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tv   Senators Rubio and Cardin Discuss Human Rights in Russia  CSPAN  April 6, 2017 6:24pm-8:01pm EDT

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>> for our complete "american history tv" schedule, go to saturday, book tv is live from the 15th annual annapolis book festival in maryland. beginning at 10:00 a.m. eastern, our coverage includes a panel discussion on income inequality with an author of the book "living on $2 a day." then at 11:00 a.m. eastern a discussion on criminal justice wijustice. at noon eastern, author discussions with the author of "pilgrimage, my search for the real pope francis."
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and at 3:00 p.m. eastern, thomas do dolby, author of "the speed of sound, breaking barriers in technology." senators ben cardin and mar cue rubio spoke at an atlantic council discussion on human rights abuses by the administration of russian parking light vladimir putin. after their remarks, a prominent russian dissident swho survived two poison assassination attempts.
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[ indiscernible chatter ] >> one, two, three. one more. one, two, three.
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good morning, everyone. welcome to the atlantic council. i'm paula dobriansky. i'm on the executive committee of the atlantic council board, and i really want to commend the council's center for today's program, which is entitled "the state of human rights in putin's russi russ russ russ russia." today's forum is particularly timely. russia has experienced the worst crackdown in human rights in decades, and we have three keynote speakers who will be up first and all of whom are making
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a difference in their own way. they're strong outspoken advocates for freedom and basic human rights in russia. i'm going to introduce the first three. then we'll be having a panel afterwards which will be moderated by dr. polykova of the atlantic council. first, we'll be hearing -- i'm going to introduce all three. we're going to be hearing first from a maryland senior senator ben cardin, ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee, who just this week condemned the arrests of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in moscow. he is a cosponsor of the global human rights accountability act, which empowers the united states to deny human rights abusers and also those corrupt officials entry into the united states and access to our financial institutions. following him, we'll be hearing from florida's senator marco
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rubio, also a member of the senate foreign relations committee, who earlier this year on february 27th, the day that the former deputy prime minister of russia, boris nemtsov, was gunned down right in front of the kremlin, senator rubio introduced legislation that would designate the street boris nemtsov plaza. the senator said, quote, the creation of boris nemtsov plaza would permanent remind putin's regime and the russian people that their dissident views live on and the defenders of liberty will not be silenced. and then we will hear from vladimir kara-murza, who is known to everyone in this room and out of this room, whose life has been twice threatened. he was in russia just again
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recently, and he was there traveling to several russian cities to present a documentary on boris nemtsov. he abruptly became ill, was hospitalized. his friends, families, those of us in this room fear that he was targeted with poison. and i have to say for all of us who know him and have worked with him, he's a man of courage. he's a person who has strength of convictions, deep convictions, and a very fervent desire to see a democratic russia where fundamental freedoms are protected. vladimir is vice chair of open russia moment and also chairman of the boris nemtsov foundation for freedom, and we're very honored that he is able to be here with us today. i also want to recognize his wife, evgenia, who also is here,
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who also is truly a person of courage as well in this fight. so without further ado, please join me in a very vigorous applause for these very three distinguished speakers. senator cardin? [ applause ] >> madame ambassador, first of all, thank you very much for that very jgenerous and kind introduction. it is a pleasure to be back to the atlantic council. particularly to be here with my colleague and friend, senator rubio. one of the real great leaders in the united states senate on so many issues, but today on human rights there's not a greater champion. i serve with him on the senate foreign relations committee, and i must tell you i am so proud to serve on the committee with him. he raises to everyone who comes before us the critical questions on support for basic human rights, so senator rubio, it's a pleasure to be with you as always, and thank you for your
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championship on these issues. but to my friend vladimir, two of us, senator rubio and i, we speak out, but we know we're safe. you have courage that is incredible on behalf of the russian people and the world community. and we thank you. we thank your wife. what you do is an inspiration to all of us, and it gives us the energy to pursue these causes here in the united states, so thank you for being the person that you are, an inspiration to -- >> i see congressman slatry, nice to see you, that you're here in the audience. it's good to be with so many friends. when the history of america is written about this period of time, i believe it will speak very strongly about america's greatness, and it won't be america's greatness for its military power. it will be america's greatness in promoting universal goals, the goals of good governance, anti-corruption, and the goals of supporting human rights, of
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speaking out on behalf of democratic institutions. and it was america's strength that brought down the grip of the soviet union and liberated central and eastern europe. that's what's going to be, i think, the key to how we are perceived historically as to what we did during this particular time. and we saw the power of those ideas. we saw the power of those ideas this past weekend when the russians took to the streets to protest against their corrupt government. they're doing what my dear friend john lillis. he's an inspiration to me, a living legend, as to his fight on civil rights. he said, sometimes people just have to speak out, and they have to raise their voices. they've got to move their feet. and we saw that happen in russia this past weekend where thousands turned out to say, no, we want a government that
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reflects the people of russia, not a corrupt government. and that action will bring about a change in russia. russia will return to its greatness of a country that respects the rights of its citizens, and valladimir's actis are bringing that day to be sooner than it otherwise would be. human rights are not a western imposition, but a russian demand. and that's what we are trying to promote. this is not about the russian people. it is about mr. putin and his corrupt system that we are fighting. this is not a new idea. in 1975 the european community along with the united states came together with the 1975 helsinki accords. i've been active with the helsinki commission since my election to congress many years ago. it was a concept that pointed out that we have a right to
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expect that countries will adhere not only to military security and economic security, but to basic human rights. and that's not just an internal matter. all the cigna tors to the helsinki have a right to challenge the commitments being adhered to by my -- any member state. russia is violating those commitments every single day in so many different ways. if you're a journalist in russia, you know you cannot operate with safety. you know that your lives are at risk. if you're in opposition, you know you better watch your back. if you're an ngo, you know you're going to be labeled an undesirable foreign organization even though you are there to promote global issues. you know corruption in the judicial system, corruption is called the lubricant of the
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putin regime. it's enabled mr. putin to carry out his autocratic procedures and the way that he operates. the election system itself is fraud guaranteeing that the results will be what mr. putin wants. minorities are not safe, whether they are lgbt community, whether they're ethnic minorities, migrants, all are in jeopardy in today's, putin's, russia. the question is why should we be concerned. well, there's several reasons. first, this type of human rights violations, these type of corruption, lead to instability in regimes and will make our world less safe. and secondly, we've seen that mr. putin is ready to attack america. he did attack america. that's not even being disputed anymore, i think, even by the president. but mr. putin attacked us, attacked our free election system. mr. putin is active in europe. he was active in montenegro and
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in germany and france. he's trying to bring down our way of government to create more space to she che can expand his influence, his type of leadership around america and the world. we need to protect democratic institutions. so what should congress do? what should we do in order to stop that? well, one thing we have already done is pass the sergei minski law. today there are 44 individuals that are currently listed under the miniski law. but there's more that we can do.
