WASHINGTON – Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission), issued the following statement regarding the creation of a Russian think tank, known as the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation. The think tank, which has been approved by the Kremlin, will be funded through unknown private donations and will reportedly study human rights and democratic development in the United States and Europe.
“The United States is a free and open society, with a vibrant civil society. In fact, at the Helsinki Commission I spend a great deal of time looking at our own human rights record and democratic development. We have nothing to hide. I welcome Russian interest in examining our nation’s implementation record of OSCE commitments agreed to by all Helsinki signatory countries, including the Russian Federation, and look forward to any findings and recommendations they might produce.
“Such scrutiny is consistent with the recognition by all 56 OSCE countries that questions relating to democracy, human rights and the rule of law are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States,” said Hastings.