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UKRAINE: The Tribunal for Putin: first legal assessment of genocide in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin: first legal assessment of genocide in Ukraine

On 28 August, the human rights initiative T4P launched its submission to the International Criminal Court, detailing the acts of genocide committed by Russia in and around the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

KHPG (06.09.2023) – “We chose to document acts of genocide in Mariupol”, said Yevgen Zakharov, director of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, which co-founded the T4P initiative, “because it was the most challenging task. Since 2 March 2022 there has been no direct communication with Mariupol and public services have not been working there: it presented a particularly dire situation. We could only gather information about the war crimes committed in the city through direct communication with the victims and witnesses.”

“We are convinced that acts of genocide were committed in Mariupol and the surrounding district,” said Mykhailo Romanov, a co-author of the submission: “and they took three forms: murder; creating conditions of life, calculated to destroy a protected group; and the deportation of children.”

The authors of the submission estimated that the death toll resulting from Russia’s siege and occupation of Mariupol was approximately 100,000 people. Mykhailo Romanov commented: “Back then, we could not determine the exact number. But by indirect means, i.e., by deducting from the total population those who reportedly had been evacuated, transferred to Russia or else, we calculated that around 100,000 must have been killed. They were murdered in different ways, using different methods and weapons, but in any case, these were murders.”

The submission may be read in both Ukrainian and English in the online library on human rights. Earlier, the T4P presented its submissions regarding Russian shelling of Ukraine: according to the initiative’s data, 84 percent of war crimes are directed at the civilian population.

“We have finally moved from what we feel to what we want recognized as an international fact, to what we wish to be written down in history books,” commented Oleksandra Romantsova, Executive Director of the Centre for Civil Liberties. “These are accusations not only against Putin but against the entire Russian regime during the last nine years. Mariupol is a vivid example of how thousands of people are suffering from the decision of Putin and his regime to wage war against Ukraine, to destroy the country and its people.”

“It is actually very frightening,” said Yevgen Zakharov. “The Russians methodically shelled and destroyed people’s homes, one after another. Snipers shot people queuing up for water or cooking food on a fire outside. Some people died because they stayed on the upper floors with no access and died there of hunger and thirst; during bombardments, people jumped from the upper floors, unable to tolerate this nightmare. They committed suicide, as they no longer had the strength to cope with it and saw no opportunity to escape. There are so many stories like this.”

Testimonies about events in Mariupol were earlier published in Voices of War: Mariupol, a volume of 24 interviews with people who managed to escape from the city and were interviewed by the Kharkiv Human Rights Group. The book will be presented later this year at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In Ukraine, it is available for sale in the Knyharnia Ye bookshop network.


Press conference with English translation: https://youtu.be/Y1_3IxTIP00

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RUSSIA: Conflicting values and conflicting narratives in Russia’s war on Ukraine

Conflicting values and conflicting narratives: the case of Russia’s war on Ukraine

Paper presented on 4 August at a session of the conference on peace held by the Universal Peace Federation in London. The title of the session was “Conflicting Narratives and Values – Perspective for a Common Vision and Peace Culture”


Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers


Internal conflicts and wars between neighboring countries do not suddenly break out from a vacuum as it is can be seen in Ethiopia or in Ukraine. They are often the results of ongoing tensions deeply rooted in history or in conflicting and even aggressive narratives. The wars in the Balkans after the collapse of the Yugoslav Federation in the 1990s were the last example of it in the 20th century. National, ethnic, linguistic and religious identities exacerbated by biased and inflammatory narratives in the political discourse, in the media and in school education as well as territorial claims were at the heart of massacres perpetrated for several years in former Yugoslavia. The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 2020 is another example of the dramatic consequences of long-standing violent rhetoric grounded in irredentist nationalism.


On 24 February, to everyone’s surprise, the Russian army invaded Ukraine from the north, the south and the east. But this should not have been a surprise. Since the duo Dmitry Medvedev – Vladimir Putin came to power in Moscow, Russia has been waging war ever.


Putin’s narratives in his successive wars


In 1999-2000, Vladimir Putin led the second Chechen war as Prime Minister. His publicly stated goal was the eradication of the Chechen nation. According to Putin’s narrative, it was not a war but a “special anti-terrorist operation” against separatists to preserve the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation. During this operation, the capital Grozny was completely razed to the ground by Russian bombing, to the extent that in 2003 the United Nations called Grozny “the most destroyed city on earth”. Since then, the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has probably overtaken it.


