Comment by Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov on the US Department of State’s report regarding the 2015 human rights situation in the world
In relation to the US Department of State’s publication of an annual report on the human rights situation in the world, we have to state that, as before, this document is presented in an unacceptable mentoring and didactic manner and is based on ideological clichés, labels and politicised, biased assessments.
There is only so much trite insinuations one can take about alleged authoritarianism and the hermetic nature of the Russian Federation’s political system. Incidentally, we cannot recall a situation where the US President has regularly spent several hours on live television answering dozens of questions on the most different current topics from Russian and international media and from his countrymen.
The report’s claims about the “Russian occupation of Crimea,” which stubbornly ignore the free vote by the residents of the peninsula, are clearly a political put-up job. We have repeatedly pointed out to the Americans that the assertions about the “worsening” of the human rights situation in Russian Crimea have no leg to stand on. It is only someone who does not want to see who can be so blind to substantial progress in the development of this multiethnic Russian region, including in the human rights area, by contrast with the disastrous situation in this regard that exists in Ukraine.
One cannot but be surprised by the claim that Russia is to blame for thousands civilian casualties in Donbass. It is common knowledge that the humanitarian and human rights disaster in Ukraine is the doing of the US-controlled Ukrainian authorities and radical nationalist groups in the wake of the unconstitutional coup in Kiev. Instead of bringing, at long last, real pressure to bear on the Ukrainian authorities to stop large-scale crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine and punish the real perpetrators of grievous crimes, including those who set fire to the Trade Union House in Odessa, there is only idle chatter.
Against this background, the State Department’s appeals to free Oleg Sentsov sentenced to a prison term for preparing a series of explosions in Crimea and artillery controller Nadezhda Savchenko, both found guilty of grievous crimes by Russian courts, are absolutely out of place and sound on the verge of interfering in Russia’s internal affairs. Moreover, this is nothing else than an attempt to justify terrorism and the killing of journalists.
In addition, the assertions that the authorities in Russia are “fomenting Russian nationalism” are not only groundless but also hypocritical, particularly in the face of Washington’s endless statements, including at the top level, regarding “America’s exceptionalism.”
As for allegations about continued human rights violations committed by the Russian law enforcement agencies, including in North Caucasus, they do not hold up against criticism and look bleak against the background of the crying, proven, and still uninvestigated facts of torture and inhuman treatment by the US special services in Guantanamo and CIA secret prisons. The special isolation unit on Cuba, which still functions despite Barack Obama’s election promises, is where Russian citizen Ravil Mingazov has been kept for 13 years without charges, along with dozens of other prisoners. There are other Russians confined to US penitentiaries, who, in violation of their legitimate rights, are often imprisoned in America solely for criminal “intent” that has not been duly proved.
It is high time the US authorities remove their spectacles befogged with anti-Russian stereotypes, stop deriding the real state of affairs in the human rights area in Russia, and at last get down in earnest to addressing a vast number of serious problems related to human rights, democracy and rule of law in the US itself.
To mend America’s stained image in the world, it would not be out of place for them to muster up the strength and stop forcing on sovereign countries unpopular ultimatums of the US democratic patterns. We hope that the US realises this and joins the constructive international effort to find adequate responses to really important and common challenges in the human rights area.