tv [untitled] May 14, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EDT
communication resources and devices and infrastructure right after the disaster. so i think we have to take this as an important lesson to learn for future disasters. and i think as other panelists mentioned, information sharing is a critical this evening to be prepared for and execute correctly. >> my comment again directed at nuclear power plant safety and operations is you asked a question what americans can learn from this occurrence. the word earthquake strikes me as a uniquely unique american word but we've learned so much from the japanese scientists and engineers in serms of understanding seismic and earthquake events and how to protect facilities like nuclear plants from these type of
occurrences, earthquakes. the word tsunami is japanese, uniquely japanese. i have no doubt we'll be learning from the japanese how to protect our nuclear plants from tsunami protection. >> i would say japan and the united states are very similar. we're both advanced countries technologically so as well as our population. we're an educated population, we talked about public education. and i would say we're different in the sense that the united states is much more diverse geographically and we face a much broader variety of threats, whether it be earthquakes on the west coast or hurricanes on the east and the gulf or tornadoes in the midwest. it makes it more challenging in the united states because it almost prepare bing by region o
state as opposed to countrywide. i would say there are some best practices in japan and mitigation would be a great example where the buildings are built to withstand earthquakes in japan and the devastation would have been far greating had they not been built to withstand earthquakes. luckily we did the same things in california and other states prone to earthquakes. the building code is much stronger in california than it is new york for earthquakes. we remain very vulnerable to the black swan or low probability, high-consequence events, for example, that earthquake in new york because there are not mitigation strategies in place. those buildings cannot withstand a imagine earthquake in a metropolitan new york. it will be devastating in like a third world country where they have far greater casualties as a
result because they don't have mitigation factors. >> okay. well, i'm afraid our time is up. i'd like you to join me for thanking the panel for this very interesting discussion. [ applause ] >> and my apologies to c-span for calling them espn. but thank you very much and have a wonderful afternoon. this afternoon we'll be live with a discussion on changes in nato and the impact of its new
strategic concept. the panel is hosted by the british american society and george washington university's elliott schools of affairs. a look the emerging responses attacks. the discussion starts at 1:30 eastern live here on c-span3. this is c-span3 with politics and public affairs programming throughout the week and every weekend 48 hours of people and events telling the american story on american history tv. get our schedules and see past programs at our web sites. you can join in the conversation on social media sites. >> russian president vladimir putin has declined to attend the upcoming g-8 summit in maryland. dmitri medvedev will represent
russia at the summit. this is about 90 minutes. >> david, could you just pull the door shut a little bit. >> let me begin today's event. my name is ross wilson. i'm the director of the center here at the lant technical council and on behalf of the council i want to welcome all of you for another of a series of events on developments in russia. others we have had this year include one that examine the outlook for u.s.-russian relations during this year of political transition in both of our countries. another looked at the mood of russia on the eve of presidential elections and the third examined the business and trade implications of russia's ascension to the world trade organization. today's look at the domestic political scene in russia and the outlook for the democratic opposition movement that burst
into public prominence last fall. for much of the 50-year history of this organization, russian politics is often seen to be unmoving, frozen, motionless or at least opaque. in the late brezhnev area when i first worked at our moscow embassy, the picture was one of waiting, waiting for the inevitable death of the leader and the transition we thought would follow. eventually it came. the ice broke during the stroukia years and for the decade or more that followed the soviet union yet and russian scene were a boisterous and lively one. they were halcion days for news that period. it marked a transition away from popular politics back to a country in which the key political issues and struggles were behind closed doors. so it's been with immense
interesting in this town and certainly here at the atlantic council that we observe the fascinating reemergence of something akin to rile and blix politics in russia, since last fall and since the highly problematic dumia elections that took place in 2004 and the wave of demonstrations that have taken place in the weeks and months that have followed. those of us who care deeply about russia found encouraging that the country, or at least important segments of it seem to have woken up from relative slumber to speak out and act publicly on important issues that the country faces. russia has now completed its presidential election cycle. the march election produced its largely preordained result and vladimir putin was inaugurated on monday, march 7th. soap the putin regime will
continue but the demonstrations will continue as well so, too, does the public sentiment that is seriously less accepting, less accommodating of authoritarian and oshtory governance and corruption. the newly heard voices of populism and some of the substantive issues russia faces today, we're pleased to welcome vladimir kara-murza. a journalist and author, he is
also the washington bureau chief our rti television. earlier he was a correspondent and editor in chief of russian investment review. he's written in the financial times, the wall street journal and published a number of books as well. as someone who witnesses firsthand the events unfolding in moscow and his life is directly affected by them, his observation and comments are of particular value and importance in this discussion today. with us to moderate the discussion is donald jensen, who is currently here in washington at the center of transatlantic relations. he appears regularly on
