A human rights conference named after Yuri Markovich Schmidt, a well-known Russian human rights activist and lawyer who died in 2013, was held in Berlin on April 29 and 30.
The event was organized with the participation of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the support of the Liberal Modernity Center.
In addition to human rights defenders, public figures, lawyers, journalists, civil activists, Russian politicians and their German colleagues took part in the conference. Yuri Schmidt's widow Elena Barikhnovskaya addressed the participants of the meeting with an introductory speech, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky opened the conference. The founders of the Center for Liberal Modernity, Ralph Fuchs and Marluise Beck, addressed the conference participants with a welcoming speech.
What the above - mentioned speakers talked about can be found in a journalistic report on the website of Radio Liberty . I knew Yuri Markovich a little, he was an amazing person, a highly professional lawyer and a real human rights activist.
The participants of the event were presented with the report "Sexualized violence in the context of the conflict in Ukraine – mechanisms for the restoration of violated rights." There was a lively and interesting story by Olga Romanova, a journalist and director of Russia Sitting, about the fixation and opposition of human rights defenders to the methods of recruiting prisoners in the Wagner PMCs, and Sergei Lagodinsky, a member of the European Parliament, about the role of international law, about the work and assistance of the European Union in the investigation of war crimes in Ukraine.
The following topics were discussed at the panel discussions: 1) Lawsuits against the Russian state, collection of evidence and criteria for their admissibility for the International criminal Court in the forcible transfer of Ukrainian refugees, prisoners of war and children from the occupied territories; 2) Legislative changes and law enforcement practice in case of refusal of military service and surrender during the war; 3) The situation with the development of repressive mechanisms within Russia against citizens expressing an anti-war and civil position; 4) Evacuation of persecuted Russians, assistance to the civil opposition movement of Russians abroad and support for anti-war initiatives.
Separately, I would like to focus on the discussion of Russian journalists about the fixation of the crimes of the Putin regime in the Russian media, the possibility of covering war crimes and collecting evidence in the occupied territories. The speakers in this panel discussion were media journalists – "Project", "Important Stories", "Layout", and the moderator of the discussion was Sergey Smirnov, editor-in-chief of the publication "Mediazona". The story of Tatiana Usmanova about the fate of political prisoner Andrei Pivovarov, who was my colleague on the electoral list of the Yabloko party in the elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation in 2021, and lawyer Vadim Prokhorov about the trial of Vladimir Kara-Murza, became very close to me.
In my opinion, Vladimir Kara-Murza and Alexei Navalny are personal prisoners and Vladimir Putin's "exchange fund" and their fate is largely in his hands. I will cite one story from prison life, another prisoner of Putin, who, fortunately, is already free. It will be about Mikhail Khodorkovsky. As it is known, Khodorkovsky served part of his prison term in the correctional colony No. 10 of the city of Krasnokamensk. As one of the newly minted members of the ONC of the Trans-Baikal Territory once told me, and in the past an employee of one of the law enforcement agencies, that during the entire period of stay in the Krasnokamensk colony of Khodorkovsky, an FSB officer seconded from Moscow was in it with the task of preventing the indulgences of serving Khodorkovsky's sentence. On the sidelines of the conference, I told Mikhail Borisovich (Khodorkovsky) this story is from his prison life.
The fate of other political prisoners largely depends on the order, or rather the unrest that has developed in a particular zone (prison). As an example, I will name some political prisoners whom I personally know.
This is Maria Ponomarenko, a journalist from Barnaul, sentenced to six years in prison for "fakes" about the Russian army.
More examples. "Yablochnik" Mikhail Afanasyev, editor of the online publication "New Focus" in Khakassia and Sergey Mikhailov, founder of the weekly "Leaf" in the Altai Republic, accused of similar crimes with Maria.
This is also Vadim Ostanin, coordinator of Navalny's headquarters in Barnaul, (charged under Article 282.1 – organization of an extremist community and under Article 239.1 – creation of a public association whose activities involve violence against citizens). I would like to wish all political prisoners perseverance, good luck, health and speedy Freedom!
Photo 1 – Commemorative photo of the conference;
Photo 2 – Mikhail Khodorkovsky's speech;
Photo 3 – From left to right: lawyer Karinna Moskalenko , public figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky and human rights activist Alexander Goncharenko;
Photo 4 – Chairman of the Committee "Civil Assistance" Svetlana Gannushkina and Alexander Goncharenko All photos from Galina Goncharenko's personal archive
Alexander Goncharenko, doctor, politician and human rights activist