In 2008, Russia fomented the separatist war in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, recognised their independence and has since provided them with the so-called protection from its military. Putin’s narrative to justify his aggression was to save the Russian speakers of Georgia.


Since 2014, the Ukrainian territories of the Donbas and Crimea have been wrested from Ukraine. About the annexation of Crimea, Putin’s narrative was that Stalin had attached Crimea to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine by mistake and the inhabitants of the peninsula were historically Russian. As to the conflict in Donbas, Putin’s rhetoric was that it was an internal conflict between persecuted and discriminated Russian-speaking Ukrainians and their nationalist government in Kyiv but he claimed he was not involved. However, everybody knows that he was using the separatists as proxies to destabilize Ukraine.


In Syria, in 2015-2018, Putin’s war led to massive destruction. Officially, it was to help dictator Bashar al-Assad defeat ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups. It was also to protect Christians and their churches from these groups and thus appear as the great and only defender of Christianity in the Middle East, especially Orthodoxy, a path that European governments were reluctant to take for various reasons. Vladimir Putin was very publicly thanked by Eastern Orthodox church dignitaries for his military involvement in Syria.


However, behind this official narrative there was also the plan to rid Bashar al-Assad of his various political opponents, at the cost of massacring civilians, destroying homes, hospitals, schools, and infrastructure providing water and electricity to the population. Aleppo became a martyred city and Russia lost its seat on the UN Human Rights Council as a result.


Putin’s narrative is well known and well oiled. He is now applying it in the rest of Ukraine as he has done in all his other previous wars.


Putin’s dream of resurrecting a Russian Empire


In Putin’s narrative, Ukraine as a sovereign state never existed in the past and was called “Little Russia.” The current Ukrainian state is an artficial state run by Nazis, Ukrainian identity does not exist and the Ukrainian language is an offshoot of the noble and rich Russian language, according to Putin. The country must be allegedly denazified and disarmed. Ukraine is part of the Slavic world and therefore part of Russia, just like Belarus, he says. The current Ukrainian state, its language and culture must be destroyed. Its territory must be invaded by war whatever the cost, occupied and Russified again; its remaining inhabitants and their future generations must be colonised. This is the narrative that Putin is serving up to the entire Russian population and to the international community.


The Ukrainian counter-narrative is that Kyiv existed long before Moscow and was the cradle of Orthodoxy, first with the conversion of Prince Vladimir in Kherson by a bishop of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and then with the baptism of his people in Kyiv Rus in 988, while the first written records of Moscow’s existence date back only to 1147, 160 years later.


The war with its cynical procession of terror, war crimes and crimes against humanity enables Putin to depopulate the country through mass migrations to the West and mass deportations of Ukrainians to the East, to Russia. The territories occupied since 2014 have been colonised and Russified. All Orthodox churches that were not under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate have been eradicated, as have been other religions which did not recognise the annexation of Crimea and Putin’s rule.


Conflicting narratives?


But let us go back to the title of this session, which contains two key words: conflicting narratives. In totalitarian or dictatorial societies, there can be no confrontation of ideas. In the case of Putin’s Russia, there is only one truth: the one of the Leader. Putin has been preparing his war against Ukraine for a very long time. For two decades, he has built up a colossal armament, including nuclear weapons. With the blessing of Patriarch Kirill, he has progressively eliminated religious diversity, for example by criminalising the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremist. about a hundred of them are in prison for many years and many more are on the same path. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been expelled from Russia. All Russian NGOs receiving money from the West, including the European Union, have been accused of being foreign agents and banned.


The editor of Novaya Gazeta, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2021, had to close his newspaper to avoid going to prison. All independent media have been closed, fined heavily or have survived only abroad. More than 3,000 websites have been closed. A law has criminalized the use of the word “war” in public and private spaces, providing sentences of to 15 years in prison. Public anti-war demonstrations have been prohibited, and even individual silent picketing.


