One Big Thing: Declining Human Rights in Russia
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“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”-MLK
As we continue our weekly focus on the words and actions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., our “One Big Thing” highlights the important work done by human rights activists fighting against Vladimir Putin’s oppressive Russian regime. Dr. King’s work demonstrated that individuals fighting for a moral cause will always succeed over evil and Russians will prevail in their efforts to win freedom and justice.
Senator McCain wrote, “Vladimir Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds, which include the destruction of the liberal world order that the United States has led and that has brought more stability, prosperity and freedom to humankind than has ever existed in history.” Putin’s blatant disregard for human rights and international norms has made Russia a universally recognized “bad guy.” Currently, Russians citizens are made to suffer everything from violent repression of democratic protesters to unlawful detentions in torturous Siberian prison camps often ending in death. Elections are shams. Opposition party leaders and human rights defenders are routinely silenced, jailed and killed for their work, but nonetheless, many have continued to speak up for what is right.
Most recently, Putin announced constitutional changes that will likely keep him in power long after his mandate expires. Despite his attempts to thwart democracy, 2019 saw some of the biggest anti-Kremlin protests since the fall of the Soviet Union. One activist, Alexey Minyaylo, epitomized the protesters’ sentiment in his statement from jail, “they take away your shoelaces, your belt. But they can’t take some things away from people: honor, dignity, conscience, freedom.”
To learn more about the Russian regime’s attacks on basic human rights, check out Human Rights Watch’s 2020 world report and contact and encourage your elected representatives to be more active in addressing the human rights situation in Russia.
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