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and i along with 19 of my colleagues have filed the countering russian hostilities act. it deals with the current challenges that russia is presenting to us. russia, yes, is violating basic human rights of its citizens. it's also attacking us, as they did in our free elections. they also are interfering with the sovereignty of other countries. obviously, we all know what they did in ukraine with crimea and eastern ukraine. also muoldova, georgia. we need to make it clear to russia that that is not acceptable. sanctions are affecting russia, so we can strengthen the sanction regime against russia. and the legislation that we have filed will do that, and it goes into many areas that we can
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strengthen by going into the energy sector, going into how they finance their sovereign debt, how they deal with privatization. we can strengthen the resolve against russia, and our european allies understand the importance of this. we need to work with europe, but there's a second part of this bill which is equally important, if not more important. it defines an effort with our european allies to fight the russian propaganda so we can use all our countries together to counter the lies that russia is doing to cause instability in so many countries around the world. and it develops a democracy initiative to counter attack. i met with the bulk of leaders this week. they said, that's great. we should coordinate it between
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the united states and europe, a plan to protect democratic institutions from the types of attacks we're seeing from russia. it's not just taking cyber information and using it to compromise elections. it's also false news and using false news as we've never seen before. we need to work together, and we also need to pass legislation that senator rubio has been actively engaged with me on and that is the syrian war crimes. mr. putin is committing war crimes in syria. he is using humanitarian targets as a way of advancing his support for assad, and that type of conduct needs to be held accountable. let me just conclude by quoting a person who i have a great deal respect for, and that's vladimir. vladimir testified before our committee in 2015, and he said then that he did not ask that the united states come to the support of russia. he wasn't asking for that.
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he wasn't asking for our economic or military support. what he was asking us to do is not to make it easier for mr. putin to carry out his ideals. don't give him creditability. don't acknowledge what he's doing is right. just the opposite. stand strong on u.s. global principles because that's what the russian people need. they need america to be clear, strong about the values that are universal that have made us the great nation that we are. i want you to know, vladimir, that you have our commitment that we're going to do just that, that we're going to stand up for the values of america, we're going to stand up for why this nation is the great nation it is, we're going to stand up to our helsinki commitments, and we're going to stand strong with the people of russia. thank you. [ applause ]
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>> thank you. i want to thank senator cardin for his kind words and for his introduction here today to you. he has indeed been a partner in these issues that face us so much so that in the hallways when i'm approached by the press they say, can you comment on the bill you're doing with senator cardin, which one? it truly is an honor to work with him on these. i have already told vladimir i think senator cardin has the same issue. in addition to a vote at 10:00 in the senate, we have two important votes going on in the foreign relations committee, which senator cardin is the ranking member on, and then the senate intelligence committee has public hearings today on a topic that -- well, i think you know what it's on. so we need to get there on time, but i also want to thank the
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atlantic council for hosting this event. the state of human rights in putin's russia -- and i don't quarrel with the title. i understand the point, but it's not putin's russia. it's russians' russia. russia is not vladimir putin. russia is an ancient proud culture and tradition embedded in its people. vladimir putin just happens to be a tyrant that today controls its government, but i thank you for inviting me to participate in this event. and i'm incredibly proud to be here with vladimir kara-murza. when we talk about people around the world who risk their lives in the name of freedom, vladimir is an example of just how true this is. and his brave fight for democracy and freedom in his country is truly an inspiration. we have an award in america called the profiles in courage, and it is large lly given to someone who took political risks
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because you might have lost an election or took nasty criticism in the press for doing so. a real incredible level of courage is knowing that your position on politics can yhave you killed or exiled or both. the state of human rights under vladimir putin and russia has long been on a severe decline. this deterioration has only accelerated in recent years as putin and his cronies have cracked down on civil society, anyone critical on the russian government. when times are tough in russia, as things are now, this is what happens here. an abysmal human rights situation that becomes even worse. we have seen over the last number of years vladimir putin's critics mysterious poisoned, thrown out of windows, murdered,
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all of it this year alone and we're only in march. vladimir kara-murza survived his second apparent poisoning attempt. the government has implemented draconian laws attempting to bar public consent. we watched this weekend as thousands of predominantly young russians took to the streets to protest the putin government to make clear that the people want a transparent government. so what was the response of the putin government? they arrested and detained hundreds of people. this is only the latest in any event -- incident that reminds us how critical it is that the united states stands with the russian people. this behavior by the putin regime is nothing new. in 2015, russian authorities began implementing a 2012 law that places any advocacy group that accepts foreign funding on
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a list as foreign agents. many nongovernmental organizations spent resources defending themselves against these attacks or labels of being a foreign agent or they simply closed. each year he tightens his grip on the country as he tries to mask the abuses against his own people with aggression outside of russia. globally, putin has made his intention clear on the world stage. he wants to establish spheres of influence in europe and the middle east. what that has meant is him aligning with the most brutal tyrants and regimes in the world not to just undermine america, but people in the world's interests in war crimes. he directly interferes in nations looking to further align themselves with democratic values and with the united states. we should be under no false
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illusions. putin's dreams of restoring what he sees as the days of the russian empire are what drive him in thiez goese goals. russia is a nation and a people that should be very, very proud of its history, should be very optimistic about its future given the chance, and has so much to contribute to the world. it does not need a tyrant in order to achieve these things. we have all read and have heard about putin's efforts to meddle in the elections of our democratic allies in europe just as he attempted to influence our own elexctions here in the unitd states last year. in the middle east, he's engaged in a bloody campaign in syria partnering with iran and the assad regime. he claims to be fighting isis, but it's clear their efforts have clearly targeted civilians. he's worked with assad and has
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inflicted thousands of civilian deaths and injuries and contributed to the refugee crisis as even more refugees flee the ever increasing instability. all this chaos makes it easy for the world to overlook the ongoing abuses of the putin regime against his own people, but we cannot allow that. that's why it is important for us to have gathered here today to renew our commitment to the cause of human rights in russia and to remind people like vladimir and others and other brave democracy activists that we truly do stand with them, that we will use every tool at our disposal to hold putin accountab accountable, and we'll not allow the brave acts of people like boris nemtsov to be in vain. last month was the two-year anniversary of the assassination of mr. nemtsov. he was murdered on a bridge in
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moscow in plain sight of the kremlin. that was two years ago. no one has been held to account. we must continue to call for justice and honor these brave individuals in russia who stand up to putin and his cronies. that's why on the anniversary of his assassination i introduced a bill to rename the street boris nemtsov plaza. some may ask what impact is this going to have. well, as vladimir put into "the washington post" recently it will remind putin's regime they are on the wrong side of history and these disseidentsdissidents will live on and will not be silenced. the current regime in russia will be angry about the naming of that street, but hopefully a
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future democratic government in russia will be proud that the street in front of their embassy bears the name boris nemtsov. as the new administration now continues to shape its foreign policy and its national security strategy, critical to include human rights and democracy as core elements of any broader engagement in any country in the world. and russia is a perfect example of why this is true. i'm proud to join senator cardin to introduce sanctions on putin, aggression, destabilizing activities in the united states. additionally the rule of law accountability act is one valuable and critical tool that the united states has to address human rights abuses by vladimir putin. we also need to continue adding individual to this list and holding those complicit in human rights abuses directly accountable. we should consider new measure to target the state sanction corruption at the top of the putin government, the corruption
