Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Belarus Imposes Fines for Being Unemployed

Posted by Info on 16/04/2015

No Job? Pay Up! 

The new rules, signed into law by Belarus’ authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko this month, aim to “stimulate able-bodied citizens to engage in labour activity and fulfill their constitutional obligation to participate in financing state expenditures.”

Adults who have not paid income tax covering at least 183 days of employment per year will be fined. Failure to pay will be punishable by additional fines and ultimately by detention, followed by community service.According to the decree, certain categories of citizens are exempt, including students, parents caring for three or more children, minors, and people over the retirement age.

The decree smacks of Soviet times, when “parasitism” was a criminal offence known as “tuneyadstvo” which was based on the notion that “every able-bodied person has a duty to work.”

The Soviet Union made “parasitism” a criminal offense before the law was abolished in the 1990s by Mikhail Gorbachev. The law mostly targeted people working in private enterprises that were illegal under the Soviet regime, as well as prostitutes and political dissidents, such as Nobel Prize-winning poet Joseph Brodsky, who went on trial for “social parasitism” (“tuneyadstvo”) in the 1960s before being forced to emigrate.

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West Must Learn To Live With Putin

Posted by Info on 17/02/2015

Sir John Sawers,  Former M16 head warns

“The Ukraine crisis is no longer just about Ukraine. It’s now a much bigger, more dangerous crisis, between Russia and western countries, about values and order in Europe.”

“We deal with the Russia we have, not the Russia we’d like to have”. 


“The convergence between Russia and the west which we had hoped for after the cold war won’t happen while he is in charge. We now know that. Any foreseeable change of power in Russia may well be for the worse. Managing relations with Russia will be the defining problem in European security for years to come.”

“Ukrainians look to us to help them have their chance to embrace the order and values we enjoy here in modern Europe. We and they may end up with a new debilitating frozen conflict in Ukraine, well into the future. That is a wretched outcome for Ukrainians. But it may be the least bad attainable outcome.”

Sawers said efforts by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to restore calm deserved the west’s full support.  “Once we have calm – if we have calm – we’ll need a new approach to co-existence with president Putin’s Russia. As long as Mr Putin sees the issue in terms of Russia’s own security he will be prepared to go further than us.”

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Russia’s Links With Europe’s Right

Posted by Info on 14/12/2014

Moscow is handing cash to the Front National and others in order to exploit popular dissent against the European Union.

The French Front National’s leader, Marine Le Pen, makes no secret of her admiration for Putin; her party has links to senior Kremlin figures includingDmitry Rogozin, now Russia’s deputy prime minister, who in 2005 ran an anti-immigrant campaign under the slogan “Clean Up Moscow’s Trash”.

Le Pen defended her decision to take the Kremlin money, complaining that she had been refused her access to capital: “What is scandalous here is that the French banks are not lending.”

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Collapse In The Russian Rouble

Posted by Info on 14/12/2014

More than two-thirds of Russia’s exports are from the energy sector, and the cost of crude has dropped by 40% since the summer.


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Relations Between Russia And Nato Worsen

Posted by Info on 14/12/2014

Reports of increased military activity raises alarm for border states.

The Polish defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak has called Russia’s naval and air force activity around the Baltic Sea this week unprecedented, although most of the Russian military actions took place in international waters and airspace and did not “look like preparations for an attack”.

4 days ago Norway said one of its warplanes had a “near miss” to the north of the country with a Russian fighter, which had come too close, and the Finnish air force has reported “unusually intense” activity over the Gulf of Finland as Russian bombers.

A November report by a British thinktank noted a rise in close military encounters between Russia and the west this year, including “violations of national airspace, emergency scrambles, narrowly avoided mid-air collisions, close encounters at sea, simulated attack runs and other dangerous actions happening on a regular basis over a very wide geographical area.”

The Swedish navy engaged in a massive hunt for a Russian submarine reported in the Stockholm in archipelago in October, and a SAS plane with 132 passengers taking off from Copenhagen in March nearly collided with a Russian reconnaissance aircraft that hadn’t transmitted its position.

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Russia: New Law Coming Into Force Restrictions On Internet

Posted by Info on 14/12/2014

Law coming into force next year will require foreign firms to store Russian users’ personal data on servers located in Russia.

The law, which authorities say will improve data protection, requires foreign firms to store Russian users’ personal data on servers located in Russia. Critics say it is designed to make it harder for US internet companies to operate in the country and will give Russia’s secret services greater access to information held by foreign firms.

