MOSCOW, August 23 (Itar-Tass) — Russian ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said he does not regard Russia as a totalitarian or authoritarian country.
"They have it wrong when saying our country is totalitarian or authoritarian. We have the press and the public opinion," he underscored at a news conference on Thursday, "yet we're far from being perfect. If the human rights situation were good, I'd resign the next day."
Lukin drew attention to the fact that of all the complaints forwarded to him, just 4 percent concern violation of citizens' political rights. "This does not mean however, that they're unimportant," he went on to say.
Speaking about the probe into the case over mass disturbances during the so-called March of the Millions in Moscow on May 6, the ombudsman stated that he stuck to his opinion that the disturbances there did not happen in the manner as described by the law. In his view, both protesters and police committed violations. "Hopefully, the court will give its assessment to it," he said.
Lukin denounced the actions by the Pussy Riot punk group but stated that it was "a misdemeanor, not an offense."
European countries apply the administrative procedure in such cases. "I’m' hoping the next court will have a more careful review of the case," the ombudsman added. He reminded that the ombudsman has the right to challenge court rulings and that he might resort to this right.
According to Lukin, the case has not only legal consequences.
"The poisoned substance of intolerance is spreading in our society ever more. It's typical and even fashionable not to discuss problems but to attack each other," he said.
In this connection, the ombudsman said he was categorically opposed the initiative to create the so-called Orthodox vigilante groups. "It's an awful initiative - creating faith-based vigilante groups," Lukin said.