Sergei Nikitin talks about human rights in Russia at the University of Manchester (Video)

24 November 2020

By Sergei Nikitin

My family and I moved to the UK from Moscow in 2017 but a knock on the front door still fills me with dread. It takes me back to that Saturday morning in Moscow when my family and I were having breakfast in our kitchen. The doorbell rang but we had this strict rule in our family while we were in Russia: never open the door if you do not expect a guest. We were right not to open the door. It was the police, they were after me because of a film which had recently been broadcast throughout Russia; the film was titled “Amnesty of Terror”.

I was the Head of Amnesty International Russia then and the film labelled me as an abettor of terrorists. I discuss what it was like to work for Amnesty International in Russia and whether there are human rights in Putin’s Russia in my talk given at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (a University of Manchester research institute shared by the Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health) in November 2020.

1. Good resource for the situation with human rights in Russia with first hand information from Russian human rights defenders in English is the website of the UK charity Rights in Russia: 

2. Further reading (the list of books I recommend to those interested):

  • Luke Harding. Mafia State: How One Reporter Became an Enemy of the Brutal New Russia
  • Luke Harding. A Very Expensive Poison
  • Luke Harding. Shadow State: Murder, Mayhem and Russia’s Remaking of the West
  • Karen Dawisha. Putin’s Cleptocracy
  • Fiona Hill. Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (Geopolitics in the 21st Century)
  • Catherine Belton. Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and then Took on the West
  • Angela Stent. Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest
  • Mark Galeotti. We Need to Talk About Putin: How the West gets him wrong
  • Edward Lucas. The New Cold War
  • Edward Lucas. Deception
  • Masha Gessen. The Man Without A Face
  • Putin. First Person: An Astonishingly Frank Self-portrait by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
  • Stephen Hopgood. Keepers of the Flame: Understanding Amnesty International
  • Stephen Hopgood. The Endtimes of Human Rights

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