European Commissioner for Human Rights Alvaro Gil Robles has recently completed a tour of Russia. He advised Russians to realise as soon as possible that they are Europeans too. Rossiiskaya Gazeta sums up the visit.
The commissioner travelled 20,000 km across Russia in 15 days, met representatives of over 100 public organisations, politicians, journalists, and clerics. At the end of his trip, he shared his impressions, comparing Russia to a run-away train. In his words, everybody on this train is looking for their place, but nearly nobody notices how quickly they are moving. The first thing a foreign visitor to Russia notices is this fast movement, the newspaper quotes the commissioner as saying.
People in Russia, Mr. Gil Robles continues, are so far more concerned about their economic status and social reforms than consolidating democracy. Mr. Gil Robles described the Russian military as the most open state structure, as they provided him with all the information he requested. The commissioner remarked that he would love to see equal transparency in other countries too.
According to Mr. Gil Robles, views on Russia are dominated by the stereotype that the relatively affluent Moscow is surrounded by some steppe with no life but only poverty. Western views on Russia should be changed. European countries are not keeping up with the reality of Russia, which should overcome its inferiority complex and realise the simple truth that it is part of Europe.