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article imageOp-Ed: State-sponsored cruelty to animals in the Russian Federation Special

By Ernest Dempsey     Jun 3, 2013 in World
Saint Petersburg - Mikhail Novikov tells about the issue of relentless killings of homeless animals in the Russian Federation and the role of the state in furthering such cruelty.
Killing and cruel treatment of animals are common in many different parts of the world. Russia is one of those places where voices of protest have been raised against extreme cruelty inflicted on homeless animals. Currently, a petition on is asking the Russian Federation to “stop cruel slaughter of homeless animals”. To get some idea of what the situation is like for the homeless animals and what is being done for or against them, I reached Mikhail Novikov for a Q&A. Novikov is the President of the Russian Society for Protection of Animals as well as the President of the Noble Assembly of Saint Petersburg. He has written previously about the issue of state-approved cruelty to animals in Russia.
Ernest: Mikhail, please tell our readers who is involved in beating, burning, and shooting of homeless animals in your country?
Mikhail: In the USSR there were created special state institutions which killed homeless animals. These establishments were created after the revolution of 1917 (In 1991, the property of many public institutions, factories, and the enterprises passed to the private companies and joint-stock companies). These campaigns (for killing of homeless animals) can have different names, but actually are former institutions for murder of animals (difference consists only in a new economic basis and in new names). State institutions which killed homeless animals also turned into joint-stock companies and the private companies. These campaigns kill animals by cheap, painful methods. Governors pay budget money to these companies for murder of homeless animals. Governors prefer to kill animals because it is cheaper, than the sterilization program. Some such establishments continue to keep the status quo.
Ernest: Could you tell us more precisely where is it happening in Russia currently?
Mikhail: It is happening in all cities and areas of the Russian Federation regularly. Only in Petersburg and in Moscow, the killing of homeless animals is officially forbidden. In Petersburg, the sterilization program is accepted. In Moscow, big municipal shelters are constructed. But, despite it, the video-reporting of Igor Prokopenko “Life Under Laws Of Pack” testifies that hundreds of tons of corpses of stray dogs continue to be subjected to utilization in Moscow annually. Boris Sobolev's video-reporting “Dog's Hell” shows corruption in municipal shelters in Moscow. Chiefs and employees of municipal shelters steal money and a stern for animals, and sell dogs to the Korean and Chinese restaurants which semi-legally trade in dog meat (Trade of dog meat in the Russian Federation isn't forbidden by the law. Employees of the Korean and Chinese restaurants can have only problems connected with sanitary and tax problems). The workers of the Korean and Chinese restaurants and dog slaughterhouses in the Russian Federation used to commit the murder of dogs by traditionally cruel Korean and Chinese methods (they skin dogs alive). In the Russian Federation, there are a lot of the Korean and Chinese restaurants trading dog meat. It is semi-legal, but absolutely without punishment. Judicial authorities ignore all statements of activists for the rights of animals against it, under the pretext of respect for the Korean and Chinese national traditions. Semi-legality is a special form of total lawlessness in the modern Russian Federation.
Ernest: Is media in Russia reporting the details of this brutal treatment of homeless animals?
Mikhail: First I must mention that the Russian public (activists for the rights of animals) hasn’t the right to supervise work of the Moscow’s municipal shelters. The Russian activists for the rights of animals haven't the right to supervise methods of murder of homeless animals, which are made by the orders of governors. The Russian activists for the rights of animals have no right to supervise methods of murder of agricultural animals during epidemics. The journalists of known information campaigns of Russia (including Independent Television Company НТВ and newspaper KP.RU) published reports about burning of animals alive, including healthy horses, during epidemic of pork plague. Animals were burned by the orders of the Governor of the region of Nizhny Novgorod, Valery Shantsev. Officials burned animals alive because it is much cheaper than euthanasia.
The Russian journalists showed many reports about cruel murders of animals which was made by the orders of officials (including by the orders of governors). But officials of the Russian Federation don't consider it as crimes or a shame because they consider animals as things. They consider homeless animals as “biological garbage”. The “biological garbage” is an official term of Soviet documents about homeless animals. The majority of large officials of the Russian Federation is that of the former communists, many of them descendants of Lenin’s Bolsheviks. They replaced the Communist Party by the United Russia Party, but they are keeping materialistic, utilitarian, immoral attitude towards animals.
Ernest: The petition is being addressed to European authorities, not Russian government. Does that show that Russian government simply would not listen to what the animal rights activists demand?
