Posts Tagged ‘susan corke’

February 2013

Resetting Russian reset, and the rest of Obama’s foreign policy

Washington Post

While the president and new Secretary of State John Kerry are resetting reset, they would be wise to take a look at Freedom House’s new report on Russia. It is a sober assessment of Vladimir Putin’s Russia and where U.S. policy should go from here.

Authors David Kramer and Susan Corke explain:

Over the past year, driven by a fear that the democratic spirit of the Arab awakening would creep toward Russia, Putin and his adherents have launched a series of initiatives designed to close down civil society and eliminate any and all potential threats to his grip on power. New legislation has been crafted to increase criminal penalties for opposition protesters, censor and control the internet, taint nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive overseas funding as “foreign agents,” prohibit U.S. funding of Russian NGOs involved in “political activities,” drastically expand the definition of treason, and recriminalize libel and slander. Arrests, arbitrary detentions, and home raids targeting opposition figures are occurring on a level not seen since Soviet times. One opposition figure was even kidnapped from Kyiv, where he was seeking asylum, and brought back to Russia to be prosecuted based on a coerced confession. A Putin critic living in Britain, Aleksandr Perepilichny, died under mysterious circumstances last November, recalling the poisoning death of Aleksandr Litvinenko in 2006. Also during 2012, the Russian government forced the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) out of the country; the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute soon followed. The legal and practical space for civil society and political opposition in Russia is closing quickly.
They remind us that “Putinism is rooted in corruption. The regime uses the pliant legal system as an instrument to suppress all forms of opposition and protect the corrupt division of economic resources among loyalists. The most senior officials and business magnates are given control over valuable sectors of the economy, especially extractive industries. Such short-sighted perversion of economic forces almost ensures the system’s decline, preventing competition.”

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