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Благосостојба на животните

Русија: искушение на Викторија Павленко




Павелнко зад решетки

Една и пол година затвор затоа што зел Лабрадор на улица и го предал на специјализирано прифатилиште - драконска казна за московската активистка за права на животните Викторија Павенко (38) (На сликата) does not make sense out of the context of the Kremlin’s crackdown on civil society, which was launched on the third inauguration of the ‘forever’ president Putin.

Неодамнешното гласање во Дума со кое се стави крај на превласта на Европскиот суд за човекови права (ЕКЧП) е злобен знак за оние кои сè уште се надеваа дека Русија ќе остане лојална на своите меѓународни обврски за да ги продолжи демократските движења.

The opposite happened: following human-rights defenders, animal-rights activists were criminalized. The witch-hunt continues. The harsh sentence for Moscow animal-rights activist Victoria Pavlenko shocked many. In a country where the elimination of the entire population of street dogs in Sochi for the Winter Olympics was presented as a ‘normal’ pest control operation; in a country where gangs dabbed ‘dog-hunters’ amuse themselves poisoning and killing animals in spite of the massive protests against such activities; in a country where multitudes of dogs are left by owners on chains to die slowly in numerous floods  – in this country, one should have done something outrageous to be jailed over a canine, and Pavlenko did. She showed compassion and humanity to a Labrador Diana – a gesture that was punished with all the severity of the Russian institutions that are notorious for their cruelty.

Today, the biggest prison in Europe, with four thousand convicts, is in Saint-Petersburg – a symbol of the third mandate of President Putin, whose rule has been marked by more convictions than Stalin’s.

‘Oppressive justice’ is a common practice in Russia, where only 0.4% of the accused have a chance of acquittal (for a comparison, in Europe the percentage is between 20-30%). The gloomy situation in Russia is brought about by an absence of respect for the presumption of innocence and the pressure of prosecutors and authorities on judges, who don’t enjoy the independence of their European homologues. Logically, when the head of the mass media department of the Investigation Committee of Russian Federation Justice General Vladimir Markin said that Victoria Pavlenko was a ‘thief’, Judge Olga Zeldina, following existing practice, could not contradict him.

However there are exceptions in the ‘Doomsday Machine’ of the Russian Femida – according to a UN report, civil servants and justice employees have a 20 times higher chance of being acquitted. Pavlenko did not belong to these privileged groups, on the contrary to one of the most oppressed – ‘middle-middle class’ or Russian intelligentsia, a group that is seen as being critical of the authoritarian regime and aspiring towards Western freedoms and thus disloyal and potentially dangerous for the Kremlin.


A civil servant, the president’s press representative Dmitry Peskov, whose words were not as stylish as his Swiss chronograph watch, referring to the protesters of the regime as wishing that their “livers should be spread over the pavement”. These high emotions can be explained by the perception of the intelligentsia as being a threat to the dictatorship of the oligarchies that are used to exploiting of country’s enormous natural wealth for the benefit of a handful of clans grouped around the Kremlin.

The suppression of all those unhappy with the establishment of Vladimir Putin as an ‘eternal’ ruler of Russia has been already imposed in various ways, from the stigmatization of human-rights defenders as ‘foreign agents’ to jailing the most active protesters who went out in the streets. Now, when the leading opponents have been disabled, it is the turn of those who represent a potential threat – animal-rights activists.

There will be certainly fewer left to stand up for stray and abandoned dogs after Pavlenko’s imprisonment in a cell with 47 (!) inmates, with a ‘dog’s life’ on the floor, as her conditions are gloated over by the mainstream Russian media.  However tragic Pavlenko’s fate, a ‘dog’s life’ in prison is not the worst that might happen to dog lovers in Russia. This summer in Samara, social worker Ludmila Safonova was stabbed to death by a dog-hunter, while trying to protect two stray animals.

Pro-Kremlin trolls, so passionate about denouncing animal-rights activists, were ecstatic about the murder, suggesting that all animal-rights activists should be “hanged on trees”. The idea is complementary to Peskov’s ‘livers on the pavement’, as in the Kremlin they know that human rights and animal rights are linked vessels. According to the latest information from the prison, Victoria Pavlenko has already made her debut as a human-rights activist, protecting the rights of her fellow detainees. This proves that the Kremlin’s fears have grounds. Аб ирато!

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