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

The second „Human Library” went louder than the previous one


The international project “Human Library” took place on 11th of August in Petrovsky book club. This time the role of “books” was played by: blind girl with her guide dog, emergency ambulance medic, former prisoner, emigrant, civil activist, vegan, child brought up at children’s home, anarchist and foreigner volunteer.

Only few minutes after the “Human library” was started the unknown young man threw a tear gas up in a hall of club. Participants and guests of an event, suffocating, run away from the building. In the last seconds - when an intruder tried to escape - he was caught by two strong men dressed in plain clothes who, as it turned out, were officers of The Center of Extremism Countering of Interior Ministry.

During the press conference the organizers said that after last “Human Library” which took place 17th of March, they were anxious about some “books”. The last time in social networks some people threatened two “books” - gay and lesbian. Now, among “books” there weren’t so “provocative” persons.

The incident that happened was commented by one of injured and at the same time one of the organizers Olya Bazueva: At the very beginning of “Human library” some young man burst into our club. It is possible that he was not alone - it’s hard to say now. And he threw a tear gas up in Dima’s face. I was standing next to him and I got it myself as well. After that he threw a tear gas up in the whole building. He tried to escape but he was caught. It’s hard to indicate why he did it. The young man who attacked us is a nationalist. He either came to someone individually or he didn’t like an idea of “Human library” and an attempt of mutual understanding… Beyond a shadow of a doubt this man treats every unknown thing existing in society with an aggression. He didn’t shout anything. Fortunately, he didn’t manage to stop our event. Everyone was in shock. I feel very unpleasant because of the accident which happened, that is why - as I told already - during previous “Library” we worried about safety. There were even “books” that received threats. This time we didn’t face something similar.

Heedless of that incident the event lasted in very positive atmosphere. Readers rather unwillingly said goodbye to the „books” exceeding assigned 30 minutes. After that they were extremely grateful to organizers that they had an occasion to talk with so interesting people.

The wedding of blind man and a dog
This is a dog - a representative of medicine. You see - the red cross on his back, - says to listeners Daria, stroking the smooth and black Labrador. She will never be able to see her dog. It has been already 12 years how she’s been living only memoirs of colors and flowers - she has lost her sight when she was a child. The only guide of blind owner is her guide dog.

In Voronezh there are only 4 people with guide dogs and you won’t have almost no chance to see them on the streets. People are afraid to take a dog - they are afraid of responsibility, they think that it requires separate care.
I have learnt almost everything - to wash his paws, to give him a food and to take him to a veterinary surgeon. I have become totally convinced that there is need for one thing: love - girl smiles.

As long as her dog hasn’t appeared she had never gone out alone. The blind man won’t be protected against crazy rhythm of metropolis neither by white cane nor by even very careful moving. To adapt oneself to it is not possible. In any way. The life completely changed after dog’s appearing.

And now, practically, nothing stops us. We can go on our own anywhere we want, - she says one hand gesticulating, the second hand holding a dog. It’s not only a dog, it’s a friend. Your assistant sacrifices all his life. In the Guide Centre they joke that this the wedding of blind man and a dog.

Caudate guide faithfully lying next to leg of his owner and don’t pay attention on flashes and overwhelming tenderness. In the shopping center where we sit they prohibit to get in with a dog. But the guide is not only an animal, it is one body - one body with human -being.

For these kind of dogs there are exceptions everywhere, - tells “live book”. - Even in train or airplane a dog should be inseparably with his owner.

In grocery, they regularly ban to get in with a guide dog. Employees are afraid that it’s not hygienic. But I put one condition - either they give a man who will be a guide for the blind -man or they let me in with my dog.

Russia is a country almost totally not adapted for disabled, - have a sigh Daria. - Yes, but also culture leaves a lot to be desired. People can leave their car this way that it the path will be completely blocked. I have to either walk by the street or look for how to get around. But for a dog it is hard to choose the right way, even the best guide dog is not able to decide which way is better.

Because the most important things in changing the World are mutual human relations and learning how to understand and accept different people she joined Psychological Department. This year she graduated extramural Pedagogical Faculty. In her words, there were no problems in joining university. However studying was hard. Very often there was no appropriate literature. The rescue were computers equipped with sound. Listeners were surprised how can one be a psychologist being blind person? For professional analysis and interpretation of mimics and non -verbal language it is extremely important.

I would never come to blind psychologist, - suddenly butted in barman of Petrovsky club when he heard about her profession. But Daria wasn’t put off her stroke at all.

