This year, the Nobel Committee awarded it to two human rights organizations - the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties and the Russian "Memorial" liquidated by a court decision, and the Belarusian human rights defender, founder of the "Viasna" center

Ales Bialiatskyi


The correspondent of "

Nastoyaschego vremnia

" Zarana Stepanenko met in Oslo with the head of the Center for Civil Liberties

, Alexandra Matviychuk

, and the executive director of the "Memorial" International Society,

Alena Zhamkova


An interview with the third laureate, the chairman of the Belarusian human rights center "Vyasna"

Ales Bialiatsky

, is currently impossible - he is in a Belarusian prison.

Zarana Stepanenko

learned from the head of the Center for Civil Liberties

, Aleksandra Matsviychuk

, how the organization feels about such a decision of the Nobel Committee, and whether Ukrainian and Russian human rights defenders cooperate during a full-scale war.

- It may look like the old Soviet narrative about fraternal nations, when we know that there were no fraternal nations in the Soviet Union.

There was one nation that dominated, its culture dominated, its speech was everywhere, and it was all a fiction.

Of course, this causes irritation.

But this Nobel Prize is not for countries.

This is the Nobel Peace Prize for the people.

To people who together resist the common evil that wants to gain a foothold in our part of the world again.

— Do you cooperate with Russian "Memorial" and Belarusian "Vesna" and at what level?

- We closely cooperate with Russian human rights defenders.

All these eight years, they called the war a war, they helped us to protect the rights of Ukrainian political prisoners and ensure that they live until the moment of release, and that is why the "Memorial" is closed, and Ales Bialiatsky is in prison.

- At what level is cooperation now?

- Russian human rights defenders have greatly lost their ability to make some strategic changes.

This cannot be demanded when the regime is no longer authoritarian, but neo-totalitarian, but, again, cooperation is underway.

Even finding where an illegally deported person is being held - be it military or civilian, try to send an independent lawyer to him or hand over some things there - what Russian human rights defenders help us to do - is very important.

After all, this is a fight for a person in conditions where the law does not work.

With its decision, the Nobel Committee separated people from the states in which they live.

This is the opinion of the executive director of the Russian "Memorial"

Alena Zhamkov


In an interview, she explained how she understands the decision of the Nobel Committee to divide the award between human rights defenders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

- Indeed, we as "Memorial" have been nominated many times, and we received the award now, and we did not receive it ourselves, but we received it together with our Ukrainian and Belarusian colleagues.

And this, it seems to me, is a very important sign.

When the world is falling apart, when terrible crimes are happening, you are an ordinary person and there is almost nothing you can do.

Question: what can you do?

Here I think that everyone, first of all, should continue to do their business, if it is an honest business.

Everyone should be quite firm in their honest stance.

And - this is very important - you need to try to keep in touch and hold hands.

It seems to me that the Nobel Committee, first of all, separated people from the country.

Do you understand?

And this is the principle of "Memorial".

We have always said and still say: the unit of measurement of history is a person.

Man is in the center of the world, not the state - man is the main thing.

The state is for man.

And a person should simply control and make sure that the state does not commit crimes.

And so in this even terrible situation, in these nightmare times of today, the Nobel Committee says: you, people of civil society, hold hands and stand together against evil.

This is how I understand it.

And I think that's very important, and it gives us some hope to work on.

- Will the common award for the three help the Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian societies to reach an understanding?

And how far do you have to go before reaching this goal?

What can you do at your level to make this possible?

- I'm sure it will help.

This is the first.

Second: I am sure that it will be a very long, painful road.

So those who think it will happen quickly, they are wrong.

First, because people are in so much pain right now that they can't even speak.

The horror is that, no matter how much I think that I try to do what I can, and the people of "Memorial" do what they can, but simply the fact that we are citizens of Russia, without asking us, does not reach us. only to my hand, but to the hand of my children, grandchildren from the next generations - they chained such a suitcase with nightmares that you cannot unfasten from your hand.

It is now hanging on our arm.

And now we have to deal with this suitcase, with horror, nightmares, which may not have been caused by us, but we will have to deal with it.