News / Europe

Freed Opposition Politician: Russia is Becoming Belarus-style Dictatorship

Russian opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov, right, and Eduard Limonov, face the media in Moscow after they were released from detention, Jan 17, 2011
Russian opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov, right, and Eduard Limonov, face the media in Moscow after they were released from detention, Jan 17, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Albina Kovalyova

A freed opposition politician is accusing Russian authorities of using dictatorial tactics against opposition figures. Boris Nemtsov was arrested during a government-sanctioned protest on New Year's Eve and sentenced to two weeks of imprisonment.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and now leader of the liberal, democratic Solidarnost political movement, Nemtsov is free after spending 15 days in prison.  He was among several people arrested at an officially approved demonstration December 31. That event called for freedom of assembly and is held in central Moscow on the 31st of each month.  

After his release, Nemtsov gave a joint press conference in central Moscow with fellow liberal, democratic opposition politicians. In a crammed small room packed with journalists, he said Russian authorities are becoming more like Belarussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

He said they hate Lukashenko, since dictators generally do not like each other, but at the same time they are copying his methods.  "I think what we are witnessing now is the Lukanization of Russia," said Nemtsov.

Belarus turned violent after the presidential elections last December. When opposition politicians took to the streets, they were met with violence from the police and arrested. About 25 remain in detention and are facing up to 15 years imprisonment.

Nemtsov said he wants to see Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stripped of his power and an investigation into his activities. He also urged the West to refuse visas to top Russian officials and their relatives to encourage more respect for democracy and civil rights.

Another Solidarnost leader who was arrested in Moscow on New Year's Eve, Ilya Iashin, said such detainment of opposition politicians could have very grave consequences for Russia.

He said the lawlessness of the courts, police and bureaucrats, the harassment of the opposition, the arrests of Kremlin critics and the unchangeable power - all this is a direct route to civil war.

Human-rights organization Amnesty International also condemned the arrests and said those detained were prisoners of conscience”  

Friedirika Behr of Amnesty International in Russia said the trial of Boris Nemtsov was unfair because the judge ignored mitigating evidence. "As much as we know, information other than from police officers who detained Boris Nemtsov and other people, other information that could have shed more light on what actually happened on that evening was not taken into consideration."

Last week, Nemtsov’s defense lawyer filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights over his arrest and imprisonment.

But an expert at the Russian based Center for Political Technologies, Olga Mifodeva, believes the arrest was a mistake, not a political scheme.

"I think that this decision was random," said Mifodeva. "It was not planned beforehand. It was just when they began to suppress the demonstration, the authorities decided to arrest him."

Mifodeva thinks the arrests were a political error for the Kremlin, because it made the opposition stronger, not weaker. Nemtsov said he is not afraid of the authorities and will continue to attend demonstrations marking the freedom of assembly.




You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid