While allegedly on the list of persons being hunted for, Zazvonov
traveled abroad on several occasions and neither the border guards, nor the
immigration and customs departments seemed to be aware of any such manhunt.
Following interference by some human rights advocates, Zazvonov was released
from custody, but the investigation is still going on and the work of his
company is being seriously impaired as a result thereof. One of the main reasons
for the authoritiesРў discontent with Zazvonov was his participation in the
last elections as a rival of the current mayor, as well as his intention to run
for mayor in the forthcoming elections. Another
contender for the mayorРўs office in the forthcoming elections is the current
chief prosecutor of the town. ZazvonovРўs
example offers ample evidence of the fact that the authorities, rather than
using criminal prosecution as a lever for enforcing law and order, easily resort
to such methods as a means to persecute dissident businessmen while resolving
disputes over ownership rights, or eliminate and intimidate potential
adversaries in forthcoming election campaigns.
our view, the democratic institutions, including one of the major gains of
Russian democracy, i.e., free and independent elections of the representatives
of the legislative and executive branches of government, are under the menace of
complete liquidation. This may
result in the emergence in Russia of an authoritarian system denying its
ideological and political opponents any chance to express their views.
The rigging of elections appears to be much easier now, considering that
the automatic counting system known as РЈElectionsР¤ is currently under direct
control of the Federal Security Service. Meanwhile,
the judicial system is being eroded, as it is growing increasingly corrupt and
susceptible to manipulation, including when there occurs a conflict of interests
between businessmen and big-time operators having extensive links with the
powers that be. Generally
speaking, the logic of the evolution of the Russian legal system [shows that the
latter] is obviously creating a framework whereby any socially active person may
be exposed to the threat of being persecuted.
representatives of Russian NGOs in 2003 reported on the problems associated with
breaches of civil liberties in Russia to OSCE conferences and meetings of the UN
Human Rights Committee. The Russian
human rights organizations delivered an
alternative report on observance of the International Pact on Civil and
Political Rights in the Russian Federation to the UN Human Rights Committee.
The Moscow-based Helsinki group coordinated the drafting of the report.
Based on this report, the Human Rights Committee drafted its
Recommendations in respect of Russia.
the OSCE conference for the prevention of tortures (held in Vienna on 6-7
November 2003), a representative of the delegation of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands to the OSCE was advised of the facts evidencing that the inmates of
Russian investigatory isolation wards were subjected to tortures.
Russian delegation suggested that a special OSCE envoy should be sent to Moscow
to monitor compliance with law by the Russian law enforcement agencies and
courts while investigating and examining criminal cases in connection with the
so-called YUKOS Affair, as well as criminal cases instituted against attorneys
and human rights champions. We also
insist on a new OSCE mission to Chechnya.
presume that the firm position of the international institutions, above all, of
so highly reputed a body as the OSCE, in respect of the negative processes
currently occurring in Russia must be made pubic immediately.
hereby request you to consider the question of the participation of the Russian
delegation of non-governmental organizations in the OSCE Ministerial CouncilРўs
meeting to be held in Maastricht on 1-2 December 2003.
Our delegation will deliver a report on the human rights situation in
Ponomarev, All-Russia Public Movement for Human Rights
Babushkin, Public Charity Committee for Human Rights