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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
June 11, 2009


WASHINGTON—Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), announced today the U.S. Helsinki Commission will hold a briefing on:

“Dagestan: A new flashpoint in Russia’s North Caucasus”

Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 10:00 a.m.

Room 1539 Longworth House Office Building

Dagestan, the largest republic in the North Caucasus, has joined Chechnya and Ingushetia on Russia’s security concern list. The recent increase in violence, human rights abuses, radicalization of the population, religious extremism, and a growing insurgency within the legal vacuum in Dagestan have grave implications for the entire southern periphery of Russia and the Caucasus region as a whole.

Daily reports from Dagestan document consistent attacks on authorities by armed gunmen, disappearances and murders of local residents, and acts of terror. In response to escalating violence, local authorities have responded forcefully by adopting counter-insurgency policies and methods reminiscent of the brutality seen in Chechnya and Ingushetia.

Panelists include:

Svetlana Gannushkina – Chair of the Civic Assistance Committee for Refugees

Alexei Malashenko – Scholar-in-residence at the Carnegie Endowment in Moscow and a co-chair of the “Religion, Society and Security” program

Elena Milashina – Investigative journalist at “Novaya Gazeta”

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Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic (C), who serves as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2015, meeting with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (L) and Helsinki Commission Chairman Chris Smith (R) immediately after the February 25 hearing on Serbia's leadership of the OSCE. (Feb. 2015)