Rights in Russia interview – with leading Russian human rights lawyer, Karinna Moskalenko

Mary Page talks with leading Russian human rights lawyer, Karinna Moskalenko. In 2001 she won the first ever case against the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights and has represented, among others, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the family of murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya. She is the founding director of the International Protection Centre formerly in Moscow that specialized in taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights. In 2010, she was awarded the The Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize. Since 2017 she has been Director of the Centre de la protection internationale in Strasbourg.

The questions:

1) So much has happened. To what extent are you still able to do your ‘normal’ work as a lawyer?

2) It seems now, after the departure of Russia from the European Council and the European Court of Human Rights, Russia is completely cut off from international justice mechanisms. Is that a fair picture? Is there a way back for Russia into the international justice system?

3) Working as a human rights lawyer in Russia has become increasingly difficult. Some have been forced to leave the country. Others remain but have been branded ‘foreign agents.’ Many human rights lawyers – as well as NGOs – used international courts to advance rights where it was harder in domestic courts. What kinds of strategies for now and in the future can there be for human rights advocates in Russia? 

4) Looking back over the past 20 years of Putin’s rule, do you think that this was all predictable?

5) Why does the Russian public seem to support Putin’s war? 

6)  Looking at Russia domestically, we see that the human rights situation is very bad at the moment. Are there ways for human rights supporters outside Russia to show support for Russian human rights defenders?

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