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Sen. Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
July 21, 2006


(Washington) - Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chairman and Co-Chairman, respectively, of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, announced that the Commission will hold a hearing entitled, “Human Rights and U.S.-Russian Relations: Implications for the Future,” on Thursday, July 27, 2006, at 1:00 PM in Room 562 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Testifying before the Commission are Ms. Felice D. Gaer, Chair of the United Stations Commission on International Religious Freedom; Mr. Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy; Mr. Tom Melia, Deputy Executive Director of Freedom House; Mr. Fritz Ermarth, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council and National Intelligence Officer for USSR and East Europe, CIA; and Mr. Nikolas Gvosdev, Editor of The National Interest. A representative of the State Department has been invited to testify.

The hearing will examine ways the U.S. Government can live up to its commitment to promote human rights and democratic governance in Russia while preserving a relationship with Moscow that advances U.S. interests and is conducive to resolving issues of importance to both nations and the international community.

Russia's economic resurgence and re-emergence as an important political player in the international community has increased focus on its domestic governance and its place among the industrial democracies of the world. Actions by Russian law enforcement authorities to intimidate political opposition and NGOs during the recent G-8 summit heightened concerns about Russia's commitment to the principle of governance that characterizes those democracies.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the U.S. Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Final Act and other commitments of the 56 participating States in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Media Contact: Shelly Han or Mark Kearney
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