Putin’s instrumentalisation of the Russian Orthodox Church and vice versa


In Putin’s narrative, the claimed Slavic-Orthodox identity of Russia is strongly intertwined. This identity is supposed to be threatened by a decadent West that ‘advertises’ homosexuality, same-sex marriages, gender culture and other so-called decadent values in opposition to the traditional values of the Orthodox Church. A Western world that believes itself to be invested with a civilizational and civilizing mission and that it wants to impose on the rest of the world, including Russia and other Slavic lands, by financing NGOs, human rights organisations and media importing its pseudo-values into Russia. A messianism that has produced genocidal colonialism and supremacist imperialism for centuries, according to Putin. Hence the need to protect, vaccinate and purify Russian society against this Western plague.


Patriarch Kirill and the President have long been staunch allies in this fight against the West and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has blessed the war on Ukraine as a metaphysical war against evil forces. The growing desire of Ukraine to divorce itself from the Russian world and to make a new life for itself with another partner, the European Union based on democratic values, had become an existential threat to Russia. This ‘infidelity’ in a forced marriage had to be brought to an end. Hence the appalling war we are witnessing.




Let us return to the question in the title of this session “What are the prospects for a common vision of a culture of peace?” What are the prospects in the case of Russia and Ukraine? This question is coming too late because the war is too far advanced and perhaps we should have better worked on this issue in the West and in Ukraine in due time. Maybe the outcome would have been different but maybe not. So, the answer is now very simple and very short: these prospects are nil because the values of Russia and Ukraine have become irreconcilable. At most they could co-exist in their respective territories after the war, behind a cultural iron curtain. Maybe or maybe not.


Without wishing to play the Cassandra, however, I would dare say that there is something more serious ahead. Putin’s war in Europe against democratic values is only the first wide scale assault on the West. The great dictatorial and conquering empires of the past are waking up in Moscow, Istanbul and Beijing. China with its dictatorial regime is on the same path as Putin’s Russia against the expansion of Western values at home and in the world. It may now be time to think about avoiding a new hybrid global war starting in the Pacific.


Photo credits: Reuters

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RUSSIA: How the Russian Orthodox Church enabled Putin’s war on Ukraine

How the Russian Orthodox Church enabled Putin’s war against Ukraine

Viktor Yelenskyi

Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian Orthodox Church has often been accused of serving the interests of the State. Photo: NovayaGazeta.ru 

Russia’s war against Ukraine was greatly enabled by the Russian Orthodox Church, and its hierarchs are currently cheering on Putin’s invasion. Moreover, the need to “protect” the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine was one of the several false pretexts for the devastating attack on Ukraine. How did this happen and what will be the future of the Russian church, including its structures in Ukraine? Religious expert Viktor Yelenskyi explains. 

Euromaidan.Press (22.03.2022) – https://bit.ly/3MTR3nR – Religion and primary Eastern Orthodoxy has been one of the most sensitive issues in Russian-Ukrainian relations, even amid a tangled knot of acute political, economic, and humanitarian contradictions.

Church independence in Orthodoxy mostly follows political independence

Throughout the three centuries that have passed since 1686 when the Moscow patriarchate seized the established in 10th-century Metropolitanate of Kyiv from its weakened Constantinople Mother Church, the Ukrainians have repeatedly attempted to break away from Moscow’s ecclesiological dependence.

After Ukraine gained independence in 1991, the subjection of Ukrainian Orthodoxy to the Moscow Patriarchate became unacceptable to large segments of the Ukrainian elite. Although Orthodox theologians have argued convincingly that the Orthodox Church is a single Church and not a confederation or even a federation of Local Churches, the principle of localityremains one of the few undeniable principles within Orthodox ecclesiology.

Bluntly, one could say that with the exemption of ancient Churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, the establishment of Local self-governed (autocephalous) Churches coincided with the establishment of statehood, while the fall of statehood, in the end, led to the loss of autocephalous status (as were the cases in Serbian and Georgian histories).

The autocephaly granted to the Orthodox Churches of Greece, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Albania, Georgia, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and formerly to the Kingdom of Moscow, were justified essentially politically: by the formation of a sovereign state by respective nations.

Thus the question of acquiring autocephaly (or restoring autonomy, as in the case of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church) became the focus of church policy in Kyiv, Skopje, Tallinn, and Chisinau as early as the beginning of the 1990s; after 2006, Montenegrin Podgorica joined them as well.

