06. Oct. 2012

Business daily Kommersant

Moscow, Russia

Not only Russia is suffering but all Europeans might miss a great opportunity

By Tamila Dzhodzhua

When and how was the assessment conducted?

This was a work of 30 months. More than a dozen people of the different instances of the Council of Europe, its legal, political, social, cultural branches and departments who follow all kind of developments in Russia, contributed to it. The memorandum has 550 Paragraphs on over 60 pages. The resolution contains 25 Paragraphs and 30 Subparagraphs and was discussed during 4 hours and voted word by word after about 30 amendments by the monitoring committee last Tuesday in Paris. Now the Resolution will be in detail discussed by the Assembly during another three hours in October in the next session in Strassbourg I am sure that there will be also again 50 amendments to be decided too!

Whom did co-rapporteurs meet to obtain information?

We where since January 2010, when we have been appointed rapporteurs, nine times in Moscow, Kazan, Murmansk, St. Petersburg, Irkutsk, Astrakhan and Nischni Nowgorod and spend on the whole 30 days at these places discussing with more than 100 Russians - from the young activist and housewife until the Duma members and ministers - the only two we were never allowed to meet were the president and the Prime minister!

What sources did you use?

More than 100 different sources of all kinds and levels and from all sides, the Russian institutions and agencies until the NGO, opposition groups as well as personal meetings with scientific people and writers, whom I appreciate personally very much.

What are the main conclusions of the report?

This work cannot be summed up in three seconds. The most important messages: We face a crucial moment in the short history of the old Russian society. Never ever so many engaged citizens of a new civil society opened the system so effectively for democratic reforms of all kind which the big majority of the Russian people need so urgently in order to have a rich, fair and free future. Never ever the opportunity to realize these reforms in the interest of most Russians were so big and so promising. And we appeal to all the responsible people and authorities not to miss this unique opportunities, which are essential for a descent and most fulfilling future of 99 % of the Russian people.

When will the resolution be submitted for approval? And what consequences might it have?

In October it will be voted and decided. The consequence will be that more of us know what to do in order to find peace, freedom, justice and social progress for all of us and why we need each other to achieve this, Russians and all the other Europeans. When we want to come closer to what we aim for then we need each other, when some Russians neglect the interest of 99 % of the Russians and diminish their freedom, close this window for democratic reforms and social progress, than not only Russia is suffering but all Europeans miss a unique chance. -- I do personally hope that the new quality of reflections, debates and interactions we could built until now between our Russian colleagues and the other European Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe will make a existential difference the Russian citizens can see in the future too.

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