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“Whither Human Rights in Russia?” Helsinki Commission Hearing Announced

WASHINGTON —Today the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe announced a forthcoming hearing:

Whither Human Rights in Russia?
Friday, January 15
10:00 am— 12:00 noon
Washington, DC

Co-Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Presiding Open to Members, Staff, the Public and the Press Witnesses will include: Ludmilla Alexeyeva, Chair, Moscow Helsinki Group Larry Uzzell, Moscow-based Director of the Keston Institute, Oxford, England Micah Naftalin, National Director, Union of Councils for Soviet Jews David Satter, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, author of Age of Delirium: the Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union A Representative of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry

The decline in Russia’s economic fortunes in 1998 has been accompanied by disturbing developments in the areas of human rights and civil liberties. A religion law adopted in 1997 has led to legal difficulties with local authorities for some religious organizations.

After seven indictments, environmental activist Alexandr Nikitin is still being confined to St. Petersburg having been neither acquitted nor convicted at an October 1998 trial for allegedly revealing state secrets. Nikitin has been listed by Amnesty International as Russia’s first political prisoner.

Communist Party members of the Russian Duma have blamed “Yids” for Russia’s economic travails and Jewish members of Yeltsin’s entourage for “genocide” against the Russian people. In November, one of the most prominent liberal Duma members, Galina Staravoitova, was murdered in St. Petersburg.

Ironically, Russian President Boris Yeltsin declared 1998 “The Year of Human Rights” in Russia in honor of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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