A desire to break with subordination to Moscow

The eagerness to break with ecclesiastical subordination to Moscow in Ukraine has repeatedly intensified as the Moscow Patriarchate has come to terms with its subordinate role as a junior partner of the Russian state and has supported an official turn toward chauvinism, militarism, and the destruction of civil rights and freedoms in Russia itself.

In addition, the role of Russian Orthodoxy as a tool to achieve the tactical and strategic goals of Russian foreign policy was becoming increasingly aggressive.

A special role in this was played by the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, who was elected Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in 2009. It was Patriarch Kirill who revitalized the concept of the “Russian world” constructed by Russian political technologists and turned it into a geopolitical doctrine.

According to the Patriarch’s construct, the united “Russian world” should “become a strong subject of global world politics, stronger than all political alliances.”

Kirill, to the dismay and confusion of theologians, publicly proclaimed Russian control over Ukrainian Orthodoxy to seemingly be part of Orthodoxy’s teachings.

At the same time, the Kremlin blatantly instrumentalized Moscow Patriarchate to legitimize their messianic doctrines and foreign policy claims, declared Orthodoxy “an inseparable part of the effort to assert Russia’s original role on the world stage,” and then a key ideological construct in the confrontation with the West. 

President Putin himself said that Orthodoxy is closer to Islam than to Catholicism while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is returning to its traditional values, which are rooted in Orthodoxy, and as a consequence becomes less understandable to the West than it was during the Soviet times.

The Tomos: a historical moment for Ukrainian Church independence

With the beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014, the Moscow Patriarchate justified militarist-chauvinist, anti-Western and anti-Ukrainian discourses of Kremlin propaganda.

ROC’s clerics were directly involved in the occupation of Ukrainian lands, and the priesthood of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was becoming one of the most organized centers for promoting Russian narratives among those officially operating in Ukraine.

Patriarch Kirill himself headed the hybrid war’s religious battlefront.

In August 2014, he issued a letter to the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, in which he accused “Uniates and Schismatics” of waging a religious war against “canonical Orthodoxy.”

In May 2015, Patriarch Kirill announced that “godlessness is becoming the state ideology of Ukraine.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and almost unconditional support of Russian foreign policy by the Moscow Patriarchate forced the Ukrainian governmental and ecclesiastical circles to intensify their continuing efforts in gaining independence from the Russian Church.

In 2018, a window of opportunity finally opened for a solution to this problem that had been considered intractable. The first among equal in the east Orthodox World Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who, like his predecessors, had never recognized the legitimacy of the annexation of the Kyiv Metropolitanate by the Moscow Patriarchate in the 17th century, but had abstained from the decisive action on this track for a long time, finally decided to take a bold move.

Shocked by the Russian invasion and unheard of attempts by the Russian state and the Moscow Patriarchate to undermine his influence in the Orthodox world, emboldened by the unanimity of all branches of the Ukrainian government, Patriarch Bartholomew opened the procedure for granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine through the Tomos.

The efforts of the Russian secret services, intelligence, cybercriminals they control, and diplomacy to prevent Ukrainian autocephaly were unprecedented.

Patriarch Bartholomew’s bestowing of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine on 6 January 2019, which was enthusiastically received by Ukrainian society, was seen by the Kremlin as an extremely painful blow to the entire system of control over Ukraine and became a deep notch in the Russian dictator’s hate-filled brain.

Putin returned to this issue more than once, and each time he spared no words to demonstrate his frenzied anger.

The need to “protect” the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine was one of the several equally disgusting in their falsehoods pretexts for the devastating attack on Ukraine.

Putin also could not avoid this theme in his utterly false Hitler-style address to the Russians on the eve of a large-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops at the end of February 2022.

And it is the church buildings of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, whose leaders before the “great war” could not find the courage to object to any of Putin’s insane claims, that suffered the greatest destruction in its very first days.

As of mid-March, at least two dozen UOC MP’s churches in Luhansk, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kherson, and other oblasts had suffered from Russian shelling.

At the same time, even against the backdrop of the terrible suffering that has befallen Ukrainians since the first days of the invasion, the position of the Moscow Patriarchate deeply shocked those of them who until that time had considered themselves faithful to this Church.

Even Patriarch Kirill’s most loyal supporters were stunned by his sermon during the Forgiveness Sunday liturgy.