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that brought thousands of russians out into the streets this weekend. they realize that their country has a huge opportunity to join the rest of the world, embrace democratic values and to protect the human rights of all of their citizens. sadly russia's current leader has chosen a path of instability. his actions pose a national security threat to the united states and undermine our interests and the interests of all freedom loving people. as long as he continue to go down this path, we must choose to strengthen the relationship with our allies in the region and with the russian people, and to support them. the united states of america smus stand with the russian people in their fight for freedom. now it is a truly my honor to introduce vladimir who is here with us today after surviving an
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apparent chance to poison him last month. he has made russia's future and the cause of promoting democracy in russia the work of his life. and despite being a target he continues that work undeterred and as passionate as ever. you're an inspiring exam. to all of us here and i believe to the russian people and people everywhere. it's my honor to introduce you to those who are present here today and those who may be watching at home. ladies and gentlemen, vladimir
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kara murza. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. i'm especially honored and very very humble to be speaking after two such distinguished leaders on global democracy and human rights in the united states senate. from two different sides of the aisle, as it should be. and i want to take this opportunity to thank senator marco rubio and senator ben cardin for their work and the commitment to the principles that are forgotten and overlooked in this age but that are so important to so many people. thank you. it seems there should be little new to say about the state of human rights in russia. after 17 years of lat mere
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putinputi vladimir putin's rule. there's never a shortage of discussion of the topic. it was 17 years ago that the question was asked, who is mr. putin. for those who are paying attention and noticing the early sig signs, mr. putin provided the answer early on, before he was asked, before he became president of russia. i often think back to one particular day, december 20th, 1999. mr. putin was still prime minister. it was the last few weeks of boris yelledson's presidency. the day of the annual commemoration of the founding of the secret police in 1917. still marked in russia. they'll have a centennial this year. i'm sure they'll have a lavish celebration. in the morning he unveiled a memorial plaque to the kgb
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chairman aimed at targeting and expressing dissent. and that same evening he went to a gathering of kgb veterans and he addressed them and told them publicly in front of tv cameras with a smile on his face, he said, i can report to you that the group of fsb officers sent to work on the cover is fulfilling its mission. and there were still some at the time what thought that was a quaint joke. every single thing mr. putin and his regime has been fully in line with that mission. the silencing of the media, the consistent continuous rigging of elections, the blacklisting of ngos, the revival of politically motivated imprisonment. we have 100 political prisoners
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in our country. just to compare, in 1975, when andre wrote his nobel peace prize acceptance speech, he listed by name 126 prisoners in the soviet union. that was not an exhaustive list. we can see that the numbers are becoming comparable. that was the soviet union, twice as big of russia in terms of population. and these prisoners including opposition activists and their family members. they include regular citizens jailed for participating in peaceful street demonstrations. and include ukrainians arrested after the annexation of crimea, as well as the last remaining hostage of the case that saw russia's largest oil company s
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dismantled and seized by the government. and jailed more than a decade to op pose the parties in civil society groups. of course imprisoning these folks carry a risk. we live in the information age after all, the age of growing importance of international political opinion. and prisoner consist turn the table and use this to expose the regime by continuing their struggles behind bars, as so many people have, both in the soviet times and today, while continues to take a stand even while being imprison. there's not much of a stand you can take when you're lying on the floor struggling to take a breath, unable to move, feeling your heart racing away and your body given up one organ after another, and then spend weeks in
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coma. i've had to do this twice now in two years, both as a result of an undefined toxin nap's what the medical diagnosis said. both times doctors assessed my survival at 5%. i'm happy to be with you today and very grateful and very fortunate. many of our colleagues and friends have not been that fortunate. they have not had 5%. boris nemtsov didn't have five % pfs when they put five bullets in his back, 200 yards from the kremlin. the leader of the russian opposition, the most prominent opponent of vladimir putin. and there is total impunity for those who ordered and organized the killing. not identified, not apprehended. if you can kill the leader of the opposition in front of the kremlin and get away with it, i think it becomes pretty meaningless to talk about the state of human rights or any other human rights abuses.
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but i want to talk also today about the other side of the story. about what is happening despite the repressions and the crackdowns and the threats. last sunday tens of thousands of people went out to the streets across russia to say no to the pervasive government corruption, to the impunity for this corruption, to the authoritarian rule, the lack of accountability and frankly against the arrogance of the same small group of people whose held power in our country now for 17 years. most of those rallies were quote unquote unauthorized. in violation of the russian constitution of course which guarantees the free of of assembly. local authorities went to great lengths to say these rallies are
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unsa illegal. they were met with the police and the national guard, set up a couple of years ago by putin with the exact purpose of putting down opposition rallies. and yet the people still came out across the country. and what was most striking about these demonstrations was the scale and the composition. this was the most wide spread opposition action i think since the early 1990s, since the breakup of the soviet system. the rallies were bigger in moscow, but it wasn't as geographically wide spread. this time it was 82 towns and cities across russia, large and small, across 11 time zones, east to west. and it was of course striking because of who participated in the protests. the vast majority of those who came out to the streets of russia last sunday were young people, university students,
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high school kids in many cases, people in their 20s, early 30s, many in their teens. this is the putin generation. these are the people certainly raised in many cases born under vladimir putin's regime. the people who have never known any other political reality, who don't know what it's like to have free elections, a pluralistic parliament. for 1990s is something out of a history textbook. who have watched the same face on television screens for their entire lives and in fact who have long stopped looking at those television screens. this is the generation that trusts twitter and youtube much more than it trusts the russian controlled television channel. and it is this generation that is increasingly realizes that the putin regime is robbing t m
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them, the young generation of russians of their prospects and of their future. and there's really not much mr. putin can do about that, apart from now the national guard and riot police. the day after these protests took place i was asked by a journalist whether i was surprised. and i have to admit i was surprised about the scale, how wide spread and geographically diverse it was. but it was not surprised about the participation. i have seen these people. over the last three years since we've relaunched open russia first as prodemocracy and later as a full democracy movement, i had traveled across the country, across the regions. and we've been holding events across the country, public events to try to maintain and keep that space for public discussion in our country that's been increasingly shrunk and squeezed and attack. public lectures, seminars, round
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tables, debates, film screenings and such. almost every time the authorities try to sabotage, prevent and stop our event from taking place, by bogus bomb threats, they switch off electricity in the building or sometimes the entire block. but the people refuse to leave. we've never had an event canceled. we went and looked for another place to hold it. we've held events in a swimming pool once, in the cafes. in the streets. one of my favorites was a couple of years ago we had an event in st. petersburg with a political analyst. and after 11 or 12 locations rejected, you know, us trying to rent or lease a hall or a room, we just said fine, okay, we'll do it out on the street. this was st. petersburg, this is in the spring so it was pretty cold. but that was fine. there were hundreds of people. and we took, just took a sound
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system, a loud speaker. and we were standing there and he decided to read out poetry. this is st. petersburg, the culture capital of russia. i remember this was one of the best events we had. there he was holding the loud speaker reading poets. and there was a police holding the exact same loud speaker pointed at us. while he was reciting poetry, the police were reciting parts of the criminal code that we were supposedly breaking during this demonstration. may i have some water.
