Russian official accuses rights activists of sowing destructive ideas

Vladimir Markin file photo

(Interfax – June 10, 2013) Official spokesman for the Russian Investigations Committee Vladimir Markin has said that human rights activists do not always take an objective stance on some criminal cases and sometimes come up with ideas which are destructive for law and order, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 10 June.

“Alas, numerous social commentators and human rights activists in fact often turn out to be proponents of destructive and not at all legal ideas. Human rights advisors here support notorious extremists, putting them on a par with defenders not only of the state but also of the legal order,” Markin said in an interview to Interfax.

“Or another recent example is open lobbying by rights experts of the interests of people convicted of serious crimes, and, as it turns out, not selflessly either,” Markin said.

“It is a paradox but inveterate rights activists are guided by revolutionary legal awareness, right up to notions that the worse it is for the state, the better it is for the cause of another revolution. Meanwhile, in the expression ‘state governed by the rule of law’, ‘governed by the rule of law’ describes ‘state’ and not anything else; it does not describe revolution, not chaos, nor civil war. Therefore it is necessary to protect the state as the base value, and only then is it possible to introduce even higher values of law,” Markin said.

The news website NEWSru.com, meanwhile, reported that Markin’s comment about “open lobbying” was a reference to prominent economist Sergey Guriyev, who fled Russia in May because he had been questioned by state investigators and feared being imprisoned in connection with the Yukos case.

In 2011, Guriyev was one of six Russian and three foreign experts commissioned by the Human Rights Council under then President Dmitriy Medvedev to write a report on the second Yukos trial, in which former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovskiy and his co-defendant Platon Lebedev were sentenced to fresh jail terms.

The website reported that the experts “are suspected of lobbying the interests of the former Yukos management in exchange for financing by the former oil company’s foreign structures”.

Need to promote rule of law

Markin also congratulated colleagues on the 30th anniversary of the founding of press services in the system of the Russian Interior Ministry.

“There are still very many problems in the law-enforcement system, including systemic ones. Colleagues, through our efforts we cannot make the picture as rosy as we or our management would like. But a lot and, above all, society’s attitude to our departments depends on us, and this means the psychological state of personnel as well, which the speed of positive processes depends on,” Markin added.

“The longer I work in my current post, the more I am convinced that the duty and honour has fallen precisely to us of being the proponents and exponents of the principles of a state governed by the rule of law,” he said.

He added that “it depends on us to use each incident and even every scandal for positive aims, to promote the values of the rule of law. Such use of an official position is not only normal but also very necessary for our society.”

Markin said that the most important principle of a state governed by the rule of law which needs to be promoted is “unconditional respect for defenders of law and order”.

“Any attack on a policeman, an attempt on the life of an investigator, contempt of court and so on should be sternly stopped and all of society should remember this, irrespective of their social status or national characteristics. Otherwise we will never establish order in the country,” he concluded.