- Title: Russian human activist Svetlana Gannushkina contender for 2016 Nobel Peace Prize
- Date: 1st October 2016
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (FILE) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF KREMLIN MOSCOW, RUSSIA (FILE - JUNE 4, 2013) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF MOSCOW COURT SIGN AT COURT ENTRANCE VARIOUS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, SVETLANA GANNUSHKINA, IN COURTROOM SIGN ON WALL READING (Russian): "COURTHOUSE NO. 367 TVERSKOI REGION" (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, SVETLANA GANNUSHKINA, SAYING: "Well, this is all of course part of the pressure on civil society, and even more than this - it's in fact the destruction of it, this is certain. But no one here is saying a word about foreign agents. No one has yet told me that our organisation is being checked on whether or not it registered on this foreign agent list. This is not what is being talked about. The most surprising thing is that it's not clear on what basis the checks are being performed. We are demanding this - that they explain to us what they are checking because just checking whether or not the law of the Russian Federation has been violated at all is impossible." WOMAN FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, SVETLANA GANNUSHKINA, SAYING: "It turns out that law enforcement bodies are fighting with civil society - completely without reason, and I think, to their detriment." MOSCOW, RUSSIA (FILE - SEPTEMBER 19, 2012) (REUTERS) MAN WALKING UP TO MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE ENTRANCE DOOR SIGN FOR MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE NEAR ENTRANCE DOOR VARIOUS OF MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE HEAD, OLEG ORLOV, WORKING ON COMPUTER DIPLOMA OF SAKHAROV PRIZE AWARDED TO MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE ORLOV SPEAKING MOSCOW, RUSSIA (FILE - OCTOBER 2011) (REUTERS) GANNUSHKINA TAKING SEAT AT TABLE IN HER APARTMENT, OPENING BOOK (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, SVETLANA GANNUSHKINA, SAYING: "Some of our people think we are 'grants consumers', persons who are 'begging at embassies' and so on. There are also people in our country who think that we are not useful for the people, nationalists in particular think so. Regretfully, nationalistic and xenophobic views are very strong in our country, and they are spreading." PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC (FILE - FEBRUARY 28, 2007) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) GANNUSHKINA RECEIVING HOMO HOMINI AWARD GANNUSHKINA LEAVING STAGE, PEOPLE APPLAUDING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, SVETLANA GANNUSHKINA, SAYING: "It is a gift from our friends from the People in Need Organization, which was one of the first to help us in Chechnya. They taught us a lot. That's why this award means a lot for me. It is an act of solidarity, which is necessary for us, unfortunately, still necessary." MOSCOW, RUSSIA (FILE - AUGUST 15, 2007) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) GANNUSHKINA, LISTENING TO ETHNIC AFGHAN WHO HAS RUSSIAN CITIZENSHIP COMPLAINING ABOUT RACISM-RELATED PROBLEMS GANNUSHKINA LISTENING AND TALKING DOCUMENTS ON TABLE MAN TALKING TO GANNUSHKINA MAN SHOWING DOCUMENTS TO GANNUSHKINA GANNUSHKINA TALKING TO REFUGEES FROM AFGHANISTAN ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (FILE - OCTOBER, 2008) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MEMORIAL CEREMONY AT A MONUMENT TO GULAG VICTIMS HANDS LIGHTING CANDLE, PUTTING IT DOWN ON MONUMENT CANDLE, WREATHS AT MONUMENT ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (FILE - DECEMBER 4, 2008) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) PEOPLE OUTSIDE APARTMENT BLOCK WHERE MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP OFFICE IS LOCATED POLICEMEN TALKING OUTSIDE WOMAN AND MAN IN COURTYARD TALKING TO MEMORIAL STAFF DETAINED IN OFFICE THROUGH WINDOW ONE OF MEMORIAL STAFF MEMBERS SEEN THROUGH WINDOW, LIGHT GOES OUT IN OFFICE, WOMAN OUTSIDE ASKING (Russian): "WHO IS TURNING OFF THE LIGHT?" VARIOUS OF MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP ACTIVIST, TATIANA KOSINOVA, LETTING JOURNALISTS THROUGH BACK DOOR KOSINOVA OPENING DOOR / INTERIOR OF OFFICE / MASKED OFFICER STOPPING FILMING
- Embargoed: 16th October 2016 13:45
- Keywords: Svetlana Gannushkina Russia human rights Nobel Peace prize
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA / PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA / PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001526VQ6F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE - THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Russian human rights activist and co-founder of 'Memorial', Svetlana Gannushkina, is believed to be a contender for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
Born in Moscow on March 6, 1942, Gannushkina taught mathematics for over 30 years at a Moscow university before helping found the group 'Citizen's Assistance' to campaign for human rights and the protection of immigrants and refugees in Russian society.
She was later involved in founding 'Memorial', an organisation dedicated to the remembrance of victims of Soviet repression, as well as the 'Migration Rights Network' which provides legal assistance to refugees.
While recognised on a global stage with numerous prizes, Gannushkina said in 2011 that many people in Russia saw 'Memorial' as a useless activist group -- or even as an enemy.
"Some of our people think we are 'grants consumers', persons who are 'begging at embassies' and so on," she said, referring to a quote by Putin directed at opposition and human rights groups.
"There are also people in our country who think that we are not useful for the people, nationalists in particular think so. Regretfully, nationalistic and xenophobic views are very strong in our country, and they are spreading," she added.
Gannushkina was awarded the 2006 Homo Homini award, presented to her in Prague in 2007 by the 'People In Need' organisation, in recognition for her promotion of human rights, democracy and non-violent solutions. The organisers said Gannushkina had consistently defended basic human rights, and has been courageous in her work drawing attention to the rights of the civilian population in Chechnya.
Masked state investigators raided the St. Petersburg offices of 'Memorial' in October 2008, seizing computers in what the group's staff said was a hunt for material deemed extremist.
Staff members said the armed men removed computer hard drives and prevented them from leaving or making phone calls. A camera crew was prevented from filming.
A spokesman for the Russian prosecutor-general's main investigative unit was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying the search was part of a probe about a local newspaper article. He gave no further details.
Gannushkina said further raids in March 2013 saw tax and migration service officers arrived unannounced, demanding the passports of employees and visitors who did not look Russian. The raids were one in a long line of checks and raids at various NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
More recently, Gannushkina won the '2016 Right Livelihood Award' which she shared with Syrian Civil Defence group, also known as the White Helmets, Egyptian feminist and human rights activist Mozn Hassan and independent Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.
The award is sometimes known as Sweden's alternative Nobel prize. The four laureates will share a cash award of 3 million Swedish crowns ($352,000).
The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in Oslo on Friday October 7, at 1100 a.m. (0900GMT).
The prize, worth 10 million Swedish crowns (1.4 million U.S. dollars), will be handed over on December 10, 2016.
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