallies in New York since December 2011. “It is particularly important given that today hundreds of people were brutally beaten and detained in Moscow. We also work in close cooperation with the international Fair Vote for Russia movement in other countries, and it is possible that its participants will follow our lead by setting up organizations in their respective countries. And in addition to our advocacy, we shall also get involved in simple and inconspicuous everyday activities to change those things around us that need to be changed.”
Ms. Grubstein also read the greeting to the convention issued by the Fair Vote for Russia movement, which says: “We are confident that by being united in the Association, you will push even stronger in support of the civil rights of the people of Russia, for their fair representation in the government.” Convention participants were also greeted by other international partners, including a written statement from Association Russie-Libertés (France) and the Fair Vote for Russia group in Sydney, Australia.
“Our Association shall develop a broad base of support by serving a wide variety of interests among Russian-speakers, who may or may not have an interest in Russian domestic affairs” said Alex Kodner, ARA co-founder and Associate Executive Director. “In addition to our rights advocacy, we should address the everyday problems of our community, including employment, education, and family, and help individual community members in their integration in American society. This will help us bring together Russian-speaking US citizens and those who keep arriving today in search of a better life.”
“ARA should pay serious attention to Russian authorities’ violations of civil rights of former Soviet political prisoners who struggled for the democratic transformation of Russia and now receive compensation from the government that amounts to 2.5 US Dollars for every month they spent in Soviet jail,” said Dr. Alexander Bolonkin, ARA Vice Chair of the Board, political prisoner from 1972 to 1987, and subsequently senior researcher at NASA. “We also need to ensure that the Russian government pays the pensions it owes to its former citizens and residents, regardless of their current citizenship and residency.”
“We are pleased to have supported the Association, which is a new endeavor for us, but is in line with the direction that we should be encouraging,” said Alexey Semyonov, President of The Andrey Sakharov Foundation. “We need to connect with our social environment that could support our mission and our development. I see the creation of the Association as an opportunity for us to get to another level. It is encouraging, and I hope that the Association will comprise all those directions that were mentioned here and that are important for our shared identity, including a strong component working to help secure human rights in Russia.”
“The Putin regime would not have been able to survive without collaboration with the West, as Putin’s cronies are looting the country and depositing their booty in Western bank accounts,” said Dr. Andrei Piontkovky, senior researcher at the Institute of Systems Studies in Moscow and a leading opposition columnist, in his video address from Moscow. “You will help change Russia by drawing the attention of US government and judiciary to the need to combat money laundering by Russian corrupt officials, including through such agencies as the Financial Action Task Force. In this case, one cannot speak about interference in Russia’s internal affairs – it is all about compliance with U.S. own laws on U.S. territory. And thank you for what you have done in broadening the support for the Magnitsky bill in American society and in Congress.”
“A coalition of Russian-speaking organizations is very important, and should have many different functions – political, cultural, educational, and other,” said Natalia Pelevine in her video greeting from Moscow. “I have big confidence in this undertaking and hope to be able in the future to participate in it directly.” She also invited ARA supporters to join the online organizing of protests in connection with Vladimir Putin’s expected trip to the US for the G8 Summit.
“It seems to me that the minimum platform on which all of us can unite is the defense of human rights and the pursuit of such a social system [in Russia] that allows for the existence of a human rights movement, the independent press, and independent judiciary,” said Andrew Grigorenko, President of General Petro Grigorenko Foundation. “In other words, we are talking about the institutions able to give that society a chance for a continuous self-correction.”
“Tomorrow we are having a meeting in the U.S. Senate, and I just received the news that our message to Sen. Kerry was shared with the CSCE representatives,” said Tanja Nyberg, ARA Federal Government Affairs Coordinator and representative in Virginia. “As we all know, the action on the Magnitsky Act in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee has been delayed in connection with the G8 summit, and our convention should convey our collective message to the Committee. Our Association’s group in the Greater Washington area has been very active and vocal since the first rally in December, and our Magnitsky memorial event on April 8 took place at the Pushkin Monument. So Washington DC now has an extension of the Pushkin Square in Moscow.”
“One of the main priorities for our Association is to develop or strengthen our close ties with those communities with whom we are historically related, including Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Jewish,” said Sergey Semyonov, ARA coordinator in Chicago and Midwest. “We shall promote our ideas through a wide range of cultural activities, as one can often find supporters in rather unexpected places.”
“The formation of ARA helps increase the visibility and influence of the Russian-speaking diaspora in the US,” said Vlad Burlutski, ARA representative in Erie, PA, in his video message. “It will also enable us to work more closely with established institutions of American society and with US Government and to defend the rights of Russian-speaking Americans.”
“ARA human rights activities should include assistance with emigration to those Russians who are exposed to a variety of threats in their native country,” said Larry Poltavtsev, ARA supporter from Vienna, VA, and President of Target Labs, Inc. “We should assist them with moving abroad and adapting to their new country.” He also shared the experience of the Webinon Center, assisting Russians on business-related migration, employment and career pursuit by skilled immigrants, as well as of the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, a related agency that assists politically motivated migration.
“Russian-speaking community in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley is one of the largest in the country, and our group in support of the movement for change in Russia counts about 700 people,” said Andrey Strigin, ARA coordinator in Northern California. “In spite of our regular protest rallies, we have also been able to develop normal business relations with Russia’s Consulate General. We also combine our protest actions with musical events. Our largest rally across from the City Hall was also a musical concert. This helps us attract a much larger audience.”
“On behalf of our supporters in Missouri and Kansas, I welcome the participants of the convention and congratulate us all on this important step in our organization’s development,” read the statement by Aleksandr Elesev, ARA coordinator in Kansas City. “Today in Moscow due to government violence a point of no return was crossed. We wish strength and courage to our friends in Russia in their struggle for freedom.”
Participants of the Convention adopted, by signing, two documents. The first is a letter to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) urging him, as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, not to delay action on the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2011. ARA finds it particularly important given Russian authorities’ violence and intimidation of opposition activists on the eve and during the protest rallies in Moscow on May 6. “The passage of the Magnitsky Act through the Committee before, rather than after the upcoming Summit of the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations in Camp David, MD, is in the best interest of both the United States and the people of Russia,” says the letter, which was subsequently signed by many ARA supporters and allies not present at the Convention, including Pavel Khodorkovsky, President of Institute of Modern Russia.
The second document adopted by the Convention is the address to the participants of the Summit of the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations in Camp David, MD. The letter urges them to use their diplomatic leverage with the Russian authorities to address the cases of 33 individuals convicted by Russian courts under questionable circumstances and widely viewed as victims of political persecution. The names on this list are the same as those submitted for presidential pardon by Russia’s Presidential Council on Civil Society Development and Human Rights. Former President Dmitry Medvedev refused to pardon these individualsin the absence of their individual requests, with an implicit admission of guilt. As a result, only one on the Council’s initial list, Sergey Mokhnatkin, was pardoned. Participants of the Convention also added the three singers of the ‘Pussy Riot’ group to the list of cases they ask to be discussed at the G8 Summit.
The Convention established 11 permanent working groups of the Association, including a group on fundraising, a group on U.S. government relations, a group on inter-ethnic relations, a group on business and human rights, and a group on social issues, including the rights of sexual minorities.
After the Convention, its participants held a rally of solidarity with Russian advocates of democratic change, in front of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, concluding it at the Sakharov-Bonner Corner.
On Monday, May 7, representatives of ARA leadership visited the office of Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) in Washington, DC, where they had a discussion on a range of issues pertinent to the Russian-speaking community. In the course of the meeting, they passed the materials of the Convention to the representatives of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
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