RCFS at Vienna

Although its relations with NGOs in general are increasingly frosty, the Russian government seems to have taken an especial dislike to the Russian Chechen Friendship Society, which a Russian court recently ordered to be dissolved. The main reason for the hostility -which exceeds the norm in such cases – appears to be the fact that the Society once published some public statements by Aslan Maskhadov (murdered by Russian forces in March 2005) and Akhmed Zakayev (now living in London, England). This, it appears, is enough to brand the RCFS as an “extremist organization”.

Now Russian representatives at the OSCE are objecting to an invitation issued to the RCFS to attend the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting on Freedom of Assembly, Association and Expression that is currently taking place in Vienna, Austria.

Oksana Chelysheva writes (via JP):

I am in Vienna now at the OSCE meeting. The day was really horrible as the Russian official delegation kept labelling us terrorists. One “political technologist from the Kremlin’s public chamber even insulted me in public…

Their behaviour is so absurdly stupid that all the delegations here are expressing their indignation. Except the Spanish who want “to make the balance” and not “offend their Russian friends”. I am coping with it although it really hurts.

As an honorary member of the RCFS, I protest against the behaviour of the Russian authorities, which is surely counter-productive, and will only serve to increase antipathy between Russia and the West.

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