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sorry. excuse me. and so every time we held our events and the people didn't leave, and they came and they participated, and i've seen them and i've seen how their growing self awareness of citizens and their interests, including interest in civic participation became stronger than the sense of fear and that was really hopeful. and in fact most of our work at open russia is directed at this new generation. the new generation of democratic activists in russia. these are the faces of a future post putin russia. the russia that we want to see based on the rule of law, based on democratic institutions, based on respect for human rights. and it's the russia that we'll continue to work for. mr. putin and his regime would like the whole world, certainly the west, certainly the united
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states to think that russia is just about him and his regime. in fact one of his closest aides was recently on record saying is there is no russia if there's no putin. that's a direct quote. and apart from being deeply offense i in my view, this is also not true. and i think we all saw that on display last sunday across the country. because russia is so much more diverse, so much bigger, so much different and frankly so much better than that face that we've all been looking at for the past 17 years. thank you very much. it's a pleasure to be here. [ applause ]
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>> thank you so much for those inspiring remarks. i would like to ask the rest of our panelists, including yourself, to join us on the stage for a discussion. thank you. so, i just want to also thank senators cardin, senator rue yo for the remarks early in our discussion. i'm the director here at the atlantic council and it's an honor and a pleasure to host this distinguished panel who are here with us today for this very important timely event. we certainly were planning this
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particular event, did not anticipate the protests that took place across russia this past weekend, but of course this makes this much more timely. and i'm absolutely thrilled and very happy to see vladimir with us today for many reasons. i won't introduce him again. i think both senators and the ambassador have done a wonderful job. but i think i speak for all of us here at the atlantic council when i say that we admire you a great deal for your courage and your incredible perseverance and persistence in the fight for the freedom of your people. thank you so much for being with us. to my left i have the president of the national endowment for democracy. the national endowment for democracy has been the primary vehicle for supporting pro-democratic civil society in the former soviet union and
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elsewhere in the world. we're grateful for your work as well. thank you for joining us. last but certainly not least, tom is the former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor at the u.s. department of state. he served as the washington director for human rights watch and various posts at the state department including policy planning staff before that. and tom has been, i think, the leading voice on human rights particularly in russia, the rest of central eastern europe and we really appreciate the hard work you've done for us in the service of this country. so thank you. and i want to start the conversation with some of the points that you already brought up vladimir. you talked about the demonstrations and who was there. and the belief you have in the future of russia because of how wide spread and how highly
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partipa parties pra toir these demonstrations were. the people on the streets, in almost 100 russian cities from west to east were very young. they were basically, you could see, raised by putin himself. and so in your view, from what you know about who was there, what were their desires and demands? i know that the demonstrations started by anti-corruption but what do they tell us about the stability of the regime and where the next generation of russians stand today. >> thank you for the question. it's good to be here again. well the immediate reason for the protest of course was the anti-corruption drive in the fimment thfi film that was released a few weeks ago, a film alleging the mass wealth of current prime minister and former caretaker. it's a billion dollars worth of palaces, mansions, vineyards,
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yachts. not just in russia. this goes to the point senator cardin raised in niz introduction speech. the role in the west enabling these people. some of of his holdings are in tuscany. it's a very nice place. that was all documented in the f film. that film was seen by 13 million people on youtube. if you watched russian tv you wouldn't know that any of this existed. needless to say, there was no comment, no official reaction from the government to any of this. the only reaction is he's been band from the instagram page. and i think that was the immediate trigger for the protests. which in a way makes it similar to what happened five years ago after the rigged parliamentary elections. people feel as if the government is wiping their feet on them. everything is so brazen, in your face, no reaction.
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they don't even feel the need to account for this. and why should they? they haven't had to face a real election in 17 years. they continue have to face scrutiny by independent media, no checks or balances, a real parliament to keep them in control. why should they be accountable. but this new generation, the young people who have never seen anything except putin's regime. but they have the instinctive feeling that they want to be citizens. they don't want to be a place mat on which you wipe your feet on. and i think this again -- there's a phrase revolution of dignity. people speak of the events in ukraine in 2013 and '14. this is a strong feeling, dignity. this is certainly about dignity five years ago after the elections. it is certainly about dignity now and it is certainly not all about corruption. that was the immediate reason. if you watched all of the
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protests and the videos from across russia -- the only thing i was upset about is not being there in person. as you know, i'm still undergoing rehabilitation so i'm going to be here for a while. if you watch these rallies and the people's speeches and the slogans, some were about corruption, sure. but people also chanted no war, people also chanted russia without putin. and the main thing people chanted was russia will be free. >> some of those slogans went back to earlier protests that doesn't include young people. these slogans are resonating against generations and i think that's a really important point for all of us to remember that even in places where the grip of power by authoritarians seem to be strong and so totalitarian, there's also space for protests when people don't feel satisfied with the social contract that
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they've been forced to by the regime. and they weren't born when the contract was made 17 years ago, certainly were not adults. so they are in a way not bound by it. >> thank you. the national endowment for demccy has worked across central eastern europe for many decades to promote democratic values and principles. and you know we're talking about russia now but in many ways russia has -- particularly putin, the leader of the country has become a symbol for many ill liberal leaders in central, eastern europe as well. and there does seem to be a growing trend toward authoritarianism, a spread of east to west where other political leaders, heads of state see themselves and saw themselves as ill liberal states, quote unquote. do you see a trend happening across the new democracies that
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we thought were stable and were moving forward liberal democratic societies and is there a backlash. and is putin really the symbol these people are looking to? >> well, you know, when you have a country that is able to expand its geopolitical influence, that has political consequences. and then you also have russia very deliberately and systematically using the information space that exists, not just in essentially europe but here as well, not only to project their own views but to divide the moral of the countries in the west, and then you have the problem of not just stealing from the people but then using the proceeds of the stealing to increase their influence both at home and abroad. and to do it with the help of western enablers and in fact the western financial system.
