The main ground for this initiative is the assessment of the situation in Russia under Putin regime. The corporation that stands behind Putin consists of the members of security services, the FSB (KGB), and the affiliated officials who have practically usurped the power. They take the leading positions in the government, in the parliament, in the presidential administration and other institutions; they totally control economy, political parties and the media. Their corporative ties are supported by corruption, which has been proved by several investigations in the detailed reports. In public policies, they use specific methods of informational manipulation, secret control, and provocative campaigns to discredit oppositional parties and leaders. They operate by means of propaganda with the same methods as the counterpropaganda during the cold war, such as manipulations with the symbolic umbrella and methods of psychological pressure, which strongly affects the audiences. The monitoring of official Russian media by journalists and independent observers, in particular, OSCE has proved these conclusions. The media and officials imitate democratic principles and values; at the same time, there are cases of violence, political prisoners, cracking down on protesters and violation of human rights.
Public or parliamentary control over security services is absent in Russia, as well as a definite evaluation of the role of security services in the Soviet history. Instead, there appear attempts to assign to the FSB the legal rights of control over the parliamentary members, plans for a “new industrialisation” with a growth of arms industry, a revival of nationalism and aggressive rhetoric towards Western countries, an involvement of the church into propaganda, and attraction of intelligence service to diplomatic missions. These few examples are enough to show that security services are strengthening their influence. In this situation, any real democratic change in Russia seems improbable.
The recent parliamentary and presidential elections have proved that Russia is unable to find a way out from this situation independently. The elections turned into fraud already on the preliminary stage because the official media disorientated public opinion. The competitive opposition candidates were not allowed to participate. The protesters against Putin were alleged to have been enemies of the state independence of Russia, which artificially raised counterprotests against protesters and endangered the society with splitting into rival groups. Together with these provocations, the procedural violations at the elections also took place. Any call for an investigation into the violations at the elections, both from international and domestic observers, as well as for investigations into corruption, is being ignored by the government. It is clear that the government has lost legitimacy, not only in the procedural sense, but also in a broader sense of political contract, which is likely to finalise with a revolution or dictatorship.
Russia is a clear example of the uncontrolled security services at power. At the same time, a certain raise of influence of security services is valid for other countries as well, including the democratic states. There exist examples of trailing political parties and a lack of information in the media, in particular, during the military campaign in Libya. Russia, the USA and other countries permanently exchange allegations in the violation of human rights, in the engagement into military and industrial espionage, secret files and conspiracies, etc. These patterns of thinking and action raise tension and distrust and prevent policy-makers from finding the appropriate political decisions.
This strengthening of security services is a negative consequence of the development of modern informational technologies. Security services have a broad and secret access to information resources. In frames of cyber security, they have the right to control the access to public information resources, such as Internet, and to block social networks. One can see here a threat of information explosion, violation of privacy and human rights, on the one hand, and a lack of public control, on the other. Peace in the modern world strongly depends on the information resources, while the legislation in this field remains unregulated. Therefore, there is an urgent need in a special regulation in the international law in this sphere. Legislation must provide a barrier for anybody, including governments, to interfere into the private sphere and to trail persons or social groups, as well as to interfere in the manifestation of public opinion, such as the elections and the media.
Today many experts believe that home and international affairs must be strictly defined as the competence of civil politicians and diplomats, who have to cooperate with scientific community and representatives of public organisations to attract a wider and effective action. It is most important that modern policy must be open for expert analysis and public control in order to avoid informational manipulation and the use of data for aggressive purposes. Thus, the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative insists on “exclusively diplomatic, legal, or other nonviolent means, without recourse to military force or the threat of its use”, they strengthen the necessity to move from the cold-war type of thinking, to demilitarize strategic relations between the United States, NATO and Russia.
The legal restrictions of military measures included in the present-day regulation of international affairs, as well as the legal basis ensuring human rights, appear to be insufficient. It is necessary to work out a legal basis that will secure human rights and prevents violence in the new informational situation. Modern world needs an open policy and a participation of science in the important decisions. Security services at power, in the fields of public affairs and government contradict the present-day informational and cultural situation.
Violation of the principles of international relations prevents normal communication (international delict).This legal framework is especially desirable now because security services use secretly new information technologies. Their presence raises tension and distrust in the relations between states and prevents peoples from finding a way out of the crisis. Therefore, we suggest initiating a special regulation in the international law that shall exclude participation of security services, secret police and the affiliated people in home public policies and international affairs.
In case the European Union, the oldest political culture in the world, accepts a corresponding regulation, it will be a precedent for other countries and ensures global security.
Irina Zarifian and Russian civil activists