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Senator Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
February 2, 2006


(Washington) - Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Chairman of the United States Helsinki Commission, announced that the Commission will hold a hearing to discuss distrubing trends in Russia that are evidence of diminishing political freedom.

Human Rights, Civil Society, and Democratic Governance in Russia
Current Situation and Prospects for the Future
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
3:00-5:00 PM
Room 226, Dirksen Senate Office Buuilding

Testifying before the Commission will be:

Panel One

Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Barry Lowenkron, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State

Panel Two

Allison Gill, Director, Moscow Office, Human Rights Watch
Andrew Kuchins, Russia and Eurasia Program, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Nicolai Petro, Professor of Political Science, University of Rhode Island
Andrei Piontkovsky, Senior Visiting Fellow, Hudson Institute

For the past few years, a series of events in Russia has given cause for concern about the fate of human rights, civil society, and democratic governance in that country. Of particular concern is the recent promulgation of a law establishing greater governmental control over NGOs and an attempt by the Russian secret services to link prominent Russian NGOs with foreign intelligence services. As Newsweek International wrote in its February 6, 2006 issue: “The Russian secret service is acting more and more like the old KGB.”

At the same time, the Russian Federation accedes this year to the chairmanship of the Group of Eight Industrialized Nations (G-8), and will chair the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers beginning in May 2006.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

Media Contact: Sean Woo
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Russian Federation


Citizenship and Political Rights
Freedom of Association
Freedom of Speech and Expression
Freedom of the Media
Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion or Belief
International Humanitarian Law
Rule of Law/Independence of Judiciary


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