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and you know, i think we and people in europe just have to know what we're dealing with. and i don't think we fully realize what we're dealing with. when vladimir before was talking about the events on december 20th, i mean they were events that took place before then which, in a sense, are even more eye opening than what you described on december 20th. of course i'm talking about what happened in september with the apartment bombings. and in my view there's no question as to what happened there. you know, when the fsb was discovered to be behind the attempted bombing after the first four bombings and they were using the same materials. and 293 russians were killed there. nobody knew who putin was before that. how do you get somebody going from 2% popularity, nobody knew who he was and really representing the fsb to becoming known by everybody as a savior against, you know, chechen
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terrorism, which is how they portrayed the apartment bombings. and that's what it was. and he became, you know, the war -- the second war in chechnya started the day after the bombing was discovered. so people didn't pay attention to it. then they eliminated all of the people who were trying to write about it. so i mean, we're up against something really very very serious here. and you know, people in the west have to get over the illusion that, you know, that we're dealing with a normal country. we're not. and we have to protect ourselves more. we also have to deal with our own internal problems. we have sere yours internal problems and a regime like putin using the information space, the resources, the stolen resources can exploit. you know, it's not just about
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solidarity with people like vladimir which we have to do. and vi to say that effort i hear him speak i realize that he's got a rare voice, really a rare voice. and it's so important for the future. but we have to protect ourselves, you know. and i think we're learning that but we have a long way to go. >> i think one of the things you're pointing to is while there is some appeal in strong leadership, authoritarians that is spreading i think across some countries in central eastern europe, i think we have to do our part to expose and undermine the rottenness of that radio james and the disservice that it does to the people who have to live in that kind of regime. >> this is my tip l wishful thinking. i think this problem is peaking. my hope is that le pen is not
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going to win the election in france. it's beginning to peak. but democracy has to revive itself from within if we're to be able to become real allies of people like vladimir. and that was the message i thought by the way last month senator rubio held a hearing in the senate and garry testified and i really urge people to look at his testimony because it really was a clairian call to us to recover our will and awareness. >> and leadership. so thank you, karl. you brought up the information space and i want to bring you into the conversation, tom. vladimir, you also mentioned that the young generation trusts facebook and twitter more than they trust other state sponsored media. and i think this is an important thing to remember. people have access to the information. but at the same time i think the regime, not just the russia regime but other authoritarian
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regimes see information as a danger to their stability. as a result we've seen western organization being forced and expelled out of russia who have tried to support independent media in civil society. tom, you are assistant secretary in the last administration until very recently. giving the political climate, the international organizations which supported independent media in russia are no longer able to operate there. what else -- what can the u.s. actually do to try to support these kinds of democratic movements, independent media in places like russia and other authoritarian countries? >> well, i think there's still a great deal that we can do and we -- you know, when russia made it -- when the russian government made it difficult if not impossible for the united states to directly support independent civil society inside
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russ russia, which i think we had a number of effective efforts which contributed to the deep sense of insecurity that putin felt and continues to feel. i think the increase in repression in russia over the last several years is a sign of the insecurity of the regime, an interesting point that we should also remember, even as we, as we look at the strong facade that putin projects, that underneath that facade must be a tremendous amount of insecurity. so, you know, we were not able to continue to do a lot of the work inside of russia that we were doing. but that doesn't mean that we can't work from the outside, maintain connections to solidarity and direct support for russian activists, for independent media, working from
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outside the country. it doesn't mean that we cannot work with russian speaking populations in neighboring countries in ukraine and the baltic states and so forth. in terms more proudly of how we can and should respond to what is happening, though, i think we have to be brutally honest, not only about the political developments in russia over the last several years but also about political developments inside the united states. when bad thing happen in other countries, our instinct churl response in america is to appeal to our government and particularly to our president to say something and to do something. when i was in the obama administration, many of you guys came to us, whether it was about russia or the ukraine or burma or china or any other place, you
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urged us to take a tougher stand and you were right to do so. i'm a democrat. when we had a bush administration, i didn't much like the bush administration. but i absolutely believed that president bush thought that the united states should be a force for good in the world. i was routinely at the state council urging those folks, including paula, i don't know if he's still in the room, to take a stand on this, that or the other. i don't feel that way about the current occupant of the white house. i think we have to be open about this and think about what it means. there were a number of people this week who criticized president trump for not calling for the release and not condemning the protests. i found myself not joining in on that protest. i don't want pruch to call for the release of anti-corruption
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protesters in russia. it would be hypocritical for him to do so. from my standpoint, the thing -- he in many ways represents the thing that some of these young people in russia were protesting against. he has told us very very clearly -- and we need to listen to what people tell us -- that he doesn't really believe that the united states can be or should be a force for good in other countries. we have an america first foreign policy today. and when confronted with evidence of putin's abuses against his people, his instinct has consistently been to repeat russia propaganda about the lack of moral authority of the united states to condemn anybody else for these kinds of actions. basically talking down american democracy by saying our system is rigged, our system is corrupt, exactly what russia
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today say, exactly what russian diplomats would say to me when i was assistant secretary whenever i tried to push an agenda of human rights promotion in russia. so i think what this means for the rest of us is that the traditional model of petitioning the white house for help in these situations has to be replaced by a model in which we all take greater responsibility many on her own shoulders, whether the institutions that we respect ourselves as citizens or other parts of the u.s. government, other branches including the congress. i think the most important thing, for example, that the congress should do, and the senators alluded to this, is to respond to what russian activists have been asking us to do for years, and that's to make sure that the united states and western countries cannot be a safe haven for dirty money coming out of russia. there have been numerous efforts in the u.s. congress for example to close the loophole that allows russian oligarchs and many other bad guys around the
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world to set up shell companies in the united states which is as easy in america to do as it is in the cayman islands and all these other places that we hear about. that has to stop. we can continue and should can't financial support to civil society organizations working on human rights in russia and around the world. we can't do that if the state department budget is cut by 37%. folks, if you care about this, you've got to care about that. and our members of congress have got to ensure not only that this budget request that the administration sent up was rejected, but that we have an increase for the programs that are in greater demand today when civil society is under attack in so many countries. my former bureau, the human rights bureau at the state department will do its job with whatever resources they are given, do everything it possibly can to support the brave people in russia and around the world. our duty is to make sure they
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get the resources despite a clear intention of the president to deny them. i would focus on those two things. >> thank you, tom. i will say that it seems that congress has taken a much stronger and assertive role in pushing the administration in the right direction. so i think giving us some time we will see what happens. the fact that we had a senior democratic senator and a republican senator here with us today i think is a very strong signal that there is bipartisan support for democracy, our values and principles and promoting those values and principles abroad. i would like the see more of that as well. i know you have been active in trying to nudge our congress in the right direction. so thank you for doing that as well. and i think tom, you're certainly right about that. but at the same time my sense is -- correct me if i'm wrong about this.
