“Our people have the grace at a great price!”

Monday, October 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting of the Council for development of civil society and human rights, and then took part in the opening ceremony of the memorial to the victims of political repression “Wall of grief”. If the opening of the Wall took place before the Council, the participants had to go to Putin with a much larger number of proposals, but this time they had to be time limited. What fears human rights defenders still managed to convey to the President, — in the article “the”.

On this day, on the Academician Sakharov prospect gathered a lot of people. Among the standing in the wind and the rain were the prisoners of the Gulag — is already very Mature, and politicians, activists and clergy. Thirty-metre high composition of bronze and granite seemed hanging over them in the twilight. For guests in front of the monument put in the chairs, to the speakers built a low stage, covered with black cloth. When illuminated, a white spot shone through the cowl of the Patriarch. Vladimir Putin, who came to the “Wall of grief” with a slight delay, examined illuminated by searchlights monument and was satisfied, he called “the wall” a Grand and poignant.

The monument gathered in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, was delivered to the site in August, but he was veiled by a dark cloth. The author of the project — the sculptor Georgy Frangulyan, selected from among three hundred applicants, spoke about his work as about the mission and admitted: “Nothing more significant in my life was not.” The sculptor created a pressure wall with occasional openings through which everyone can pass and feel “hanging over the head of Damocles sword”.

And although the idea of constructing in the capital of this monument appeared a long time ago, defended her head of the presidential Council on human rights Vladimir Fedotov only in 2014. Putin supported the idea because “it is impossible neither to forget nor to justify repression.” “Everyone could be brought flimsy and totally absurd accusations, millions of people were declared enemies of the people, were shot or maimed, passed through the agony of prisons, camps and references,” he said at the opening of the “Wall of grief”.

In his speech he called not to push society to the point of confrontation and settling of accounts. “Now it’s important for all of us to rely on values of trust and stability,” Putin said. In conclusion, the President quoted the words of Natalia Solzhenitsyn, who was present at the opening: “to Know, to remember, to condemn and then forgive.” “Because we need to unite,” he added then Solzhenitsyn.

Late to the opening of the monument to Putin for the objective reason: in the Kremlin, he held a meeting of the Council for human rights. And started with a minute of silence in memory of the founder of the Fund “Fair aid” Elizabeth Glinka and film critic Daniil Dondurei — they both were part of the HRC. And then as the positive aspects noted that the number of NGOs recognized as foreign agents, has halved from 165 to 89, and the annual amount of funds allocated to support non-profit organizations, has increased seven times. In five years, only in the framework of the presidential grant support for their development were allocated more than 22 billion rubles, said Putin and invited to the discussion, of human rights defenders.

Agreeing with the above figures, the head of the Council Mikhail Fedotov asked to resolve the presidential grants to receive and distribute donations from foreign corporations. According to him, this is especially important for human rights organizations since the Russian charitable foundations to support them are afraid, and “take the money from foreign funds means to register foreign agents.”

The head of the Moscow Helsinki group Lyudmila Alekseeva has offered to re-establish the Council on pardons under the President, and expressed readiness to join him. She stressed that the regional commissions on pardon can be dishonest people: “painfully, the place of bread”. And as if in passing, mentioned that many years knows Nikita Belykh and can vouch for the former Governor of Kirov region, which is under investigation: “He did not take bribes — not that kind of person”. Finished his thought Alekseeva appeal: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, be in the eyes of the people gracious President! Our people have the grace at a great price!”

About the reconstitution of the Council on the prerogative of mercy Putin agreed to consider, but the assessment is challenged and White drew attention to the doubtful episodes of his actions. “You will agree, after all strange is the explanation, according to which the Governor of the subject of Russia takes money from the businessman and not in Kirov and in Moscow, not in the office and the restaurant, and not in rubles and in dollars. Well, it’s like something very strange,” Putin said, at the same time noting that White guilt will be determined by the court.

Activist Alexeyeva had to pay attention to one subject — the attitude of the authorities and citizens. According to her, the state Duma making laws, like pancakes, and all — solid bans, who do not give freely to breathe. And people “go online”, in the vastness of the protest radicalized. “I must, Mr President, to change the attitude of the authorities to the citizens. We need to convince, not to intimidate” — said Alekseev. Putin agreed: “You’re right, the injunction should be smaller”.

However, the message of Nikolay Svanidze on what breaches allow police to disperse protests, Putin said that “some groups of protesters or their organizers do especially exacerbate the situation.” But still offered to perform the work of law enforcement bodies against participants of demonstrations.

Other speakers included journalist Stanislav Kucher, noting that the country has “the feeling of the cold civil war, of obscurantism”, from which people go abroad, Putin said, Russia is a free country, and normally that person “somewhere in the job, went somewhere, then came back”. In addition, he feels that the number of Russians leaving has decreased dramatically, many coming back today.

Tantrums associated with the protests, in his view, Russia no, but there are natural bursts of protest, which the authorities should react. “Look at US — here too there tantrums tantrums so, — Putin suggested. — What is happening in Europe? God knows what!”

Commenting on the case of artistic Director of “Gogol-center” Kirill Serebrennikov, Putin said that he is not being persecuted for his political beliefs. “No, it’s a purely financial basis of all these unpleasant proceedings. Well, Yes, he is creative, he is an artist,” said the President and reminded that currently the investigation is underway against several well-known cultural figures, including the Deputy Director of the Hermitage Museum and the Deputy Minister of culture. “Release them too?” — he was surprised. And assured that the authorities have “no desire for someone “cruchet”, to drag in whatever was to pursue”.

The attack on the journalist of “echo of Moscow” Tatiana Felgengauer, too, in the opinion of the President, had no subtext: “a Sick man came, and here freedom of speech?”

However, almost every sentence of defenders, he promised to think about and “work through issues”. And outlined following a meeting with the presidential Council for civil society development and human rights in December this year or after the presidential elections in the spring of 2018. At the same time, making plans for the coming March or April, about his electoral intentions, Putin did not mention.

Tatyana Melikyan