President Vladimir Putin is no fan of the internet, calling it a CIA project, and saying he prefers to get his information from other sources.  New legislation was considered recently that would prohibit government employees from discussing official information over non-state email accounts.

Another law, passed this year, requires bloggers with more than 3,000 followers to register their personal information with the government, a regulation that has been decried as an intimidation tactic.

Anton Nossik, often called the father of the Russian internet, said that besides the law requiring Russia-based servers, growing anti-western rhetoric following the Ukraine crisis posed a threat to foreign companies such as Google.

Google is now to close its engineering office in Russia.

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Ukraine: Referendums Calling for Independence From Ukraine

Posted by Info on 29/11/2014

Rebels in eastern Ukraine held their elections on Nov. 2, saying that the vote was the next step after local referendums in May calling for independence from Ukraine.

The European Union has imposed sanctions on the organizers this month, hitting the separatists and their organizations with asset freezes and travel bans.

The United States and European Union have denounced the vote as illegitimate, but Russia has said it would recognize the result.

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THE SEARCH – 2014 movie about Chechnya in 1999

Posted by Info on 28/11/2014

The Search is a 2014 French drama film directed by Michel Hazanavicius.

The film is about the second Chechen war in 1999.

Four destinies – four stories will lead us through  the war.
One little boy, after the murder of his parents, is running from his village and joining the flood of refugees. He later met Carole, the NGO project manager, who is taking care of him. Meanwhile, Raisa, his older sister,  is actively trying to find him.
And  Russian 20 years Kolya was enlisted in the army and becomes part of the daily war in Chechnya.

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Russia: Crimea – The Gravest Ethnic and Political Conflict

Posted by Info on 28/11/2014

Crimea is bound up with the fate of the Crimean Tatars.

The Crimean Tatars are the native inhabitants of Crimea. They had their own state, the Crimean Khanate, for more than 300 years from the middle of the 15th to the end of the 18th centuries. Catherine the Great then annexed Crimea to the Russian empire but the Tatars kept their culture, language and religion – Sunni Islam.

In 1944, Stalin ordered that all 191,000 of them, all 47,000 families, be exiled to Central Asia. In 1954, Khrushchev transferred Crimea from the Russian to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, but in March  2014  Putin returned Crimea to Russia.

They are  now some 300,000 and make up around 13% of Crimea’s population. The Crimean Tatar community did not support union with Russia as they boycotted the referendum in March on joining Russia.

Mosques, schools, community centers, firms and private homes belonging to Tatars have been searched and raided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (“anti-extremism” special branch), prosecutors and the Special Purpose Police, as well as so-called “self-defense forces”. The Crimean Tatars’ only independent television station, ATR, has come under heavy pressure and many activists, journalists and bloggers have been forced to leave Crimea.

The Tatars’ leaders, Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov, current head of the Mejlis, have been barred from entering their homeland for five years and are now living in Kiev against their will.

All these violations are set out in a report written by Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, who himself visited Crimea. He pays particular attention to the killing, abduction and disappearance of people in Crimea. Criminal investigations have been launched into the latter killings and abductions but neither the victims nor the perpetrators have yet been found.

Chubarov says that Moscow is now planning to repeat the “Chechen scenario” in Crimea, that is, to find a second Ramzan Kadyrov among the Crimean Tatars.

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Nearly 1,000 Killed During Ukraine Ceasefire Signed in September – With Abuses On Both Sides

Posted by Info on 25/11/2014

“The list of victims keeps growing. Civilians, including women, children, minorities and a range of vulnerable individuals and groups continue to suffer the consequences of the political stalemate in Ukraine,” the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, said.

Friday marks the first anniversary of the start of the Maidan protests against Ukraine’s former pro-Kremlin government, which led to the conflict in the east.

In total, more than 4,300 combatants and civilians have been killed in eastern Ukraine since pro-Russia rebels seized border regions in April,  including  298 people who died in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July.

The UN report detailed grave human rights abuses on both sides and highlights the huge number of people registered as displaced by the conflict, from 275,489 in mid-September to 466,829 on Wednesday.

The Kremlin denies western and Ukrainian accusations.