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despite everything, you paint an optimistic picture of the future, that things will change in places like russia, that perhaps national eastern europe, this wave of populism is hitting its people and will decline. that these are temporary movements that will not last in the long term. but at the same time, tom, you kind of put in a little note of maybe cynicism and pessimism into this picture. if wae don't have civil engagement, we will not going to see these changes take place. so i guess my question to you is, you know, how does democracy get its mojo back in this political climate? how do you get people who are becoming disenchanted with these ideas to reengage? >> i'm actually not that pessimistic. i was trying to honestly point
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to a very very deep problem that we have to confront. but i also think that this is a clarifying moment for a lot of people. i think that there was a lot of complacency in this country and western europe and in many parts of the world about the inevitability of democratic institutions lasting forever. a lot of complacency about the strength and vitality of our own democracy here in the united states. and also about the threat to our democracy posed by awe tookcy in russia. even in the state department i have to say we were deeply, deeply concerned, extremely nervous about the impact that things like fake news and dirty money might have on democracy in
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mall do va. we weren't really thinking about here. or france or germany. and now we know. and i think it may be every generation or two there needs to be a shock to the system to scare people straight and to show us, a, we have to work or asses off to protect democracy in our cone country, it's a never ending cycle, and b, if we're not using our moral influence and strength to share with those who smar ohare our v, really bad things happen. our grandparents had that shock in world war ii which was the event that defeated the first america first movement in this country. it was not an eloquent counter argument made by people in panel discussions that defeated it. it was pearl harbor. and we now have a political
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crisis in this country and in the western world that i think is scaring a lot of people straight. and you know, i saw a lot of young progressives at the rallies after the trump administration waving signs about putin, you know, funny plays on his name and clever slogans and all kinds of things. and you know, you wouldn't have seen that level of interest four or five years ago among young progressives in this country about what is happening to people like vladimir and the assassination of boris nemtsov. folks get now the connection between that and what is happening closer to home. our job is to sustain that awareness and to help translate it into a political agenda, a policy agenda that over the next several years will win out in this country. and i think we can do that. >> so i want to get your
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reflections to what tom just laid out. are we at a turning point? are these protests a turning point for russia we're seeing young people engaged in politics and civil participation? are we going through a turning part in other parts of central, eastern europe, karl? what is your take on that? >> i do believe that we are in a crisis, whether it's a turning point, i don't know yet. but you know, a crisis does present an opportunity. i think people are realizing that we have a problem. and we have to address that problem. i'm not sure i agree with tom that arguments are not important. you need just the attack on pearl harbor and 9/11 to make people really wake up. i think it's important now for people who care about the values of freedom and democracy to come together and to begin a campaign to argue for these values, to
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reaffirm the first principles of democracy, which are being not only ignored but also demeaned. and exploited. in other words, putin is using the openness of our society to undermine the very principles of openness. and i think it's important, which has not been done by any political leaders. it's not just this administration. there are no democratic political leaders who are really strongly affirming the values and the principles of democracy. and i think it's going to have to start with intel le intel le and civil society. i think it can start with vladimir putin and people in the struggle. they're not jaded by the problems that we have. and we have very real problem. as important as the video about the corruption was this nine-minute video that came out.
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there's a school in breonsk, 350 miles southwest of moscow. and one of the students in this high school had been trying to rally students to participate in the protests last sunday. and he was picked up by the police. and the principal of the school -- this is all on video because one of the students shot the video. the principal of the school then started lecturing to the kids, to the students about true patriotism and why they were supporting, you know, chaos and division and war. and she said, you know, what do you want? and one of the students said, we want justice. she said, what do you mean by justice? and i'll quote, he said justice is when the authorities care about their people. this is a high school student in a small town, you know, 350 miles from moscow, where they care about their people and not just about themselves. when they care about ordinary citizens and not about their
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millions of dollars. many people want to live in a free state in a free country. this is coming from a high school student. now when you have voices like that that then, you know, speak up, prepared to take risks, go into the streets when they know what the risks are, and you have or articulate voices in high school, i think they can help rally people here. we have to find ways, new ways of connecting people. the internet can be very helpful, watching the videos can be helpful. and then people who think about these issues, people who shape opinion, they have to formulate arguments as to how to respond to the propaganda coming out of moscow and to reaffirm the first principles at the core of our democracy and unite us against the political divisions. we have a political battle to wage and we have to do it with effectiveness, courage,
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intelligence and dedication. >> ideas still matter. >> ideas matter fundamentally. the whole idea of freedom -- this is what these young kids are fighting for were the idea of freedom. that's what vladimir is giving his life for. >> i want to add first of all i urge everyone to watch and read that exchange. i believe it's been translated into english and posted on many websites. it's astonishing. these are not political activists. these are 15-year-old kids in a small town in the south of russia. they're arguing back, talking back. this is going on all over the place, in schools and universities. after this protestings on sunday. especially in universities there was one case in st. petersburpe a traditional town with liberal traditions, and the professors, the principals, whoever are gathering the classes and in some cases the whole, you know,
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a whole class and university went to these protests. so they're gathering these yo g youngste youngsters, how much were you paid from washington. they're actually saying this. we're not making these things up. people who have supposed to be professors, adults standing there with a straight face asking how much they got from washington. >> putin spokesman said they were bribed. >> it's his job to say these things. i'm not sure he believed it. but that's really what's amazing. it's the clash of generations. and if you just see those exchanges and listen to the kids. they're kids. listen to what they're saying. that's amazing. and to your question, yes, this is a turning point and primarily a turning point because of the demographics. again because of the age, because this is the tomorrow of russia. these people. these are the faces of tomorrow. and when you have, you know,
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let's say you have protests caused by particular grievances or just general political protests. you can satisfy some of the protesters by granting c concessions on particular issues. this is what they did a few years ago. in the first few days they were really scared and i remember those few days when many of us thought that was it. and it turns out we were a little optimistic. for the few days they began those few days handing out one concession after another. restored gubernatorial elections immediately. and just a year and a half i think before that, or a year before that, he was on the record saying we will not restore gubernatorial elections in russia in 100 years. these are his words. as soon as 100,000 people stood on the square, it took him five minutes to restore them, not 100 years. so there was some concessions
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and of course a crackdown in may of 2012 when police just beat up the peaceful protesters and arrested dozens and some people are still in prison five years on for taking part in those protests. you can do that. you can grant concession to some. you can scare or pressure somebody else. but when it's a whole generation that's fed up with you, there's not much you can do. we just had our own, when open russia put up a poster this morning online in preparation for the next wave of protests which are being planned for the end of april, and this poster doesn't have -- it's not a sophisticated message. just a picture of vladimir putin with his mouth covered and just one word, fed up. these are the people who have lived their whole lives with him. they've not seen anything expect him. that exchange that karl referred
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to, tra principal saying why are you unhappy, why do you want. this i don't know if she think about this before she asked it but she said who is better, which government that you lived under was better. they never lived under another government. how would they know. all they know is him. the people who come to vote next month in the russian political election will have be born under putin. they will be born under him. this is how long he's been in power. when it's a whole new generation that's simply fed up with seeing one face on their tv screens every single day, there's nothing you can do about this. yes, this is a turning point. i ra elleally believe this. >> your comments, they're passionate first of all. but second of all it goes back to the point that tom was making, this is an insecure regime. totalitarian regimes are stable, although they're not. and i think that is the point we have to remember.