television. today's event is on the record. after some opening remarks by mr. kara-murza, don will lead what i hope will be a lively discussion. i hope you'll all be thinking of questions. if you have one, please get don's attention and when called upon, please state your name and atill yags loudly and into a microphone that will come around for the benefit of our listening audience. with no fut adieu, please join me in welcoming vladimir karr-murza and don jensen. >> thank you very much for having me. one of the -- the photo college, the jeks a position, one showing the inauguration ceremony here
in washington, d.c. in 2009 where tens of thousands people lining up on the national mall from the capital to the lincoln memorial. the second of the inauguration ceremony in moscow in 2012 with the city center deserted, no people in sight but with troops lining up in the squares. you might have thought there was a bomb in russian capital or it looked like something apocalyptic from a hollywood horror movie. there was not a single person as putin's motorcade made its way. all the central squares and streets and there were some 20,000 interior ministry police guarding the president-elect on
inauguration day. essentially the city looked like it was under military occupation. back in march i was in moscow for the presidential lebs and the protest we had and the days after it and i remember walking down from the square where we had the protest after putin's quote unquote victory, walking down towards the kremlin and i've never seen, you know, the city like that. there were lines and lines of armed to the teeth police and police buses on every single street going to either side. it was certainly not since the crisis of '93 were there so many troops in the center of moscow. whatever it looked look, it certainly didn't look like the behavior of a legitimate winner of a legitimate election. and this of course is because mr. putin is not a legitimate of a legitimate election. and just a few word on what did happen in march. the vote was unfree and unfair
on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. all the way through the process. and the only genuinely opposition candidate was removed arbitrarily by the authority from the ballot. all television, national television, was and is under total kremlin control. there was a monitoring study that showed that 72% of all air time during the campaign was given to putin and 28% was split up between his four nominal competitors. there were harassment and attacks on election monitoring groups and of course numerous violations on voting day itself. as if all the above were not enough, all the usual tricks of ballot stuffing and rewriting of protocols. the carousel voting, when large groups of people are bussed around from one place to another, voting several times.
by some estimates in moscow there was by estimate from independent poll monitors up to 20% of people and these are not people registered to vote at those polling places. so there's beyond any kind of control or monitoring. the legal vote, the civic coalition created to monitor the elections, which fielded several thousand monitors across the country reported about a quarter of its monitors reported violations of various kinds from the polling places. the citizen observer project, another election monitoring group, estimated about 7 million or 8 million virtual votes were added to putin's tally. we don't know. it impossible to know. that's just it, we do not know what the election was. that was the message of tens of
thousands of people who came out to central moscow this sas sunday, to protest the election of an illegitimate president. there were trains cancelled, buses turned away. between 60,000 and 100,000 people came out to protest. and the response was unlike what we've seen in december and february when we had similar sized rallies, it was extremely harsh. it was very much in the style of mr. lucca shen co in belarus, who is sometimes called the last dictator in europe. much to our bewilderment because at that implies that vladimir putin is a democrat. there was pepper spray used on peaceful and unarmed demonstrators, there were batons
used, there's a video of a riot policeman kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach with his foot. this is a direct quote from his report. they were beating people brutally into blood, smashing their faces on the pavement, pulling them by the hair, regardless of gender or age. people april rested not just at the protest but after the protest as they're walking down the street, sitting in a cafe. the riot please walked and ransacked a cafe detained him and several other people who were there and then republic least without any explanation. all of this was still not good enough. we heard putin's press secretary for his reaction as to how police treated the protesters, he thought this was not harsh
enough. they should have had their livers spread across the pavement. this is what putin's press secretary said several days ago. if nanyone needed a preview of putin's plans that's a preview. that's not the main question. we know putin hasn't changed but russia has. it changed beyond recognition in the last six months, especially. beginning in december when 120,000 people came out to central moscow to protest against the rigged parliamentary elections. driven primarily, not exclusively by primarily burr the younger educated urban middle classes, people who have achieved a certain degree of
economic well being and who now want to live in a country with rules of law, who want to be cheated as citizens, not as monkeys. this is no economic slogans, no social demands. this is about dignity and right. this is a movement that forced the krutin machine -- when. >> they were forced to change the legislation and political party and opposition -- anti-criminal opposition party which have been banned for years are just beginning to come back. the -- i don't want to overstate this because these are very timid concessions.
the fact is still that this is the first time putin's regime has been on defense in the 12 years of its rule. as we've seen in these past couple days and this past week, this movement is not going away. this movement is here to stay. the latest poll from the most reputable polling agency in russia, the latest poll from april show that 38% of the russian population, the general population, is supportive of the protest movement and its goals and its demand. that is a serious number. i think it worth noting that even according to the official results of putin's central electoral commission released after the 4th of march, some of the largest cities in russia including moscow, the majority of people voted against putin. this lab very different presidency has the one before.