To the horror and outrage of his Ukrainian flock, Kirill blamed liberal western values, particularly gay pride parades, for Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine.

A week later, the Patriarch blessed Putin’s war by presenting an icon of the Virgin Mary to the head of the Russian National Guard and expressing hope for a “quick” victory over Ukraine.

More than five hundred Orthodox theologians, church figures, and professors mostly from the Western Universities signed the “Declaration on the ‘Russian World’ Teaching,” which states that the Russian war against Ukraine is rooted in a form of Orthodox religious fundamentalist, totalitarian false teaching called Russian world, repeatedly invoked and developed in speeches of President Putin and Patriarch Kirill over the last 20 years. Signatories rejected the “Russian world” heresy and the shameful actions of the Russian government in unleashing war against Ukraine as profoundly un-Orthodox, un-Christian, and against humanity.

Another 286 clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church issued a call for reconciliation and cessation of the war.

But in Russia, the voices of infuriated clerics, demanding that “the native Russian land must be cleansed of Banderite evil” and even calling for weapons of mass destruction to be used against Ukraine, are heard much louder.

Unlike even in Nazi Germany, where the state’s enslavement of the German Evangelical Church brought to life a resisting Bekennende Kirche (Confessing Church), in Russian Orthodoxy, there are no evidences of bishops, clergy, and laity’s rebellion against the Сhurch leadership’s flagrant ruptures with Evangelical truth.

Meanwhile, terrified and confused bishops and clergymen of the UOC-MP began, one by one, announcing they would cease commemorating Patriarch Kirill during the liturgy. This, of course, is the least they could do at a time when the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and other, less numerous churches and religious communities called for “prayer and work” to defeat the enemy.

Apparently, the episcopate of the UOC-MP, which bears undoubted responsibility for poisoning its flock in Ukraine with the heresy of the Russian world, is afraid of the possible consequences for itself but thinks little of repentance. The “Princes of the Church” are much more concerned with preserving their corporation.

Therefore, they impose ecclesiastical penalties on priests who have transferred to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, urging them not to take hasty steps and to decide the fate of their Church sometime in the future, “in a quiet time.” As a “Charter of Protection,” they use President Zelensky’s address, where he urged his compatriots to unite in the face of the deadly threat and put aside confessional, linguistic, and other disagreements. And certainly, the leadership of the UOC-MP does not consider for itself joining the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which would be the only proper move both from the moral and political standpoint and from the perspective of the Eastern Orthodox Canon Law.

However, it is obvious that church structures whose leadership in Moscow blesses the murder of Ukrainians precisely on the ground that they are willing to remain Ukrainians (because the notorious “denazification” declared as a purpose of invasion is nothing less than the de-Ukrainianization of Ukraine), have no place on Ukrainian soil.

We do not know right now how church figures who, for eight years, failed to notice the annexation of Crimea and Russian military aggression, boldly demanding peace from Kyiv and never from Moscow, will resolve this problem  The only thing that is obvious is that it will be impossible for them to avoid finding a solution, as they have thus been able to do.

It is also clear that Russian Orthodoxy is deeply infected with the cult of militarism, imperial exceptionalism, and the apology of violence, and this infection has spread beyond Russian borders. Most likely, getting rid of the corrode conscience infection would require dismantling the monstrous patriarchal structures that have been firmly embedded into Putin’s political-military machinery and a total reestablishment of the entire church organization.

And undoubtedly, the recovery will be a long and tortuous one.

Viktor Yelenskyi is Head Research Fellow at the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Science of Ukraine. He authored a great number of books, articles, and essays on religious freedom, religion and politics, and global religious trends. As a Member of the Verkhovna Rada of the 8th convocation he also drafted several Bills on Cultural Heritage, Sea Memorial, Church and State issues, and Creative Industries which successfully went through Parliamentarian voting.


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Украина-Россия: членство в НАТО, права человека и мир (English: https://bit.ly/3JR8Bzs)

Украина-Россия: членство в НАТО, права человека и мир

English: https://hrwf.eu/ukraine-russia-nato-membership-human-rights-and-peace/  

Аарон Родс для организации «Права человека без границ» (Human Rights Without Frontiers)


HRWF (23.02.2022) – По мере выдвижения российских «миротворческих» войск на запад для «защиты» самопровозглашённых республик в составе суверенной Украинской территории, многие обвиняют Организацию Североатлантического договора (НАТО).


