(Washington) - The Helsinki Commission will hold a public briefing, "Russia: Are Rights in Retreat?" on Monday, June 7, 2004, at 2:00 pm in room 2255 Rayburn House Office Building. The briefing will take place in conjunction with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the United States to attend the G8 Summit, June 8 -10, in Sea Island, Georgia.
Four prominent Russian human rights activities will give their assessment of the human rights situation in Russia today, including specific cases of particular interest.
Panelists will be:
Ludmilla Alexeeva, Chairwoman, Moscow Helsinki Group (founded in 1976), and President, International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
Arseni Roginsky, Chairman, International Memorial Society
Alexei Simonov, Head, Glasnost Defense Foundation
Mara Polyakova, Director, Independent Council for Legal Expertise
Russia has made huge strides in democratic progress, human rights, civil liberties, and press freedom since the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, since President Putin’s ascent to power, influential elements in his government appear determined to reverse Russia’s direction and institute more authoritarian policies in what some have characterized as “managed democracy.”
President Putin is increasingly relying on the “security-intelligence complex” to run Russia. One academic specialist has determined that the proportion of former intelligence, military, police or prosecutorial personnel in the Kremlin’s power structure has increased from about 5 percent under Mr. Gorbachev to nearly 60 percent under Putin.
An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission’s Internet web site at www.csce.gov within 24 hours of the briefing.
The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.