Nato said there have been about 400 intercepts of Russian military flights near its member countries this year, amid heightened tension between Moscow and the west over the crisis. Newer Nato members such as Poland and the Baltic states once ruled from Moscow have been deeply concerned by Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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Filip Singer Won 1st Price of Czech Press Photo – Majdan, Ukraine

Posted by Info on 13/10/2014


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Putin Considers To Cut Russia From The Internet ‘In An Emergency’

Posted by Info on 07/10/2014

President Vladimir Putin is considering steps to disconnect Russian citizens from the web “in an emergency” in the event of a serious military confrontation or big anti-government protests at home early next year. The goal would be to strengthen Russia’s sovereignty in cyberspace. The proposals could also bring the domain .ru under state control, it suggested. Already the Russian TV and most of the country’s newspapers are under the Kremlin’s control.

The move comes at a time when Russia has been bitterly critical of the western media towards events in Ukraine. Russian channels have portrayed the conflict in Ukraine as a heroic fight against “fascists” in Kiev. They have disputed western reports that Russian soldiers and heavy weapons are involved.

Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russia’s spy agencies : The security council’s apparent proposal to take control over .ru, as well as the domains .su (for Soviet Union) and .рф (Russian Federation in Cyrillic). These domains currently belong to a non-government organisation.Kazakhstan, an authoritarian state intolerant of online criticism, did something similar two years ago.

An employee of a large communications provider said:” Moscow did not want to unplug the world wide web but to protect Russian cyberspace in case of further western sanctions that may affect the internet.”

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Latvia: Ethnic Russians Won The Largest Number Of Votes In Parliamentary Elections

Posted by Info on 07/10/2014

October 5 : The Harmony party, suported mainly by ethnic Russians and led by the mayor of Riga, Nil Ushakov, won 23% of the votes in the elections, while the coalition of three current ruling parties had 56% between them.

The results will give Harmony 25 seats in Latvia’s 100-seat parliament, six fewer than before when they were also the largest single party in parliament. Other parties were reluctant to enter a coalition with what is seen as the “Russian party”.

A third of Latvia’s population is Russian-speaking, but about 290,000 are “non-citizens” of the country (14% of the population), holding special passports that bar them from voting and hold any public office. They have the right to a non-citizen passport issued by the Latvian government as well as other specific rights. Outside the EU, numerous countries allow visa-free travel for Latvian citizens but not for non-citizens.

In order to become citizens, they have to take an exam on Latvian culture and history. Latvian authorities say is necessary given the history of Soviet occupation and forced Russification policies of the past.

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Moscow: Protest Against Russia’S Involvement In Conflict In Ukraine

Posted by Info on 01/10/2014

Protest Moscow banner

About 26 000 people gathered in central Moscow on  last  Sunday to protest against their country’s involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine at an All-Russian March for Peace, the first large anti-Kremlin rally since the conflict started in April.

The protest was organised by longstanding opposition parties including Yabloko, Solidarity,  Parnas and  the Party of Progress organised by popular anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny. The protesters represented a variety of political views, but most were united in their opposition to what they see as a Kremlin policy to escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine by sending arms and soldiers across the border.

“We can wake up the Russian people, so that we won’t see any more Russian troops in Ukraine … Let Putin take out his troops, and Ukraine will deal with its own problems.”

“We want Ukraine to see that there are people in Russia who don’t support the war, Russia is directly participating in this war.”

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Ukraine – New Legislation – More Power To East To End Separatist Fighting

Posted by Info on 30/09/2014

Ukraine’s parliament has voted to give the east of the country limited self-rule and also ratified an agreement to deeper economic and political ties with the European Union.

The main points of the legislation, unveiled as part of a peace plan signed with pro-Russian insurgents and Moscow on 5 September are:

• The rebel-held Luhansk and Donetsk regions will be granted a “special status” giving them broader autonomy for a three-year period.

• Local elections will be held in some districts of the two mainly Russian-speaking regions on 7 December. The last local elections held nationwide were in October 2010.

• Use of the Russian language to be allowed in state institutions.

• Regional councils will have the power to appoint local judges and prosecutors.

• Local authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk can “strengthen good neighbourly relations” with their counterparts across the border in Russia.

• The legislation also promises to help restore damaged infrastructure and to provide social and economic assistance to particularly hard-hit areas.

• Another bill on amnesty protects from criminal prosecution “participants of events in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” – appearing to apply to both the insurgents and Ukrainian government troops. Rights groups have accused fighters on both sides of abuses that might be classified as war crimes.

Donetsk and Luhansk, known as the Donbass, have a combined population of nearly 7 million people (total in Ukraine 45,5 million people). But it is responsible for nearly a 174 of Ukraine’s exports and is home to strategic military production facilities that supply engines and other vital parts to the Russian space and aviation industries.

The industrial region with its coal mines and steelworks have been the engine of Ukraine’s economy since the 19th century.

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