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12.02.2009

Russian human rights defenders receive threats

   

The Deputy Director of the Sova Centre which carries out monitoring and research into xenophobia and human rights in Russia has received a letter containing threats. Galina Kozhevnikova told the BBC Russian Service that she had received an email from the “Militant Terrorist Organization”.

The letter states that 2009 will be full of attacks, killings and beatings. The authors hinted that this was also related to Kozhevnikova.

The letter was letter on the eve of the public presentation of the annual report prepared by the Sova Centre entitled “Radical nationalism in Russia and countering it”.

Galina Kozhevnikova believes that ultra-rightwing organizations interested in attracting attention through any means are behind the threats. She says that society has wearied of crimes “of a racist nature”, and the neo-Nazis need to come up with new ways of getting themselves noticed.

“Of course I’m frightened but I’m accustomed to differentiating between fear and cowardice, and the instinct for self-preservation will not force me to give up the work I love”, she said.

Human rights defenders believe that at present the first task must be to contain the wave of violence in Russia and to begin work on changing the ethnocentric attitudes.

“We are not yet citizens of Russia (rosiyanye).  We are still Russians (russkiye), Tatars, Chechens who live in Russia”, Galina Kozhevnikova is convinced.

From www.bbc.co.uk/russian

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