On the 24th of July protesting miners applied to court. They filed a suit for the protection of honour and dignity in connection with the offensive statements of the General Director of the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre Valery Fyodorov. CEPR presents their official statement:
Statement of the Initiative Group of Protesting Miners in Gukovo and CEPR
After the anti-corruption protest that took place on June 12, the well-known Russian TV host Vladimir Solovyov called the participants of this action «2% of crap». On June 28, 2017, on the air of the television channel TV Rain, the General Director of All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre Valery Fyodorov, continuing the thought of Solovyov, noted that in fact in Russia the number of such «crap» is much bigger. The All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre is the country’s main sociological pollster, which regularly conducts sociological surveys, revealing the most important problems, measuring the ratings of politicians (including the rating of V. Putin), etc.
From the arguments of Fyodorov it follows that according to his calculations, we can talk about 15% of Russians, who (quote): «… get involved in various discussions about the fate of Russia, without being concerned about it in reality. These are people who do not have any love for our homeland … there is no desire to make it any better! They are people who are always ready to criticize, protest, with or without reason, whether it concerns them or not…. They are those who have a negative attitude towards the course of Vladimir Putin, his regime and, in part, towards his personality…».
Having made this statement, Fyodorov has publicly insulted many people who oppose the injustice of Russia’s political and economic system and are striving to change it. According to Fyodorov’s logic, any dissatisfied and protesting person is endowed with an insulting characteristic; he equates protesters with those who «do not love the motherland». This is a standard system of mythmaking: make the «fifth column» out of those who disagree with the policy pursued and trample them into the dirt in the eyes of society. It goes back to the sad traditions set up in the Stalin era in the 1930s, when any oppositionist, dissatisfied, or dissident was declared a «spy» and an «enemy of the people». Eighty years have passed, and we hear such speeches again: this causes serious concerns.
In modern Russia, protesting is sometimes the only way to resolve accumulated social problems; other mechanisms to protect the rights of citizens are simply not working. A vivid example is the situation with miners in Gukovo, who were able to achieve payment of wages only when some protests were organized.
Moreover, one cannot identify love for the motherland and loyalty to the President, regardless of the course he is pursuing. We, like many Russians, are unhappy that his course is not aimed at protecting the interests of all citizens of the Russian Federation, rather the interests of representatives of large business and bureaucracy, creating injustice, legal and social inequality. Putin has virtually unlimited power, but does not pursue the reforms necessary for the country, does not bring order to the authorities, does not expel officials ignoring their duties and using their position solely for personal enrichment.
It is out of love for the motherland that we are worried about its future and therefore we urge the President to change the course he is pursuing. We believe that Putin should carry out reforms aimed at eliminating the enormous gaps between the «privileged» and all other segments of the population, the restoration of the social and legal state and the system of really functioning institutions.
Considering the foregoing, and believing that Fyodorov’s insulting statements should be broadly discussed in public, we have appealed to the court for a defence of honour and dignity. We stand in defence of all those who are forced to protest, not having another opportunity to protect their rights, and who are not afraid to openly speak about existing problems in the country and seek their solution.
Initiative Group of Protesting Miners in Gukovo: Valery Dyakonov +7 (903) 433-59-84, Tatyana Avacheva +7 (988) 512-21-05
CEPR: +7 (916) 629-56-09, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here you find information about miners’ protest against salary arrears.