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we're thinking about the threats posed by russia to us and how we can have a disruptive strategy against the regimes like that that threaten or national security here in the united states and our allies in europe. i want to leave a little bit of time for questions from the audience who i'm sure are eager to ask a question. but before we do that, i have to ask you, are you planning on going back after all of this? >> yes, i do want to two back. this time i'm going to be a little more differential to what the doctors were saying. last time i went back almost immediately after the first poisoning. i could hardly walk and i went back. this time i'm going to take some time to get completely restored. i look better than i feel. there's still a way to go for recovery. and well i might as well say it, the doctors said in moscow because i've had this twice in two years, they said if you have a third one, that will be the last one. they really advised me to get 100% or as much as i can of my
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health back before i go back. i'll heed their advice and be more obedient to what they're saying. but yes i want to go back and i will go back. i think what we do is important, our work is important. and i don't think we have a moral right frankly, even before all of those people who went out to protest last sunday, despite the riot police, despite the batons and the national guard, i think we have a responsibility before those people to continue, not to hide, not to run away, not to give up. there's nothing more than the he would like for us to do than to give up. we're not going to give him that. >> thank you. that was very powerful words. and like i said, i think all of us are here because we admire you for your courage and the courage of your family as well. so let me take a couple of questions. i'm going to take three questions all at the same time because we don't have that much
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time left. please introduce yourself, ask a question, not a lecture. mr. little, please, ambassador. >> jan little from the united council. thank you very much for being here. the biggest action that the west has taken, the united states has led, george any has gone along has been economic sanctions trying to pressure russia and then we had the oil prices drop and just recently russia's gdp has fallen below south korea now. there's some real impact there. the question i have for the panel is this is a viable strategy as the main tool to try to bring about change along the lines that we would all like to see. >> thank you. let me take two more questions. the gentleman in this row, in the glasses.
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yes. >> my name is brigs burton from victims of come michl memorial foundation. my question is whether or not there is any value in coordination between the human rights activists movements in russia and in china, in cuba and in countries across the world and trying to really globalize the human rights movement even in those individual instances. >> thank you. and i saw a question here. in the fourth row. >> american university. question of persecution of minorities in russia. we know that several groups are persecuted. called nontraditional religious minorities. one is jehovah's witnesses. minister of justice is going to file a claim to ban this group. so we want to know what kind of
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would bring to freedom, religion freedom in russia. what's the opposition for this. >> thank you. so question on sanctions being the right policy to bring about change, whether it should be coordination, global movement coordination and then religious freedoms. who wants to take one of those. >> let me take the first two and maybe tom might want to say something about the third. there are a lot of things that we can do. i think the sanctions that we now have are minimal, absolutely minimal. but you know, we have to protect ourselves and protect the information space. i think there are issues having to do with military support, you know, not allowing these planes to be bombing in syria and in ukrai ukraine. you know, but probably the most effective thing we could do is really cut off access to our investment system for the stolen
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resources. i mean there's this organized crime and corruption reporting project which just came out with a report that the guardian reported on which had $20 billion -- documented $20 billion dollars of stolen money. could be as high as $80 billion. the video had $1 billion. but it's much much more than that. it's -- these are enormous sums of money. and, you know, no matter how much we speak about human rights and defend human rights, our system is also underwriting these authoritarian systems by taking the money, laundering it, enabling it. this is well-documented. and if our congress and political system, along with, you know, europe, can really require that if anybody wants to
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invest money they cannot do it anonymously with these anonymous companies, shell banks and so forth. to really tighten it up and have transparency and know who's investing and not to accept stolen money, i think that would do more than anything else to affect the power and influence of these autocratic countries. regarding coordination, a lot of coordination does take place plr already. and there is something that we provide the secretary with called the world movement of democracy. brings agent democracy activists. coordination at the human rights level. i know at the end of may vladimir is going to be at the meeting which provides a coordination for human rights activists, u.n. watch and geneva has a human rights meeting which does something like that. i strongly support that eni think you now have a tool with
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the internet and social media to try to strengthen that coordination and make it regular and that it should also involve common actions, coordinated actions to try to free political prisoners. >> and i think the united states has done the least on your first point in terms of legislation, congress on the question. i think there's a great deal more that could be done among the relatively weak sanctions. >> it's an emerging issue i think. and there's a readiness to take the issue seriously. i called issue to the clip tookcy. the work of charles davidson, all these people are becoming really -- real specialists who are documenting the problem here. >> and do you want to respond to those questions? >> i'll say something on the sanctions point. i think it is -- it's extremely important that the sanctions be sustained and i think there
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is -- there's a little come place complacency right now given the scrutiny into the allegations of connections between the trump campaign and russia, it will be hard for the administration to do a grand bargain with putin in which the sanctions go away. but that said, sanctions to be maintained, to remain effective don't just need to remain on the books, they have to be enforced vigoro vigorously. and we have to watch very very carefully to ensure that the treasury and state departments in this administration actually do the work to continually renew the sanctions. they're supposed to be a maintenance package that the treasury department under normal circumstances would do in july that would add names and entity to the current sanctions list. we need to make sure that happens. we need to make sure that we are
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lobbying our european partners, particularly some of the countries that are more under putin's influence, like right now, like right now like hung garry to vote for the renewal of eu sanction when's they come up also in july. all that said, though, let's remember the sanctions are not -- these sanctions were not meant as a response to repregs inside russia, they were not intended to try to change russia internally. they are a response to russian aggression in the ukraine and the seizure of crimea. and were those issues to be resolved somehow, the sanctions wouldn't necessarily go away. so we need to keep our focus, if we're concerned about these issues, again, on the broader set of anticla tokcracy measures that our congress haez has
