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Russian human rights activist rules out possibility of repression at state level

Moscow, 29 October: A repeat of political repression at the state level in Russia is impossible, a human rights activist, director of the Moscow Human Rights Bureau Aleksandr Brod, said in an interview to RIA Novosti on the eve of the day of commemoration for the victims of political repression which is marked on 30 October.

"At the state level a repeat of political repression (in Russia) is impossible; this cannot become part of state policy. I think that the society and authorities are moving towards democratic norms and that a civil society is developing," Brod said.

However, the human rights activist believes that repression continues in a different form and first of all "at the level of short-sighted officials... (agency's ellipses) short-sighted politicians who exploit xenophobic ideas".

The director of the Moscow Human Rights Bureau quoted as an example "the hysteria in the mass media about Chechens and Caucasians (in general)" when, as he put it, after the Nord-Ost (hostage taking) and other terrorist attacks in Moscow Region the situation went as far as Chechens being sacked, as well as "the anti-Georgian campaign after the deterioration in relations between Russia and Georgia", when "checks started in many enterprises which are headed by Georgians".

The human rights activist also noted that little has been done in Russia to eternalize the memory of repression victims, as well as to debunk Stalin's personality cult.

"There is still no monument in Moscow for the victims of repression, neither is there an extensive and easily accessible museum. And this is very dangerous because the new generation does not know anything about this (Stalinist repression) and could easily fall pray to manipulations because there are many of those who wish to resuscitate this cult and institute an authoritarian system," Brod believes. (Passage omitted).