Объясняя свои действия в  обращении к нации 21 февраля, президент Российской Федерации Владимир Путин заявил, что «США и НАТО приступили к беззастенчивому освоению территории Украины как театра потенциальных военных действий». Но западные критики также часто заявляли, что с 1989г. «расширение НАТО на восток» было империалистическим, бесцеремонным, или, во всяком случае, недостаточно осмотрительным шагом, а по мнению некоторых аналитиков,  «расширение НАТО», рассматриваемое как организованная стратегия доминирования, вызвало негативные тенденции в политическом развитии Российской Федерации.


И российские, и западные критики расширения НАТО методично отрицали какую-либо роль или действия граждан государств, которые осознанно выбрали этот путь, а также их основания для этого. И «диванные» эксперты в области геополитики, и авторитарные государственные деятели на востоке либо сознательно игнорируют, либо неправильно истолковывают политическую динамику привлечения новых членов НАТО для граждан государств постсоветского пространства.  И если членство в НАТО воспринимается как гарантия безопасности от нападения иностранных государств, его последствия для внутреннего, политического развития страны и защиты прав человека по большей части упускаются из виду.


На самом деле, именно политические, а не связанные с обеспечением безопасности аспекты вступления в НАТО способствуют тому, что так много граждан стран с переходной экономикой стремятся к тому, чтобы их государства присоединились к Североатлантическому альянсу. Представителям динамичного гражданского общества Украины, выступающим за членство в НАТО, несомненно, небезразлична свобода и суверенитет их родины – вступление в НАТО почти наверняка предотвратило бы раскол и дробление Украины, которое мы сегодня наблюдаем.


Однако,  какое бы важнейшее значение не имели эти преимущества, еще больше демократическое гражданское общество привлекает к вступлению в НАТО тот факт, что государства, подписавшие Североатлантический договор 1949 года, взяли на себя обязательства осуществления гражданского и демократического контроля над своими вооруженными силами, а также обеспечения общественной прозрачности в отношении системы распределения, планирования и управления материальными средствами на нужды обороны. По мере увеличения числа государств, которые обращались за рассмотрением их членства в НАТО в 1990-е годы, они должны были соответствовать все более обширным, демократически ориентированным критериям в рамках «Партнерства ради мира». В соответствии с законодательством США все страны, обращающиеся за помощью о соответствии критериям НАТО должны быть оценены с точки зрения того, насколько ситуация с правами человека соответствует уставу ООН, Всеобщей декларации прав человека и Хельсинкскому Заключительному акту. Задача оценивания стран-кандидатов для вступления в Альянс была возложена на Комиссию по безопасности и сотрудничеству в Европе, независимое двухпартийное правительственное агентство при Конгрессе США, выполняющее функции мониторинга и анализа. Комиссия анализировала  «обеспечение верховенства закона, а также приверженность ценностям, принципам и политическим обязательствам, изложенным в Хельсинкском Заключительном акте» и его последующих документах, а также другим международным стандартам прав человека.


Соблюдение странами-членами НАТО принципов прав человека было справедливо поставлено под сомнение в ряде случаев, в частотности, в отношении Турции, где «основы верховенства закона последовательно разрушались, а экономика страны страдает от непродуманной политики и многолетного кумоства». Однако, НАТО – это альянс, а не образование, отражающее морально-этическую неоднородность мирового сообщества, члены которого в основном разделяют фундаментальные принципы цивилизованного общества.  Статья 2 Североатлантического договора гласит, что «договаривающиеся стороны будут содействовать дальнейшему развитию мирных и дружественных международных отношений путем укрепления своих свободных учреждений, путем достижения лучшего понимания принципов, на которых основаны эти учреждения, и путем развития условий, обеспечивающих стабильность и благосостояние. Они будут стремиться устранять конфликты в своей экономической международной политике и будут поощрять экономическое сотрудничество между всеми ими или любыми из них».


