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Ella Poliakova to visit the NHC

16 March 2015

On 24 March the NHC will host a visit by Ella Poliakova, head of the Russian NGO Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint-Petersburg. Soldiers’ Mothers is an NGO founded in 1991 and is engaged in uniting public efforts to protect the lives, health and civil rights of draftees, service members, and members of their families, and to offer legal, social, and psychological assistance to the citizens of Russia. Since Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint-Petersburg began reporting about the war in Ukraine, it has been under much pressure of the Russian government. In August 2014, the NGO has been labelled as a “Foreign Agent”, an expression akin to “spying”, for speaking out on Ukraine.

Ella Poliakova will be in The Hague on the occasion of the Movies That Matter film festival and the parallel A Matter of ACT programme, organized by Amnesty International. At the festival, the film Cargo 200 will be premiered – a documentary about the war in Ukraine and the fate of Russian soldiers in the conflict. The war in Ukraine takes its daily toll of casualties, but there is not much attention for the people who take up arms for Russia in Ukraine. Reporters who write about them being buried secretly are threatened and molested, and the name signs on the military graves have been replaced by numbers. The families of survivors are subject to intimidation by the secret service and dare not speak out (source: Movies That Matter film festival). For times and places of screening, please refer to the programme. Following the screening, there will be a Q&A with director Masha Novikova, Ella Poliakova and Sergey Gulubok (Russian lawyer).

Prior to the screening of Cargo 200 on Tuesday, Ella Poliakova will visit the NHC to host a public event. At this event, she will speak about the documentary, about the situation in Ukraine, her organisation and the Human Rights situation in Russia, and about others subjects that come to mind. At the event, there will, of course, be place for questions and discussion.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday 24 March from 15:30 to 17:30 at the NHC office, Laan van Meerdervoort 70, The Hague. For participation, please register by sending an e-mail to