One friend of mine told me: Don’t you understand that to your cabinet will come people who don’t want to be seen and appraised. For some kind of peculiar confession, - very freely says girl watching pages written in Braille. - I don’t need to see people to feel them and to help them.

Holiday in ambulance - it’s a 300 rubles extra for working in holidays
Our emergency service is late very often. There was invented so many myths and legends about “slowly ambulance”. I have to disappoint you - we haven’t got such an emergency for a long time. An ambulance signed by “03” is an urgent service. With all exceptions and differences.

If you see an ambulance with the siren – remember - it breaks the law but probably it saves someone’s life.
We mustn’t flash with beacon and siren,
- tells “live book” medic Alexander. - We don’t have cars of emergency service but only urgent service. We try not to become too much audacious but sometimes we turn beacons on - when the case is very complicated. The traffic police doesn’t stop us, they treat us very calmly.

Because of traffic it is hard to force ours way through, equally, in the morning and in the evening. In every year it’s getting harder and harder.

I believe that earlier people felt anxious for “emergency”. And now they start to understand that sometimes it’s easier to call us than to go to a hospital and stand in a queue, - explain medic Alexander. - For every call we have 40 -45 minutes. This time, of course, it’s a rubbish. Earlier we worked as long as we had to. In opinion of our “book” it takes about 20 minutes for the ride and there is also a necessary time for making a diagnosis and giving an injection. If we don’t finish within the prescribed time we got an „intensity”. Simply, they reduce our salary because of our delay. No one takes into consideration that it could save someone’s life.

At our emergency there is also a poor wretch with a staff. If there is a lack of staff, medic doctors are split up into several cars in spite of the fact that, in ideal world, they should be together.

And does regular medic is able to help in serious case of illness without a doctor? - listeners follow young doctor with their eyes.

Of course he will help - he smiles - he doesn’t have any choice.

Living by the salary.. - he says - it’s practically impossible. Almost everyone has 2 or 3 jobs. They combine emergency with private clients.

- Are there “black doctors” who take money for coming on call?
- Now, there are not. Earlier one could met some but they were counted.
- They were fired?
- No, of course not, everyone understands that you cannot live by this kind of money. Just some old men calls and asks stop becoming so impudent. Dismissal - they didn’t fire. Doctors not always seem to be the gold ones.
- Do you have holidays and days off?
- Yes, of course, there is 300 rubles for working in holidays after all - sadly smiles young medic.
Lots of people say that doctors require “repaying”. You know, it leaves very unpleasant trace when people whom you helped ask “How much money do I owe you?”. If you want to owe anything just call a private emergency - indignantly tells “live book”. If you are going to repay - you will repay.

From Alexaner point of view, very low salaries cause negligence. However sometimes even sincere help means breaking of Hippocratic oath.

- I remember one accident. During The Day of Voronezh one of our ambulance had a duty on Lenin’s square. One granny came to the ambulance. A toddler felt bad. At the time our medic was taking care of this boy some young drunk people told that in the park is a man who is sick - continues the emergency worker. The doctor send them to the next ambulance which was standing on the corner. And then this impertinent person went away. They frightened granny and child. After that press informed that we don’t help at all. You come on call and people frown on you. Cutting remark - cutting remark. You haven’t managed to write down their names, they already show you the door. At least it’s good that they don’t spit in your back, I don’t even talk about appreciation. There are various types of people.

Nowadays, one bear grudges against medic doctor - they, reportedly, should comply with high standards. We try to catch up with European standards, while they don’t fit - medic spread his arms. But why we try to catch up only with standards and not with conditions of work and salaries. If they improve Russian medicine then our nation will reach these standards as well.

Olya Bazueva, one of the regional organizers of “Human library”: Our project was invented by teenagers in Denmark in 2000. One guy was beaten up because of hatred motives. Until the moment he was in a hospital his friends decided to invent something that should be done in order to lesser the level of aggression and hatred. And there appeared the project making possible that people who on daily basis would never talk to each other could do this.
The event has been already organized in 50 countries. It’s an international project but absolutely independent. It can be carried out by everyone. Every single book is a volunteer, as well as organizers.

It’s true that not always we are successful in finding and talking into dialogue interesting “books”

Some people become a “live book” with pleasure. However there are some moment we try to invite representatives of various professions - they cannot just come as private persons, they need a permission from management, - explains one of the organizers of “Human library” Violletta Tokareva. - It complicates all process a lot. Sometimes management try to offer us “their people” who completely don’t fit to our conception. That’s why sometimes we had
to reject some “books”.

Prepared on the base of mass media resources