the time where he could be what he pleased and apathy and silence, that time is finished. i don't think it coming back. there was a very interesting report forecast published in i think it was mid-march which is -- this is by no means -- this is a think tank created by associates by putin in 2000 to draft his presidential program. it's chaired by his deputy premier. that center came out with a forecast in the middle of march saying their prediction for the next few years is the spread of the protests beyond just the large cities out into the provinces, a crash in his approval ratings, a new political crisis, early parliamentary elections likely won by the opposition, and then putin himself struggling to come up with an exit strategy by the 2018. these are analyst who are doubting that he'll be able to complete his six-year term till
2018 given the current moods and situation. in closing, just a few words about the opposition strategy and what the opposition plans and what we will be doing in the coming months and years. the opposition will be going beyond just a street protest strategy although that's extremely important and effective as we've seen, but one of the forced concessions i mentioned early, the direct elections for regional governors the regime was forced to reinstate in december, presents a new opportunity. even in the very much watered down and limited form that the law was actually passed in the end. it's coming into force in the 1st of june. there are several conditions can insirted to make it difficult for major doonds register. as we've seen, in the very manipulated condition, elections present a great headache for the current regime. we've seen that in a recent
slate of opposition victories in a major industrial center in the volga, in the city of yiraslava where the opposition candidate won against the kremlin candidate by 70% to 28. the consensus among the expertsern was it was people voting against the ruling regime. now as russia prepares to hold gubernatorial elections for the first time in eight years, experts are saying that several key regions are likely to go into the opposition's column, stan i slov bilkovsky, well connected analyst predicted boris namsolv woman win the governorship.
greg yavlinsky has not given up running. they had a very good result there in the local parliament y parliamentarilection elections in december. so they have a power base in na city. if we will see several key regions going into the opposition's column, i think that will be a game-changer. leonar, one of the foremost experts on russia here in washington, he compares this slate of opposition victories at the local and regional level that we're seeing unfold to the loss by several communist party secretaries in 1989 in the first partially free elections to the soviet congress of people's deputies, came as a shock to the system. certainly these dozens of communist bosses lost those votes and that was very important kind of initial breaking point. and he compares what's going to
happen, what's beginning to happen and what's going to happen in the coming months. so i think it's safe to assume that russia's on the verge of some very big and important changes and very interesting place to watch in the coming months and years. and once again, thank you very much for hosting this event. i look forward to don's comments and hosting our discussion. thank you. >> thank you. i also want to thank "the atlantic council and ambassador wilson for hosting this event today having spent time in the embassy during those hal seon days, something to which i'm emotionally attached as well as emotionally an can the traed. someone said to me the other day that it was the quietest moscow had entered since na pole joran entered two centuries ago. let me ask the first question and then we'll go around the table. there are a number of narratives it out there by people skeptical about the opposition and its
prospects. there are many versions of this narrative. one of of those is there's no natural opposition leader. i was in the embassy in 1989 when yeltsin arose from what seemed a very elite set of associations to lead this opposition movement. can you address that issue? is there a leadership out there? do you need a leader out there, part one? and part two, two fascinating but amazing liam biggious characteristics, kudran and prokhorov. prokhorov as i understand attended the inauguration earlier this week despite having campaigned as an opponent of the kremlin in the elections. can you comment about the opposition and the allegation that there is no natural leader of this opposition movement? >> well, on your first point, it's been a great strength of the movement, not a weakness, the fact that it has nos
vertical structure and the fact that it is a grassroots-based movement essentially. as much a civic movement as a political movement. if you look at the people who make up the protests the majority are pro deckcracy, but there are leftists, socialists, there are nationalists, right wingers. it's a very wide movement united by the common goals of free elections of releasing political prisoners and allowing opposition feerts compete in elections. so this i think it's not a detriment. it's an advantage the fact that there is no kind of set figurehead and set structure tool this. once these elections begin, especially regional elections you just mentioned yeltsin in 1990, did he, of course, begin his kind of return to power after he was forced out of it by winning in the moscow district for those 19289 soviet congress
elections. we'll see when those elections begin it take place and see those new leaders emerging at the ballot box. that's just a question of time. on kudrihn, he is considered by many as at the very least a double agent. those more favorable say he's one of the clever ones in the regime and sensed when he was winds was blowingen an one of the first ones to jump ship. he resigned -- he was officially sacked but he made everything possible to be sacked back in september two or three days after the putin job swap announcement. that was the major trigger for the protest movement when people especially the middle classes in big cities said enough is enough. you think you can go out there and swap the two the most important jobs in the country and say you're going to hold them for another 1 years. he jumped ship about two or three days after that happened.
so i don't know if that was your point but nobody considers him a genuine opposition. >> he wasn't even considered. >> right. >> in terms of prokhorov, it's very telling that vav lynn ski was removed from the ballot in the election and prokhorov was not. he was given essential little green light in the national media in return for certain conditions. nobody considered him a genuine opposition figure. in those conditions, millions of people directed their protest votes into prokhorov's column. vladimir bukovsky, a former political prisoner urged people to go and vote for prokhorov in march because it's kind of in those conditions the only useful way to express a vote against the regime. in those places where we've seen
votes counted more or less fairly like moscow and other big cities, because there's still a lot of carousels and stuffed ballots, prokhorov came relatively close to putin and a strong second. so that just shows the protest vote chose him as the embodiment. we're not seeing him now, these past two months nobody's heard of prokhorov. people saw him on tv. >> they just designed the basketball team logo. >> that's all he's heard for these days, not the politics. >> okay. as ross said, when we ask you questions, please identify yourself. and who would like to go first? >> bill jones from executive intelligence review. vlad -- >> microphone's coming. >> vlad, i'd like to ask you, what do you say to the argument t