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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sealed Trains, Fighter Planes and a Submarine

Editor,
Politicians suggested in The Moscow Times that the European Union may violate Russian human rights in the Kaliningrad dispute.

I looked it up, and I think that the politicians were referring to Article 12.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

"Everyone lawfully within the territory of a state shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence."

Of course, the argument is that the EU would severely limit the freedom of movement within the Russian state for the citizens of Kaliningrad.

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The interesting part is that individuals could theoretically take the European Union to court if the EU keeps rejecting the idea of sealed trains. The Russian state does not need to support a lawsuit.

In principle, three international courts could decide on this: the court of the EU, the court of the Council of Europe and the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The best choice would probably be the court of the Council of Europe because this court also contains judges from Eastern European countries.

But what are the chances of a victory?

Judges would first look to the past. This would be to Russia's advantage because sealed trains existed during the time of the Berlin Wall.

Judges would also look at the impact of their decision.

In most cases, a judgment with a great impact is avoided. Since exclaves are rather rare, this is probably not an issue.

It is unlikely that Britain will demand a sealed train from Gibraltar through Spain and France and finally through the Channel Tunnel.

Furthermore, the politics of the court may have an influence. A decision in favor of Russia would boost the reputation of the court in Eastern European countries.

If Kaliningrad is made into a case, then several judgments are possible. The court might just decide that Article 12.1 is not applicable to the EU. However, in some way that would be a strange decision, as it suggests that the laws between nations are higher than the individual human rights.

That is of course completely against the principle of human rights and the court of the Council of Europe would certainly avoid any suggestion in that direction.

The court could decide that the EU should allow sealed trains.

Or the court could making a ruling that falls somewhere between those two options.

In that case the judges might agree with the EU that it is doing enough to ensure the liberty of movement. This would not be too bad because the court would then recognize that EU measures are vulnerable to human rights violations.

If Russia is forced to make a compromise in the Kaliningrad dispute, then I hope that an individual will bring this to court.

Lucas B. Kruijswijk
Eindhoven, The Netherlands



Passing the Buck



Editor,
Please advise your readers about the conditions for watching English-language movies at the Dome Cinema.

I went there to watch an evening showing of "The Royal Tenenbaums."

First of all, tickets were not sold 30 minutes prior to the screening, as is advertised.

We had to actually look around the hotel for the person in charge of selling the tickets.

The Renaissance Hotel claims no responsibility -- the cinema is an independent business.

But worse was to follow.

All through the show we could hear very noisy construction machines working on the hotel premises, which are under repair.

The cinema claims no responsibility -- the hotel is an independent business.

Katia Gilaberte
Brazilian Embassy
Moscow



Brutal Facts



In response to "Sinking in Mire of Brutality," a column by Pavel Felgenhauer on July 25.

Editor,
I appreciate Pavel Felgenhauer's knowledge of the facts, although different sources give different numbers of civilians killed by the United States and by Israel. But the issue is an important one.

The destruction of the New York towers and the killing of the civilians inside is as brutal as the other killings, whether or not it is regulated by any convention or not.

Also, the Israeli civilians killed by the Palestinians is the same story. Bombs loaded with nuts and nails are meant to be very brutal by design.

In a way, they are more brutal than a "simple" bomb dropped from a plane.

I am not saying that one kind of a brutal act justifies another.

I do not understand, though, how a person can make a list of half the facts and then draw conclusions.

Were Americans bombing Afghan villages before the Twin Towers massacre?

Were Israelis bombing densely populated areas before their own restaurants were bombed?

The idea of drawing conclusions from half the facts has been used by many to justify all kinds of atrocities.

This article, willingly or not, is supporting the cycle of violence. And I would like to stop the cycle because civilians are killed on both sides.

How to achieve such a lofty goal? I don't know.

But I am outraged by articles like this one.

Jay Halicki
Boston



Editor,
I was very pleased to read this column on the United States and the war it is waging in Afghanistan -- and the new wars it is preparing for.

Too often here in the United States the media only has one flavor -- to rally further nationalistic fervor.

I lived in London for a few years, and I became accustomed to real reporting.

Irene Dragustinovich
West Hollywood, California



K-19 Controversy



In response to a letter by Michael Brickman on July 26.

Editor,
Having just recently viewed the movie "K-19: The Widowmaker," I must agree with this letter.

I was very interested in how accurately Hollywood would depict the radiation sicknesses of the brave sailors who were exposed (voluntarily and involuntarily) to such large amounts of radiation from working in the "hot" areas adjacent to the reactor itself.

The gastric symptoms portrayed by victims of immediate large whole-body doses is accurate.

Is there one or more situation portrayed that the veterans of the K-19 object to? I had read the book, which I consider a much better presentation of the event.

To reiterate what Michael Brickman wrote, bravery is bravery, no matter which uniform!

Make no mistake, their bravery and dedication to service is respected by all who view this movie.

Even though Hollywood bends events to suit its own conceptual prisms, most viewers can get beyond the Cold War mentality and recognize bravery when they see it.

What do Soviet veterans think of the movie "Enemy at the Gates?"

R. Lowery
Louisiana



Editor,
Besides the suspension of disbelief that is necessary to accept a cast of English-speaking Russian submariners, and Harrison Ford's lame attempted Russian accent, I did not perceive that the movie portrayed the submariners as heavy drinkers.

Yes, the movie portrayed Russians toasting to victory at dinner, raising shots of vodka, but so what? They weren't getting loaded.

The amount of alcohol consumption in the movie was minimal -- I don't think it portrayed the Russians as party animals.

Yes, there was one submariner who was caught sleeping and suspected of being drunk, but that doesn't make him a drunk.

And the rest of the crew was not portrayed as drinking on the job.

If anybody was portrayed in a bad light, I think it was the military managers who sent the submarine into service before it was ready. As is usually the case, the crew was left to pick up the pieces when the submarine malfunctioned.

In any case, I wish you well, and I wish our leaders would find an identity outside the bellicose.

President George W. Bush is, unfortunately, at his "best" when he is most bellicose, making the world a less safe place for all of us.

Maybe the Russian film industry could make a movie about that.

Roger Erlund
San Diego, California