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One Russia Demands Resignation Of Prominent Rights Champion


Ella Pamfilova, head of the Council for Promoting the Development of the Institutions of Civil Society and Human Rights under the Russian president, has said she is not afraid of threats from One Russia, which is demanding her resignation.

"I am a strong person, I have been persecuted on more than one occasion and, no doubt, I will survive this one. But not everyone is that strong and not everyone can do this. I sympathize with those who for different reasons can't cope with this persecution," Pamfilova said on Ekho Moskvy radio station on Tuesday (6 October).

Yesterday Pamfilova criticized the actions of the Nashi (pro-Kremlin youth) movement against journalist Aleksandr Podrabinek, who, in their opinion, in his article "As an anti-Soviet to anti-Soviets" insulted war veterans.

In response, One Russia said today it intended to ask President Dmitriy Medvedev to remove Ella Pamfilova from her post.

Commenting on One Russia's plans on Tuesday, Pamfilova said: "They are changing the accents once again. It is not about the essence or the meaning of the article (by Aleksandr Podrabinek) with which, like any normal person, I do not agree - the point is that a person cannot be persecuted for this article."

She said Podrabinek had the right to express his opinion and be responsible for it, but exclusively in the legal framework.

As has been reported, on Tuesday One Russia stated its intention to demand Pamfilova's resignation. "Tomorrow at a sitting of the central council of the One Russia party we intend to raise with the leadership of our party the question that we need to approach the president with the demand to dismiss Pamfilova," Frants Klintsevich, State Duma deputy, chairman of the council and leader of the Russian union of Afghan veterans, told Interfax on Tuesday.

He also said that he intended to demand that Pamfilova should apologise to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) whom, in his opinion, she "deeply and absolutely undeservedly insulted".

According to Klintsevich, the reason for being unhappy with Pamfilova lies in the fact that she "in fact sided with journalist Aleksandr Podrabinek, who posted on the internet an article which caused a lot of controversy". "Mrs Pamfilova expressed a view along the lines that there are no more worthy veterans of the Great Patriotic War left in the country and those who are still alive had been 'prison guards'," he said.

According to Klintsevich, in her statement Pamfilova "in fact expresses support for those who at present not just openly insult veterans but call for a revision of the whole history of the country".

Klintsevich supported the Nashi activists, who have been holding a protest outside the house where Podrabinek and his family live, and said that the public movement of veterans of military action in Afghanistan which he chaired had also made a statement on this issue.

For his part, Andrey Isayev, first deputy secretary of the presidium of the General Council of One Russia, has expressed bewilderment in connection with Pamfilova's position on Podrabinek's article.

"The activists of the Nashi movement have the right to express their position by all legal means in no lesser degree than Mr Podrabinek. And attempts to introduce censorship in favour of some privileged 'human rights campaigners' seem rather strange. Moreover, Podrabinek's pronouncements have been perceived as an insult by people who certainly have our respect - war veterans," Isayev said.

In his comment posted on One Russia's official website, he criticised Pamfilova's position on the "Podrabinek affair". "Mrs Pamfilova's actions are more than strange and I hope she made them simply because she does not know what exactly Podrabinek said," Isayev noted. (Passage omitted)

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