Andreas Schockenhoff, Coordinator of German-Russian Intersocietal Cooperation, today sent the following letter to the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Ms Lyudmila Alexeyeva:
“I was deeply shocked to hear of the assault on you as you were paying tribute to the victims of the recent terror attacks in Moscow on Wednesday. I send you my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.
It is my hope, and the hope of many in Germany, that you will continue with courage and steadfastness to campaign for democracy and the observance of human rights in Russia. As Coordinator of German-Russian Intersocietal Cooperation, I consider the development of Russian civil society to play a key role in President Medvedev’s modernization agenda. You and your Helsinki Group, as the oldest and most widely recognized human rights organization in Russia, are making a crucial contribution to this development.
You have repeatedly and vehemently drawn attention to Russia’s unresolved problems in the North Caucasus – most recently on 18 March 2010, when you were here as guest of the German Bundestag. The appalling terror attacks on the Moscow underground were a terrible endorsement of your exhortations.
We have also heard with concern your warnings about a growing rift between government and society in Russia. However, a modernization of Russia can only succeed if there is active inclusion of the whole of society. I should like to contribute to this process by strengthening German-Russian intersocietal cooperation.
I am sure that the person who assaulted you will be brought to justice, and I hope this in turn will play its part in creating a climate in Russia where the rule of law and social engagement in civil rights earn more respect and recognition.”