Defend Human Rights in Russia!

Against the Current, No. 48, January/February 1994

THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT, signed by Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Daniel Singer, Ernest Mandel, Robert V. Daniels, Manning Marable, Alexander Cockburn, Dave Dellinger, Bogdan Denitch, Miriam Braverman, Jane Slaughter, William Kunstler, Annette T. Rubinstein and many others appeared as a two-page ad in the December 13 issue of the Nation magazine. Funds are urgently needed to carry out educational work and solidarity activities.

We, the undersigned, protest the recent attacks on civil liberties, trade union rights and freedom of the press and assembly by the Yeltsin government in Russia

Contrary to the impression given in the U.S. mass media, among those arrested during the October 4 crisis were many sincere democratic activists; several organizations and newspapers were arbitrarily banned by executive order. In Moscow, leaders of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions, the new Party of Labor and the Moscow City Council were rounded up and brutally beaten, among them Boris Kagarlitsky, whose books are well-known in the West, Vladimir Kondratov, Alexander Segal, and Alexander Kalinin.

Thanks to an immediate flood of protests from U.S. and European friends, these non-violent democratic activists were eventually released. As Boris Kagarlitsky said, as he entered his apartment, bruised and bloody, “International solidarity works.”

The arrests and beatings occurred amidst the Yeltsin government’s broad repression of dissent, including the dissolution of Parliament, suspension of the court that found the dissolution unconstitutional, dissolution of almost all dissenting local governments, and the expulsion of thousands of non-Muscovites from the city.

Every day brings new reports from Moscow of executive orders undermining the rights of independent and opposition newspapers and political parties. Trade unions are being prevented from participating in political life and electioneering, and witch-hunting is threatening the jobs of anti-Yeltshuites. We fear for the safety of our colleagues in the trade union movement and democratic activist organizations. It is for this reason that we feel the urgent need to give our international solidarity an organized form today.

We therefore call on you to add your name to our protest. Join with us and other trade unionists, academics and human rights activists in supporting the “U.S. Committee for Democratic and Human Rights in Russia” based on the following simple principles:

• Human rights and freedom of press, assembly and political organization for all in Russia.

• No repression of trade unionists and democratic activists.

Please make checks payable to the U.S. Committee for Democratic and Human Rights in Russia, P.O. Box 1890 Stuyvesant Station, New York, NY 10009.

January-February 1994, ATC 48