23 August 2012, 10:05
Moscow calls hasty and politically-motivated Western comments on Pussy Riot case
Moscow, August 23, Interfax - Moscow believes that Western evaluations of the court trial of members of Pussy Riot punk group are partly politically-motivated and thinks that the Christian roots of European civilization should not be forgotten.
"One can recognize that the case of the said punk group served only as a pretext for another wave of hasty, biased and politically-motivated evaluations. One gets the impression that for some human rights institutions and mass media a chance to kick another anti-Russian scandal is more important than the future of these young women," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said answering questions from the media.
He admitted "elements of a conflict of civilizations" in the situation. "Many people in the post-modernist West forget about the Christian roots of Europe and in addition to that don't want to respect the feelings of followers of other creeds believing that religion restricts democracy. They speak out for the full freedom of actions similar to the ones which made Pussy Riot ill-famed. However, we are convinced that it is harmful to forget the norms of morality that are common for all world religions. Both in our life and policy we try to stick to traditional values as well as intentional law," the diplomat's answers posted on the Foreign Ministry website say.
"As for unconventional values, they are permissible only there where they do not conflict the law or morality," he added.
"One should not forget that fundamental international legal tools of human rights imply that the freedom of expression is not absolute and is inseparable from certain restrictions," Lukashevich added.
He said that pursuant to Article 19.3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights dated December 16, 1966 states that the exercise of the right to expression "carries with it special duties and responsibilities" and "may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: for respect of the rights or reputations of others; for the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals."
Lukashevich also recalled that the European Convention on Human Rights dated November 4, 1950 in Article 10.2 implies that the exercise of the freedom of expression "may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary."
"These are legally binding commitments of all states and they must be observed," Lukashevich said.
He also recalled that in 2011 the art group Voina won the Innovation prize in visual arts in the nomination "Work of visual art".
"So the criticism of the restriction of the freedom of expression in art is clearly far-fetched," he said.
Lukashevich said that the action in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was not the first controversial performance of Pussy Riot members who had earlier belonged to Voina.
"Those who have already familiarized themselves with 'the freedom of expression' of Voina group know what group action in the form of a sex orgy involving a pregnant woman they staged in a museum, how they used a dead chicken in their 'art' in the presence of a small child. For some reason the tolerant West did not express its indignation with their odd action of 'hanging' immigrant workers and representatives of sexual minorities in a big supermarket," Lukashevich said.
In his opinion, the essence of the Pussy Riot action in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior has been forgotten.
Commenting on the support for punk group members by Western stars Lukashevich said: "Our opponents overlook the nature of the action of the punk group insulting millions of Orthodox Christians and people of other religions having traditional notions of morality."
The diplomat said that Moscow's Khamovnichesky court brought its sentence after thoroughly checking all the facts in the framework of acting norms of procedure and can be appealed by the defendants or their representatives in due order with higher instances.
He said that the judicial system in Russia is an independent branch of power. He recalled that President Vladimir Putin had spoken against an overly strict punishment of group members while the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church called for demonstrating mercy to the young women in case of their repentance. "Even though in a number of Western countries, such as Germany, Finland, Austria and others, stricter punishment is implied for attempts to obstruct church services and wearing masks in public places is forbidden," he added.