Yuri V. Ushakov
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Russian Federation to the U.S.
2650 Wisconsin Ave,
Washington DC, NW, 20007
4 April 2006
We, the Board of the PEN Center of German-speaking Writers Abroad, a member of the International PEN, the worldwide association of writers with centers in close to 100 countries, would like to ask for your intercession on behalf on the Russian PEN Center whose existence is being threatened by a current court action in your country.
We are taking this action out of the greatest respect for the Russian PEN Center, with its distinguished members, past and present, out of deep concern for the integrity and the privilege of free speech in all parts of the world and out of specific concern for an action by a Russian court that seems impelled by motives not consistent with fair judicial procedure.
As you undoubtedly know, a Russian court has come to the decision to freeze the assets of the Russian PEN Center, alleging that Russian PEN failed to pay the land tax on the premises. The Russian PEN was able to demonstrate that it is not the owner, but merely a tenant of the property.
We are concerned that the court action is an arbitrary attempt to silence the Russian PEN Center, because of its past criticism of your government.
In asking most respectfully for your intercession, we are joining writers in all parts of the globe, urging that the charges of tax evasion against the center and its Director General Alexander Tkachenko be dropped, so that Russian authors may continue to exercise their right, often propounded by your leaders, of free speech and publication.
Most sincerely and respectfully,
The Board of the PEN Center of German-speaking Writers Abroad