Amnesty International: Don’t Forget Russia’s Atrocities

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s arrival in Paris last week for an official visit was accompanied, for many, by an unusual sight: a video clip projected onto the facades of several houses in a bustling tourist area showed a set of Russian matryoshka dolls smeared with blood, concluding with the phrase: “We must not allow Russia’s charm to let us forget its atrocities.”

The video was created by the French branch of Amnesty International, a human rights organization that has reported on rights violations in Russia numerous times. The Belarusian human rights group Charter’97 reported today that 30 members of the organization had also attempted to project the video onto the facade of the Russian embassy. Upon arriving, however, they were met by police and told not to bother nearby residents by playing the clip. The group was then forced to disperse.

Amnesty International France has also set up an online petition calling for Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to respond to a variety of rights abuses in his country, including problems involving racism, the persecution of journalists, restrictions on the freedom of expression, the volatile situation in the North Caucasus, and torture, among others.