Title

Russia: In Transition or Intransigent?

Thursday, May 24, 2007
B-318 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
United States
Members: 
Name: 
Hon. Alcee Hastings
Title Text: 
Chairman
Body: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Name: 
Hon. Sam Brownback
Title Text: 
Ranking Member
Body: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Name: 
Hon. Chris Smith
Title Text: 
Ranking Minority Member
Body: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Statement: 
Witnesses: 
Name: 
Amb. Daniel Fried
Title: 
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Body: 
State Department
Statement: 
Name: 
Sarah E. Mendelson
Title: 
Director of Human Rights and Security Initiative, and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program
Body: 
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Name: 
E. Wayne Merry
Title: 
Senior Associate
Body: 
American Foreign Policy Council
Statement: 
Name: 
Lilia Shevtsova
Title: 
Senior Associate
Body: 
Moscow Carnegie Center
Name: 
Jeffrey Hahn, Ph.D.
Title: 
Professor of Political Science
Body: 
Villanova University
Statement: 
Name: 
Igor Zevelev
Title: 
Washington Bureau Chief of RIA Novosti
Body: 
Russian News and Information Agency
Name: 
Rajan Menon
Title: 
Monroe J. Rathbone Professor of International Relations
Body: 
Lehigh University
Statement: 

This hearing, which Commissioner Alcee L. Hastings chaired, focused, on Russia, a country whose role had become larger and larger, with a more assertive take on Georgia, Russia’s neighbor to the south, as well as concurrent positions in the United Nations, the Group of 8, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE. In spite of an initially positive looking trajectory of representative government after the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., since 2001, the Russian government had begun to recentralize power again. This has been perhaps best exemplified by the government’s curtailing of civil liberties.

While the Russian Federation has made progress in certain arenas as far as human rights are concerned (i.e. having heat in the winter, getting paid on time, and access to the judicial process), there has been a vocal and growing minority that is deeply concerned about Russia’s trajectory, and the Russian government has met these individuals’ concerns with heavy-handedness and brutality. To address this situation, Commissioner Hastings expressed the need to find new ways to have more frequent interaction and with all governmental branches, as well as a substantial and sustainable bilateral dialogue at the level of civil society.

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