11 February 2021

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, February 11, 2021: statements made by representatives of the US and human rights organisations on violation of freedom of speech and assembly in Russia

The international information landscape has been swept by a wave of unacceptable statements, in tone and content, made by US and other Western officials, as well as by some representatives of international organisations that present themselves as human rights champions, on Russia allegedly violating people’s right to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest.

I just spoke about the rules, norms, and laws of permanent and temporary nature our country is guided by with regard to mass events.

Now back to how it was presented in the Western mainstream. As you might have guessed, I am referring to the uncoordinated rallies and their organisers the West is trying to present as leaders of the so-called non-systemic Russian opposition. In reality, we are perfectly aware, just as our western partners, of the qualifications awarded to such representatives. They are agents of influence. They have been defended by a host of high-profile figures. Suffice it to mention US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, State Department spokesman Ned Price, and Human Rights Watch speaker Hugh Williamson, and dozens of other NGOs and mass media from the collective West, many of them supported by the money either directly allocated by the State Department or indirectly through other affiliated agencies.

There is a large and obvious anti-Russia provocation underway with the elusive goal of shaking up the internal political situation in our country. These attempts are doomed to failure. I think our Western partners are aware of this only too well, which makes them even angrier.

It is quite shocking and outrageous that the initiators and performers of this information campaign targeting our country are increasingly turning to illegal means. Not just stretched thin or allowing different interpretations, but downright illegal. I have already mentioned some of them expounding on the previous topic. But there are other aspects. They are trying to involve teenagers in their dirty games, use them as a human shield or as a target audience for their information attacks, during illegal demonstrations in Russian cities. This is unacceptable. Nobody can get away with such interference in our internal affairs.