Разумеется, эти слова находят отклик у всех людей, которых заботит их собственная политическая свобода, мир с соседними государствами и дружеские отношения с ними.  Они утверждают, что свободные общества не воюют с другими государствами. Действительно, для «военного» договора формулировки достаточно философские:  когда в договоре говорится о достижении «лучшего понимания принципов, на которых основаны эти учреждения», в нем косвенно подразумевается роль независимых политических сил в воспитании морально-нравственных ценностей и критического мышления. Демократические государства не могут оставаться безучастными, они должны постоянно подпитывать свой политический курс и институты честными диалогом об основополагающих принципах.


Во многих случаях борцы за демократию и правозащитники по этой причине рассматривали членство в НАТО не со стратегической точки зрения, не как защиту от вторжения, а как гарантию того, что недемократические и милитаристские силы в их собственных государствах будут изолированы окончательно и бесповоротно.


Сегодня, когда российские войска ведут захват территории Украины в значительной степени из-за вопроса вступления Украины в Североатлантический Альянс, всем нужно тщательно изучить морально-этическую сторону договора. России нечего опасаться, так как членство в НАТО будет способствовать тому, что украинские вооруженные силы будут находиться под демократическим контролем, которое обеспечит открытость действий вооруженных сил Украины и сотрудничества с НАТО в соответствии с Договором. Другими словами, Украина будет обязана придерживаться принципа ненападения.


Российскому народу тоже нужны гарантии безопасности НАТО, с учетом усиливающихся позиций Китая в стремлении к мировому господству. Принимая во внимание последние события, гарантии защиты от военного авантюризма становятся все более актуальными. Очевидно, что российская внешняя политика сегодня определяется решениями одного человека, отдающего приказы группе безропотных функционеров. В стране отсутствуют верховенство закона, демократический надзор или ответственность.  Ничего сегодня не может быть важнее для безопасности российского народа, чем свободные институты и гражданский контроль над представляющей опасность военной мощью страны.


Аарон Родс  – старший научный сотрудник «Общества здравого смысла» (the Common Sense Society) и президент организации «Форум религиозной свободыЕвропа» (the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe).  Он занимал должность исполнительного директора Международной хельсинкской федерации по правам человека с 1993 по 2007 гг.


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УКРАИНА: Религиозная свобода в Крыму и Донбассе: Перспективы



