Declaration of the international union ‘Memorial
The people, who remember the Soviet history, have no doubts about the events connected with the TV company HTB: the authorities return to the old well-proven methods of controlling mass media. The replacement of the editor-in-chief and the common ‘strengthening of the company administration is a well-known scheme, frequently applied to talented, popular and liberal mass media during the 70 years of the Soviet power. However, there is another aspect: the attempts to replace the discussion of urgent problems with lies of servile journalists brought the country to a collapse, from which Russia cannot free herself up to now.
The financial problems are not more than a pretext. Likewise, in the Soviet times, the people were incarcerated for parasitism, previously being sacked from their jobs. The erratic actions of court authorities, hardly testifying of the independence of courts, also resemble the blessed times.
The attitude to oppositional mass media is the main characteristic that permits to distinguish a responsible politician from a common power-seeker. The Russian public now has learned which power it voted for.
As to the journalists, who worked with HTB, they must know: the Russian society is grateful to them for their firm and principal opposition, although lost at the present. We are grateful to them because they were not afraid to loose. We hope that their professionalism and civil firmness will be demanded in todays Russia.
International union ‘Memorial
14 April 2001