Aug. 13, 2021
On August 9-11 solidarity rallies were held in Riga (Latvia), Kiev (Ukraine), Tallin (Estonia), Chisinau (Moldova), Tbilisi (Georgia), Liege (Belgium), Moscow (Russia) and Vilnius (Lithuania) to express solidarity with politicians, human rights defenders and journalists imprisoned in Lithuania and Estonia on politically motivated charges.
The events were timed with the guilty verdict in the trial on Algirdas Paleckis, a Lithuanian politician, columnist and diplomat. Paleckis was sentenced to six years in prison on 27 July 2021 by Šiauliai district court.
In Riga the rally was held in front of the embassy of Lithuania. Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, a member of the Riga city council on behalf of the Latvian Russian Union, said opening the rally, ”Activists with the Antinazi Committee and the LRU are here today to protest the conviction of our friend and colleague Algirdas Paleckis. He was given the 6-year-term for views and opinions Algirdas has been sharing as a journalist and public person. The case was framed as a punishment for espionage in favour of Russia while in reality during the trial the prosecution did not provide any evidence except claims and suppositions that Paleckis had been collecting information (on a historic event) on orders from Russia. At that, the claims sounded empty: they accused him of searching for some unidentified information on orders from some unidentified person with the help of some agents who were neither identified. All that nonsense which became the content of the court papers was made up by an old aquaintance of Paleckis who was pressured by the police to give false evidence on Paleckis in exchange of non-prosecution for his own legal offences.
The leader of the LRU and a member of the European Parliament Tatjana Ždanoka stated, ”Now it is August 2021. 30 years ago the events which developed that August drastically changed the course of history. But the roots for those changes were in precedent developments of January 1991 when events on January 13-14 in Vilnius and on January 19-20 in Riga pushed the situation towards the dispersal of the USSR. I was a witness to those events. Recollecting those events, I must say that nobody in the nowadays history should accept one and the only version of events. Those events were extremely complex and much looked as a clear provocation if to consider them from the point of view who actually benefited from those. The fact that Algirdas dared to tell in the radio program that it was highly likely that ”our own people were shooting at their natives” on January 13 in the vicinity of the Vilnius TV Tower, was turned against him and he paid a high price”. She stated, ”It is not a democracy if such actions are permitted”.
Alla Berezovskaja, a Latvian journalist and a member of the antinazi Commitee of Latvia noted, ”Algirdas Paleckis has been confined to his residence being under electronic monitoring for more than a year being banned to leave it after 9 pm… Paleckis is our comrade who has been warning of the new fascism rising on many occasions. I am certain that this is an act of revenge of the Lithuanian leadership for Paleckis’ independent stance”.
Tatjana Andrijeca told in her address, ”We are against espinage mania when whatever type of connections with Russia are trying to present as acts of espionage. If it goes on like that, any of us is threatened to be accused. To prevent it, we ought to speak up and not to stay indifferent”.
Aleksejs Šaripovs, the head of the Latvian antinazi committee, said:”Paleckis has rightly diagnosed the disease of the Lithuanian state. This is radical nationalism, russophobia and combatting dissent. Therefore, we, his friends and comrades, are raising alarm.
Iosifs Korens, deputy president of the international association ”For the Future Without Fascism”, said, ”I have known Algirdas for decades. He is a politician in the 3rd generation. Algirdas is an intellectual. I also know him for the true patriot of Lithuania. He is the person who is just not able to distort the truth. Because of it, he has been persecuted for years in Lithuania”.
Ruslan Kotsaba, a Ukrainian journalist, also came to the Lithuanian embassy in Kiev with the demand to free Algirdas Paleckis, ”We are all looking forward that all our politcal elites will start respecting the international conventions on human rights protection. This is the reason why I am here today. This is a reason why I am calling to speak up against politically-motivated persecution of people either in the Baltic states or in Ukraine. No sooner we had raised concerns over some problematic issues here in Ukraine than they start to shut us up by putting labels of ”Russian agents”.
The rallies were held also in support of Sergey Seredenko, an Estonian human rights defender, who has been charged with ”acting against the interests of Estonia”.
The participants of the rallies stated that they join their voices to the demand to stop targetting dissenting voices in the EU.
Published at rusojuz.lv