On political reprisals against YABLOKO activists
Statement by YABLOKO’s Bureau
February 5, 2013
The YABLOKO party notes with concern a new wave of reprisals against YABLOKO members.
The adoption of the Federal Law “On the Counteraction to the Extremist Activity” encouraged the law enforcement activities that are clearly violating the law: gathering information about the members of the party and their activities, inviting them for ‘conversations’ [in the police], detentions, searches, seizure of documents and institution of criminal proceedings.
According to the Federal Security Bureau Department (FSB) for the Sverdlovsk region, the YABLOKO party is a radical oppositional structure sharply criticising the state authorities and negatively assessing broadening of the proxies of the FSB of Russia. According to FSB, it is a party setting such a goals as changing Putin-Medvedev’s regime, elimination of monopoly in politics, economy and media and the democratisation of the country.
Such political stance of the party was laid in the basis of the ruling of the Sverdlovsk Region Court giving a permission to wiretap all the telephone conversations conducted by Maxim Petlin, Chair of the Sverdlovsk Region branch of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO, control all his postal, telegraph and other messages and information from technical communication channels, as well as put him on surveillance.
After the decision of the court, further supported later by a judge of the Supreme Court in response to a complaint filed by Maxim Petlin [to the Supreme Court], we can conclude that a political surveillance regime has been introduced in respect of the YABLOKO party, as well as other opposition parties claiming similar goals.
This is confirmed by another request from the security services: the FSB in the city of Velsk in the Arkhangelsk Region send an inquiry so that to obtain a list of YABLOKO party members.
The state power bodies are persecuting representatives of a registered political party which has been acting openly and absolutely legally. For all the years of its operation the YABLOKO party has never provided an occasion for equating it with extremist organisations. Today, the government apparently regards the words “opposition” and “extremism” as synonyms.
Such actions not only fail to comply with, but completely violate the requirements of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and Federal Laws “On the Counteraction to Extremist Activity” and “On the Investigation and Surveillance” and belie the common sense.
Similar persecutions and an obvious danger of a getting an imprisonment term have already made Suren Gazaryan, activist of the Krasnodar branch of the YABLOKO party, who openly criticised Governor [of the Krasnodar Territory] Alexander Tkachyov, ask for political asylum in Estonia. Gazaryan is one of many politically active citizens who chose this way to avoid imprisonment. The phenomenon of political emigration is now back in our country.
Persecution of YABLOKO members is on a par with accusations and reprisals against the media, lawsuits and other forms of pressure against representatives of non-systemic opposition, environmentalists and civil activists.
The authorities have begun fighting against the opposition not in the elections but with the help of reprisals in accordance with the Stalinist model.
The YABLOKO party urges to immediately adopt measures so that to stop pressures and persecution of members of the YABLOKO party, as well as representatives of other opposition forces, and to bring those responsible [for such reprisals] to justice.