If you want to get a good insight into the true nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, just compare a news report on Voice of Russia, one of the Kremlin’s state-sponsored propaganda mouthpieces, with one from the same day on the same topic by Reuters.
Both stories address a ruling in April 2012 by the European Court for Human Rights. The Court was adjudicating a lawsuit by numerous survivors of the more than 22,000 Polish officers brutally and cravenly murdered in cold blood by the Russian secret police in the Katyn forest during World War II. First the Russian army arrived on the outskirts of Warsaw and watched while the Nazis liquidated the Warsaw Uprising, then they marched in and took the Nazis’ places as occupiers. Then they rounded up virtually the entire Polish officer corps, trucked them into the Katyn forest, shot them down in cold blood and planted signs making it appear the Nazis had committed the crime, one of the most barbaric in world history. They did this to eliminate the possibility that these offices might lead another uprising, this time against Russia.
The Reuters story reports truthfully on Russia’s numerous convictions for war crimes in Katyn. It also notes that the ECHR found itself unable to address the subsequent Russian investigation into the crime, which the survivors also said was a perversion of justice, for technical jurisdictional reasons. The Voice of Russia story ignores the convictions and only reports on the technical issue, making it appear Russia had been acquitted. It also minimized the possibility that the Polish families would pursue an appeal on the one area where Russia was not defeated, which it in fact they have done. The appeal is now moving forward and can be followed on Twitter here. Russia faces national humiliation and disgrace yet again.
Pussy Riot is also pursuing an appeal in the ECHR, asking the court to rule their persecution and imprisonment for singing in church was a violation of basic international norms of justice.
And now yet another legal battle has been opened against Russia. Google, on behalf of its YouTube website, has filed an appeal against Russia’s utterly barbaric new law that permits the government to block any website it wants for any reason, a law which the Kremlin has already tried to use against YouTube in connection with political videos. Inevitably, this case will end up before the ECHR as well, when Russian courts refuse to apply the nation’s constitution in defense of basic civil rights and liberties.
Russia can run, but it can’t hide from the ECHR. Russia has already been convicted there over and over again for state-sponsored murder, torture and kidnapping throughout the Caucasus. Now the legal front is widening, as determined victims of Russian aggression and abuse turn to the ECHR for justice. Russia is being exposed as a barbaric nation which will not observe basic civilized standards of behavior, thus alienating everyone from political allies to foreign investors. In the ECHR, Russia’s days are numbered.