Analytics and Interview

On 16 January 2015 late in the evening the website of the Ministry of Justice published a statement that the NGO Committee Against Torture had been added to the register of non-profit organizations designated as ‘foreign agents’.
Tanya Lokshina is the Russia program director at Human Rights Watch and Honorary Participant of International Youth Human Rights Movement: As the crisis in Ukraine escalated this spring, the Kremlin’s vicious crackdown on civil society also escalated. Space for independent civic activity in Russia is shrinking dramatically, but international policymakers and the media have been understandably too distracted to do much about it. Since early spring, it seems as though every week brings a new pernicious law or legislative proposal.
Earlier this year, the correspondent of Youth Human Rights Movement from Germany Jakob Stürmann interviewed Konstantin Baranov, member of the Coordination Council of the International Youth Human Rights Movement. They discussed so called “law against homosexual propaganda” and the overall situation of LGBT in Russia.  

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Oleg Sentsov, Olexander Kolchenko, Hennadiy Afanasiev and Oleksiy Chyrniy have been held in Russian jails for two years already under fabricated charges of ‘terrorism’. We consider it being necessary to express solidarity with those who are persecuted due to their pro-Ukrainian views, civic stand and desire for freedom in Russia-annexed Crimea.
Helsinki Committee of Armenia has published “Human Rights in Armenia 2014” Annual Report. The report reflects on the Right to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Torture, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, Political Persecutions, Freedom of Conscience and Religion, The Rights of the Child, Protection of Labor Rights.
«We have a few questions for you,» a border guard told Sinaver Kadyrov, a Crimean Tatar activist, at the Armyansk checkpoint in northern Crimea on Jan. 23. Kadyrov was on his way to Kherson, in southern Ukraine, to fly to Turkey for medical treatment. It was the beginning of an ordeal that ended with a local court expelling him from Crimea, his home of almost 25 years.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority It is time to sit back and reflect.

Mark Twain


Youth Human Rights Movement

Support Russian activists September 17-20


In a historically courageous struggle people in Russia have been able to halt the construction of a high way through the Khimki forest. While the forests were burning all over Russia the authorities started a wave of detaining, torturing and harassing people in movements defending the Khimki forest close to Moscow. They need our solidarity.

We call upon the whole international environmental and social justice movement and all wanting to stop criminalization of protest to support our friends in Russia. Take action on 17-20 September! Follow the call enclosed below issued by The Campaign for the Release of the Khimki Hostages for making actions at embassies and other places representing Russia.
Immediate actions are necessary. The decision by president Medvedev to halt the construction of the high way is only temporary. The heavy repression of the protest movement and especially the antifascist activists makes no halt. Environmentalists, human rights activists, journalists fighting corruption, Anarchists and other antifascists, alter globalization movement, Liberal, Communist and Left wing parties have been able to struggle in solidarity in the midst of heavy repression achieving this first victory. This in spite of different ideological positions and views on tactics. Their unity is an example for the rest of the world and needs support.

The Khimki forest conflict have become historically important and of global concern. Behind the destruction of the forest in Russia is a neoliberal development model which do not care for the environment. Three years ago the federal forest protection service was closed down and 70 000 workers mainly working in the field fired and replaced by 12 000 bureaucrats supposed to see to that others should do what the workers had done earlier. The result is a reduced lack of capacity to halt fires when the weather gets warmer and warmer. At the same time is dismantling of public services and support of privatization also at the core of construction of roads and cities were private profit becomes more important than protection of nature or the interest of people in common. Through the Khimki forest is the first toll high way in Russia between Moscow and St Petersburg planned making an odd detour through the green belt. Road construction is highly lucrative in Russia with its added possibilities for exploitation of land beside the road. Close ties between economic and political interests makes it possible to use any means against those opposing this neoliberal development model, a reason for why those openly criticizing the corruption in Khimki are murdered or maltreated followed by no serious investigation by the police.

Those making much profit out of the environmentally destructive development model are European banks and corporations. The high way is planned to be financed primarily by European banks and the French construction company Vinci is a main contractor. When our Russian friends are struggling to defend the Khimki forest they are also struggling against a neoliberal development model making Russia into a profitable market for Western corporations.

The Russian movement to defend the Khimki forest is a movement defending all forests. If corporations and politicians working in the interest of a global neoliberal and environmentally destructive model is able to exploit the Khimki forest and continue repressing the activists in spite of a historically broad and strong movement in Russia defending the forest, than it can be done anywhere. Solidarity with the activists is the only way to both stop repression and to save the Khimki forest more permanently. Please join the action called for by our Russian friends!
Badrul Alam, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh

Patrick Bond, Centre for Civil Society Environmental Justice Project,
Durban, South Africa

Mark Barrett, Climate Justice Action London, UK
Mark Brown, Art Not Oil/Rising Tide, UK

Carmen Buerba de Comite de Defensa Ecologica Michoacana, Mexico

Nicola Bullard, Focus on the Global South, Thailand

Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth Sweden

Joshua Kahn Russell, Ruckus Society, USA

Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, Spain

Maduresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements, India

Marea Creciente Mexico

Adriana Matalonga, Miguel Valencia y Mauricio Villegas from Ecomunidades and Klimaforum10, Mexico

Tannie Nyböe, Climate Justice Action, Denmark

Uddhab Pyakurel, South Asian Dialogue on Ecological Democracy, India

Josie Riffaud, Via Campesina, France

Marko Ulvila, Friends of the Earth Finland

Thomas Wallgren, Democracy Forum Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, Finland