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Belief in a good Tsar
Written by Игорь Таро   
Четверг, 05 Июнь 2008
In his first month as president, Dmitry Medvedev has already received several open letters in the press, in which the authors ask the head of state to reconsider certain judicial decisions or resume the investigations of sensational cases.

Last week human rights advocates sent a letter to the Kremlin, asking for the pardon of 15 Russian citizens, including one of the former owners of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, as well as some scientists who had been locked up on charges of espionage.

The authors of the letter write that, without the release of political prisoners, the state cannot be considered democratic and, therefore, the moral right of Russia to consider its participation in the 'Big Eight' would depend on further actions from Medvedev.
Letter from human rights advocates

Despite the fact that representatives of many organizations and human rights advocates, including former Czech President Vaclav Havel, signed the letter, human rights center ‘Memorial’ did not add its signature.
“On the one hand, the entry into office of a new President is a good thing, but on the other hand, especially in this situation, it is really only people’s hopes, and not a real change,” explained media board member Alexander Cherkasov as to why they remained on the sidelines.

A week later the Wall Street Journal published another open letter to President Medvedev. Alena and Tatyana Morozova, sisters who had lost their mother in the bombing of an apartment building on Guryanov Street in Moscow on September 9th, 1999, appealed to the head of state. They ask for the resumption of the investigation into the bombings of apartment buildings in Russia.

“Many Russians have come to the conclusion that the bombings were the work of the Russian secret services,” the sisters wrote. “Mr. President, we have written this open letter in the hope that, under your reign, this Time of Troubles in Russian history will come to an end. You had nothing to do with it.”

The Morozova sisters indicated that Medvedev had nothing to do with what happened during the Putin presidency. The letter from the human rights activists is also mainly based on this postulate.

Maintaining Putin’s course

During Putin’s reign, Dmitry Medvedev held several high-ranking positions in the Kremlin administration. For the first four years he was deputy to Alexander Voloshin, then he headed the presidential administration, and eventually became deputy prime minister. If any organization in Russia and holds real power, it is the presidential administration. Thus, the assertion that Medvedev has nothing to do with events of the time of Putin's presidency, is either wrong, or used in hopes of changing course from that of the previously reigning president.

Secondly, the human rights advocates are too quick to forget the scheme of transfer of presidential power, which the Kremlin used to keep the situation stable and unchanged. In the same way that Putin's task during his time was to stabilize the situation after Yeltsin, the main mission of Medvedev is to maintain Putin’s course.

If it had occurred to Medvedev to undo court decisions in political cases, then, besides the 15 political prisoners indicated in the letter, he would have to release hundreds of convicts.

“Great Cleansing”

Resumption of an investigation into the bombings of apartment buildings could once again draw attention to Beslan and ‘Nord-Ost’, since the relatives of the victims of these tragedies are also dissatisfied with the results of investigations.

This “great cleansing” could only be possible if a truly new face were to appear in the Kremlin, not someone representing the interests of the ruling groups.

The hope that one of the wolf pack, when called upon by animal rights advocates, would suddenly be smitten with a love for sheep, is obviously ephemeral. For the human rights advocates it is merely another opportunity to get noticed. For the Morozova sisters, it is a personal tragedy.


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