I see the thread on Russia has been locked for the time being, which is probably for the best. I'd just like to address a sub-tangent about which one or two participants in that thread seem to have been confused: "human rights."
It is a commonplace among those attempting to defend or rationalize measures likely to be prejudicial to the human rights of a population to attempt to claim that "human rights" are not a universally acknowledged concept. In fact as regards the vast majority of states in the world, this is factually wrong. For decades now, international law and standards as regarding human rights has started from this Universal Declaration
, whose full text I will not quote in the post, but which basically is explicit on points such as
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
193 of the world's 196 countries are members of the UN, which upholds the Universal Declaration as a common standard of aspiration which the bulk of the membership has specifically agreed to uphold. Of the 3 abstentions, two are effective dependencies of UN members and one lacks sufficient international recognition to apply for membership, otherwise would be a member. The Universal Declaration is the basis of a large body of international human rights law and treaties (like the European Convention of Human Rights
and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
) to which again large swathes of the UN membership are signatory. Effectively, the provisions of the Universal Declaration have, via such means, the force of treaty in almost all member states (though the Declaration itself does not inherently have the force of treaty). So Russia, for example, is explicitly committed to the Universal Declaration and both of the above-mentioned treaties.
[EDITED: The statement that the UN Declaration had force of treaty was an erroneous oversimplification. I have corrected and thank Kythia for the observation.]
Actual observance of these provisions is obviously highly variable, and attempts to flout them are frequent and sometimes flagrant. However, pretty much nobody engaged in any of those attempts or activities has the excuse that they have made no commitment to honour the concept of human rights. The best they can do is argue that the world cannot practically-speaking punish them for violations (so long as they remain in jurisdictions friendly to their views and politics). Politics can make for strange bedfellows and circumstances and some violators can escape consequence for long spans of time: but the enforcement of human rights standards is not just a question of polite fictions
, and most modern country constitutions reflect similar language and make similar commitments.
The advancement of human rights is a real and substantial legal commitment of most member states of the UN and members of the various international bodies associated with it. It is not an outre "Western" notion, and if you believe the country you live in (or one whose actions you are defending) has not at the very minimum in theory undertaken to support human rights as a concept, you are very likely mistaken as a matter of simple fact.
I hope this helps to clear up some misunderstandings.