Pamfilova Won't Apologize to Nashi
Published: October 9, 2009 (Issue # 1516)
MOSCOW — The Kremlin’s human rights council won’t apologize for a statement condemning the Nashi youth group for “persecuting” a journalist and intends to send the matter to prosecutors, council head Ella Pamfilova said Wednesday.
The comments came as United Russia and Liberal Democratic Party deputies piled on Pamfilova, demanding that she apologize for offending veterans and defending Alexander Podrabinek.Pamfilova, who was first appointed as a Kremlin human rights aide by then-President Vladimir Putin in 2002, has stressed that she and the council’s members do not share Podrabinek’s views.
In an article last month, the journalist and human rights activist wrote that members of a veterans group were probably former “camp guards” and “executioners” for demanding that a Moscow restaurant be renamed from Antisovetskaya, or Anti-Soviet, to Sovetskaya.
Podrabinek was forced into hiding, saying he and his family received threats, and Nashi has held daily demonstrations outside his apartment for the past week.
At a State Duma session Wednesday, Robert Shlegel, a deputy with United Russia, proposed that the president dismiss Pamfilova for advocating Podrabinek’s rights. Another United Russia deputy, Frants Klintsevich, who also heads the Russian Union of Afghanistan Veterans, said Tuesday that Pamfilova must be sacked.
On Monday, Pamfilova’s watchdog released a statement condemning the “persecution campaign … organized by irresponsible adventurists from Nashi” and cautioning that the activists were showing open signs of extremism.