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within its power to put into place. and my hope is that the state investigation into russian interference in our election and possible collusion with the administration continues were that there will be a legislative agenda that goes along with that as members ask the questions how can we better protect ourselves against that kind of interference in the future, whether it comes from russia or china or any other country. and i think if they ask that question, the natural answer will be, as i think all of us have said, to tighten the rules against the anonymous laundering of money in our financial and sadly as we have seen in our political system. we know how do that, we need the political will. >> absolutely. >> thank you i'll quickly address the questions that were asked first on religious freedom very simply we believe in what the constitution says and that guarantee tease freedom of relij jn to oufl our citizens as well
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as steps we've taken. on the difference between human rights movements that's a good idea because the challenges are the same, the ways of dealing with them are the same and there is this cooperation going on but it's especially posh to have cooperation with countries that have experienced very similar sbaigs situations to what we have and also the countries that are closer to us. and of course ukraine is the main one here and i think and i've said it many times that i think the primary moeft motivation for putin's aggression against ukraine that began in 2014 was not the geopolitics or sfeerz of influence, it was because of an analogy that was too uncomfortable and close to calltor mr. putin. when he saw him boarding that plane fleeing as you hundreds of thousands of people were standing on the streets of key ef, a corrupt athor tear onstrong man forced out of
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power, in ukraine, a country similar to russia in terms of religion, heritage, this was too uncomfortable for him and this is why we need to be cooperating and we are. there are close links between these movements and the human rights movements in ukraine, have been for many years. on the sanctions that's a very important question and thank you for it. first of all, the biggest sanctions and the most hitting sanctions against the russian people were introduced by vatd vladimir putin in the summer of 2014 when he imposed the blanket ban on food imports from the european union, north america and other countries which has contributed massively to the flood inflation in the last few years. and it's affect lgt regions like st. petersburg where it's a 45 minute drive to the boarder all of their food supplies are not from the european union and now you have to fly stuf from turkey
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and china and that contributes to the prices. after the sanks were, to deuced you walk down the street and if you just go inside the court yards you'll have these cars that people, you know, open up and they have all this will food they just brought from across the boarder in poland in the is something i remember from my childhood. these are the toughest sanctions introduced. the kremlin propaganda tries to portray them as sanctions imposed by the west, which say lie. as far as western sanctions go, i would like to offer the russian per spelkttive on this, the opposition russian perspective. we're against sanctions on russia and the russian people and this san important point for us and i had an opportunity to testify in the senate yesterday, the appropriation subcommittee hearing pat the chairman of the subchit tee lindsey graham has the lead response or of the thakt was introduced.
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i said to him that it's very important to be careful about the language. it's essential that the u.s. is not seen as seeking to punish the russian people for the actions of a regime that they can neither unseat in the free election because we don't have any, and cannot hold to account through independent media or legitimate parliament because we don't have any either. this is very important there are goes back to the same point that i mentioned earlier not equating russia and the putin regime. >> i think the most effective sanctions and frankly the most principaled sanctions are the individual ones, the targeted sanctions. the act that was introduced more than four years ago, we had them speak here today. when was paksed we were sitting in the house of representatives, it was in november the 16th, 2012, the third anniversary of sergey's dmej prison and we were
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sitting there as members of congress who were voting it as a massive majority in both cases and it was called the most prorussian law in the history of any foreign parliament because it is because it targets those people who abuse the rights of russian citizens, us, and return the money toul stolen. there's now been 44 people sanctioned under this act and names came until january while the former administration was still in place. >> just in time. >> just in time. and i have to say that was a very important day when that came because the person ahead of that list, i see thomas smiling, of course we had some conversations about this in the last few years, as a guy called general bes strikic, the head of the top law enforcement body. this was a person who was basically tailor made for the act. he was in charge, so this is supposedly the top law enforcement official. he was in chafrg all the politically motivated, the
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activists, he was in charge of that valley's case, and others and he personally took a leading independent journalist in russia to a forest near moscow and threatened him with murder and laughed and said i'm going to be the one in charge of the investigation of this so don't worry about it. he actually admit today it's not in dispute, allegedly, he said it. he said sorry afterwards as well but think that's not enough frankly. and he was put on that list and aetz most high ranking kremlin official that put on the list. and we really hope despite everything this law continuestor implae meanted and it's very heartening to see other countries going follow the u.s. example. it'sen a few years. and the first european country to follow suit was astoneya. not all of the grand countries of all europe but a tiny former soviet republic, it was the first european country to have the ta nas sit toy say knoll, we're going to put a brock to
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these human rights abusers. and now the united kingdom is in the process of adopting this and that would be game change because that's been a long time destination. it's not against russia and the russian people, but against those specific individuals in and around putin's regime who engage in human rights abuse, in corruption and who has v used for years western countries and financial systems as havens to send their families, stash their money, to buy property, yachts, vineyards as we found 0 out and that be should stop. theertz types of sanctions that are both right in principle and also the most effective. and while we were watching with boris the house passion the act, he said once we have the rule of law and a democrat system of government again in russia, i will be the first one, he said it about himself, he said i will be the first one to go back to the u.s. and i will give a repeal of the this act because
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we won't need it anymore, we'll have our own system of the rule of law and we'll be able to bring our own skond dralz to sm justice. unfortunately that day's not yet here and it's important to carry on. of course it won't be boris himself but i hope some of us if we live to that day will be coming here and asking for a repeal. but again that day's not here. >> thanks to senator cardin we now have a global act so the legacy of this brave russian lawyer who sacrificed his life for this skauz now a low that enables us to hold human rights violators and corrupt officials accountable throughout the world. so we're not going to repeal that even if russia becomes a full-fledged democracy. >> thanks for that, tom. and i think on that note we have to unfortunately wrap up. but the young people will carry on. the very young people that were on the streets in moscow just this last weekend. so thank you again for being
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with us today. thank you, tom, thank you carl, and thank you to our audience. please join me in thanking our panelists. [ applause ] >> tonight on c-span 3 a senate confirmation hearing for the nominee towed had the food and drug administration. and the house armed services committee holds a hearing on military budgets. the nominee to head food and drug administration, dr. scott gottlieb testified at his senate confirmation hearing about his priorities for the fda which include combating opioid addiction and speeding the approval of new drugs. this hearing of the senate health committee is two hours and 40 minutes. >> please come to order. this morning we're hold a hearing on the nomination of dr. scott gottlieb to


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