Др. Аарон Роудс для организации Права Человека Без Границ.
HRWF (24.01.2022) – https://hrwf.eu – В 2014 г. Российская Федерация взяла украинский регион, Донбасс под свой контроль через процесс военного проникновения вместе с пророссийскими сепаратистами, создавая две лояльные России структуры: Донецкую Народную Республику (ДНР) и Луганскую Народную Республику (ЛНР). Россия также прямо присоединила к себе Республику Крым как субъект федерации.
Граждане Украины теперь могут со стороны Российской Федерации ожидать дальнейшие военные или кибернетические атаки, или, может быть, государственный переворот, намеривая установить Российский контроль. Некоторые эксперты во всем этом видят попытку воссоздать новую Российскую Империю из тех государств, которые достигли независимости после распада Советского Союза.
Много наблюдателей в мировом сообществе озабочены возможными серьезными последствиями таких сценарий, но также важно изучать ограничения прав человека в оккупированных регионах, где законы и административная практика были изменены российскими властями и каким образом такие подходы могли бы быть распростронены.
Российский контроль над оккупированными регионами Украины особенно касается основных прав на свободу вероисповедания и веру. Не может удивлять то, что уважение к свободе религии в Донбассе и Крыму по важным пунктам напоминает ситуацию в самой Российской Федерации. За последние десятилетия Российское Государство приняло постепенно более навязчивые и ограничительные законы в этой сфере, которые особенно касаются религиозных меньшинств.
В 2021-ом году Коммиссия Соединенных Штатов по Свободе в Мире (USCRIF) характеризовала Российскую Федерацию «страной, вызывающей особую озабоченность» на ряду с немногими другими странами, так как о Северной Кореи. Коммиссия писала, что власти продолжают преследовать «нетрадиционные религиозные меньшинства, которые приговариваются к штрафам, подвергаются арестам и против которых возбуждаются уголовные дела».
Российское государство считает «экстремизм» преступлением, но это понятие не имеет четкого юридического определения. Это дает властям возможность возбуждать уголовные дела по целому ряду ненасильственных религиозных действий.
USCRIF заметил, что власти полностью запретили как «экстремистов» Свидетелей Иеговы и этим сделали незаконным для 170.000 граждан исповедовать свою религию. USCRIF тоже заметил, что против этой группы граждан возбуждено 188 уголовных дел. В то же время «случаи пыток» все еще не расследуются и виновные не наказываются.
Исламская организация Хизб ут-Тахрир в России запрещена с 2003-его года. Многие ее члены были российскими судами приговорены к тюремному заключению за, так называемые, «террористические акты». Эти приговоры осудила организация Human Rights Watch.
По тому же образцу, ограничения свободы вероисповедания происходят в оккупированных регионах Украины.
Российские власти возбудили уголовные дела против многочисленных крымских татар, принадлежащих к коренному мусульманскому тюркскому населению по обвинению якобы «в связях с Хизб ут-Тахриром». Их обвинили в экстремизме и терроризме. Десятки людей находятся в тюрьмах. Это надежные эксперты в области гражданского общества считают злоупотреблением российского закона против терроризма.
Американская общественная организация Freedom House писала о том, как граждан поощряют доносить в Федеральную Службу Безопасности (ФСБ) на любого человека, который выражает несогласие с такой политикой.
Запрет Российской Федерацией Свидетелей Иеговы также распространяется на Крым. Пять членов той общины были приговорены к тюремному заключению. Свидетели Иеговы запрещены как в поддержанной Россией «Луганской Народной Республике», так и в «Донецкой Народной Республике».
Офис Верховного комиссара ООН по Правам Человека констатировал, что многочисленным общинам, которые были признаны украинским законодательством, новые, незаконные органы ЛНР, ДНР и Крыма в перерегистрации отказали под предлогом, что не выполняли критерии регистрации, действующие в Российской Федерации: Баптистам, Пятидесятникам и Адвентистам Седьмого Дня в перерегистрации отказали.
Ведется политика жителей регионов Украины, оккупированных и контролируемых Россией принудить войти в Московский Патриархат Восточной Православной Церкви чтобы дестабилизировать Православную Церковь Украины, которую российские власти рассматривают как препятствие для духовного и политического соединения двух стран.
Брюссельская организация IPHR, вместе с Центром Гражданских Свобод, в 2015. г. написали, что в Донбассе сепаратисты «православную религию используют как идеологическую основу «строительства государства». Все то, что не русско-православное рассматривается как иностранное, чужое». Организации показали на то, что с момента начала конфликта, «в регионе десятки мест вероисповедания были захвачены» и  обратили внимание на «случая захвата людей, пытки и другие виды жестокого обращения и даже убийства священников и запреты религиозной практики, которая выходит за рамки Православия Московского Патриархата».
Россия стоит за напряженными отношениями между двумя ветвями Восточной Православной Церкви. Основы такой политики озвучил российский президент Владимир Путин в статье, опубликованной в июле 2021ого г., под заголовком «Об историческом единстве украинцев и русских». В этой статье Путин написал, что Московский Патриархат Восточной Православной Церкви «столетиями является символом» «родства» русских и украинцев. По его мнению, Украинская Православная Церковь – политическая структура, выдуманная светскими властями в те времена, когда Украина принадлежала к Великому Княжеству Литовскому.
Свобода вероисповедания находится в центре российской угрозы украинскому суверенитету и национальной идентичности. Соответственно, требования соблюдать свободу вероисповедания должны находиться в центре усилий всех государственных структур и групп гражданского общества, цель которых – возврат в Украину всех оккупированных Россией регионов.
При нынешнем нестабильном статус-кво, с применением насилия против граждан, европейские и международные власти должны привлечь к ответственности Российскую Федерацию за соблюдение ей – или несоблюдение – свободы вероисповедания и всех юридических прав человека в регионах, незаконно оккупированных Россией. Если этого не сделать, это бы считалось как признание и легитимизацию российской оккупации. Отсутствие требований соблюдать основные свободы в регионах Украины, находящихся под российской оккупацией, значило бы признание российского суверенитета над этими регионами. Все мы должны настаивать на соблюдении признанных мировым обществом границ.
Др. Аарон Роудс – старший сотрудник Общества Здравого Смысла и председатель Форума Свободы Вероисповедания в Европе. Он является автором книги «Обесценивание Прав Человека» (“The Debasement ofHuman Rights” – Encounter Books, 2018)

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