Russian Human Rights Activist Aleksandr Gaponenko Was Convicted in Riga

The court of the Vidzeme suburb of Riga on December 17th sentenced human rights defender, President of the Institute of European Studies (Riga) and Doctor of Economics Aleksandr Gaponenko to a year of probation on charges of inciting hostility or hatred on the grounds of race, ethnicity and nationality, the website “rus.DELFI.lv” reported.

According to the indictment, the alleged acts appeared mainly as publications on the Internet. On April 20th 2018, Aleksandr Gaponenko was detained by the Security Police for actions allegedly directed against the state sovereignty, territorial integrity, state power or the state system of Latvia. This concerns, in particular, a publication on the social network Facebook, in which, as was noted by the agency “LETA”, Gaponenko compared the situation in the region with the 1930s, when the elite of the indigenous nation “almost in full force passed to the Germans and with great joy took part in the destruction of ‘inferior ethnic elements'”. According to the human rights activist, this may happen again in the near future, as, in his opinion, torchlight processions in the Baltic states indicate.

In October 2019, the representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Kristina Sutugina, told “LETA”: the author of the publication was aware that its content was aimed at inciting national hatred or discord towards representatives of Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian nationality.
Meanwhile, Gaponenko himself assessed the sentence on the social network facebook: “The Vidzeme court decided that I am guilty of inciting ethnic hatred and awarded me one year of probation and two years of police supervision. I do not agree with this and will write a protest to a higher judicial institution. This is a complete legal mess.”

According to Gaponenko, “the court’s decision sets a precedent for the prosecution of all anti-fascists in Latvia, all ordinary residents of the country for not agreeing with the construction of a racially pure society”.

“The ideals of the Third Reich and the New Order in Europe are now protected by the force of state coercion,” the human rights activist believes.

Aleksandr Gaponenko is a fighter for the rights of Russian speakers in Latvia. He is the author of a number of studies on Baltic Russians, human rights protection, documentaries, and more than 500 scientific and journalistic articles. Since 2014, he has been constantly subjected to searches and arrests, and is included in the reports of the intelligence agencies. He is banned from entering Estonia, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Moldova.


Yury Vinogradov

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