Mikhail: I want to specify the names. Russia and Russian Federation are different concepts. The Russian Federation is a system of a modern power. Russia is a “valley of the rivers” (the translation from Old Russian language). Russia is our earth, our forests and steppe, our animals, our culture, and Russian people, who kept the Russian culture despite all tragedies of Russian history. The main thing in national culture and tradition is national ethics. The primary true Russian tradition forbade killing of vagrant dogs (before X century). The mass murders of homeless animals are being made in the modern Russian Federation contrary to the true Russian tradition.
For many years, the government of the Russian Federation has ignored requirements of the Russian activists for the rights of animals – to stop murders of homeless animals in the Russian Federation and to forbid dog meat at the Chinese and Korean restaurants of the Russian Federation.
But the government of the Russian Federation ignores all requirements of civilized part of the Russian society. In February of last year, Dmitry Medvedev ignored even the Open Letter of the known international activist for the rights of animals Princess Maya Hohenzollern, who asked him to stop the murder of homeless animals in the Russian Federation. She published this letter on her own page on Facebook and sent it to the official website of the Kremlin many times. The Russian activists for the rights of animals many times sent the link to this Open Letter of Princess Maya Hohenzollern to Dmitry Medvedev’s all webpages more than 100 times. I personally did it many times too.
Ernest: And the petition is also addressed to the Pope. Do you think he will care?
Mikhail: The Pope is not only the priest but is also a notable international politician. The Populist government of Russian Federation ignores all requests of the civilized Russian public (activists for the rights of animals). The government of RF reacts only to requirements of huge crowd or of statements of large international politicians. This is a main difference of the pseudo-democracy as opposed to true democracy, which considers the opinion of the civilized part of society too, because the number of civilized people is less than the representatives of consumer crowd. Should I mention it is enough to remember that the Christ was put to death as a result of unanimous vote of the majority of population? Only the Pilate and the Herod were against a crucifixion of the Christ. Civilized people of the whole world (activists for the rights of animals), and also the Russian activists for the rights of animals rely on Pope Francis very much, because he proved to be the person who sincerely loves animals.
Ernest: Are there any shelters or rescues for animals?
Mikhail: Mostly, only kind people and Russian activists for the rights of animals rescue animals in private shelters and in mini-shelters in their personal houses. But federal and regional legislatures intend to issue laws according to which for the most part, animals have to be violently withdrawn from personal house mini-shelters and placed in so-called “the temporary detention” where these animals will be destroyed.
Ernest: How does the Russian government respond to animal rights activism in the country?
Mikhail: There were cases of arrests of activists for the rights of animals. The court of Moscow tried to sentence the activist for the rights of animals Lydia Popova for 5 years of prison on false charges of attack on the police officer (during her arrest), when she attempted to rescue homeless animals (reporting of Igor Prokopenko “Life Under Laws of Pack”). Lydia Popova – the elderly woman, the pensioner, the former school teacher – had no weapon. She had even no kitchen knife. She was alone and arrested by three strong armed guys from the police department. Can you imagine such attack? The court case lasted more than a year. Thanks to mass protests of activists for the rights of animals in front the building of court, Lydia Popova was released from under guards. Recently, the trial of some activists for the rights of animals (Artem Milushkin and his friends) , which released homeless animals – which had to be subjected to killing by the orders of the officials on November 22, 2012 in the city the Island in the Pskov area – was announced.
Only in shelters, which are created by activists for the rights of animals, animals stay safe from murder. But the authorities of the Russian Federation not only don’t provide privileges to shelters, which were created by activists for the rights of animals, but, they also often destroy these shelters. The officials take away the earth previously given for shelters and murder the animals under any pretext. Thus the only shelter for the homeless animals in Maikop and a shelter in Surgut were destroyed in May of this year. The animals were murdered as per reporting of the Information Company “URGA-NEWS” dated may 23rd 2013.
In Surgut, the shelter for the homeless animals (of Valentina Lunyova) was destroyed completely by the direct orders of officials and in the presence of police. 540 animals were killed by workers of state institution for “murder” of homeless animals working under the orders of the director Fyodor Zhukov.
In Maikop, workers of state institution for murder of animals “ELOTA” had broken into the private shelter of Boris Tarkhanyan and killed 13 dogs (at night on May 22-23, 2013). At night on May 24–25, they again had broken into this shelter and killed 26 more dogs (the reporting of Information Company BezFormata.Ru. 2013. 05. 26). Such lawlessness is an everyday occurrence in the Russian Federation. The activists for the rights of animals make huge efforts for rescue of shelters and animals.
Ernest: Thank you Mikhail for sharing with our readers all these details!
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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