POISON, TORTURE, LIES AND REPRESSION: HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSSIA TODAY
-  NEW REPORT LAUNCHED

23 OCTOBER 2018

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was once the richest man in Russia and spent ten years in prison for his opposition to Vladimir Putin’s regime, will speak at the launch of a major new report on human rights in Russia on Tuesday 23 October, alongside Marina Litvinenko, widow of murdered Alexander Litvinenko, and Bill Browder, a former investor in Russia whose lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was beaten to death in a Russian jail.

The report – titled Poison, Torture, Lies and Repression: Human Rights in Russia Today – will be released on Tuesday 23 October by the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission. The report is the result of a long inquiry by the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, chaired by Fiona Bruce MP, which held three hearings in Parliament and received written submissions from Russian activists, international human rights organisations and Russian experts.

The launch will take place from 4pm-6pm on 23 October, in Room G32 in Millbank House (near College Green), just across from the House of Lords in Westminster. Media are welcome.

Fiona Bruce MP will give opening remarks, and David Burrowes, former Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate and a member of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, will chair proceedings. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Marina Litvinenko and Bill Browder, all of whom provided evidence to the Commission’s inquiry, will then speak.

The report covers in detail violations of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of religion or belief, restrictions on civil society space, the absence of judicial independence, torture and ill-treatment, violations on the grounds of sexual orientation, violations in the Caucuses and Crimea, assassinations, harassment and detention of political opponents, and discusses the possible impact of so-called ‘Magnitsky’ legislation to impose targeted sanctions on those who commit or are complicit with torture. Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza told the Commission in his evidence, “Arbitrary detention, slanderous propaganda, electoral disenfranchisement, and even long-term imprisonment are not the worst consequences for those who oppose the regime. Increasingly, murder or attempted murder is becoming a tool of political reprisals in Russia”. In an appeal to the international community, dissident Oleg Kozlovsky told the Commission: “Damage is caused … by inaction or turning a blind eye to rights violations, such as congratulating Putin on his ‘re-election’, which was anything but democratic, or the recent calls for bringing him back to the G7/G8. It creates an impression that any amount of human rights violations will eventually (and sooner rather than later) be forgotten and forgiven.”

In her Foreword to the report, Fiona Bruce MP made the link between the report’s findings and recent events between Russia and Britain, saying: “Sometimes there will be people who will argue that a country is distant, with no particular connection to Britain, and therefore of little concern to us. Other times there will be those who will prioritise trade and investment, or geopolitical concerns, and argue that we should not jeopardise our relations with a given country by raising human rights concerns. But as in the case of Russia, our national interest and our moral duty are clearly and very obviously aligned. Martin Luther King Jnr said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a simple garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Vladimir Putin’s regime has attacked his critics on our streets, and endangered the lives of our citizens in the process. He is accused of interfering in elections in different parts of the world. Those who support his regime financially own property, do their shopping and invest their assets in London. He has sent submarines and jets close to our coast. His regime is a threat both to his own people, and to ours. And for that reason it is imperative that we take a stand, to speak out against the grave violations of human rights for which his regime is responsible, and to challenge its behaviour.”

The report details twelve recommendations for action to address the human rights crisis in Russia today.

Download the report:

View the submissions: