WASHINGTON – On the eve of the Bush-Putin summit meeting in Kennebunkport, four members of a Russian-American study group organized by the Hudson Institute said today that the present Russian regime is moving toward “a durable system of anti-Western authoritarian rule” and called on the U.S. to counteract this tendency by demonstrating strict fidelity to democratic principles.
Zeyno Baran, a senior fellow at Hudson, Evgeny Kiselyev, a well known Russian radio and television personality, Richard Pipes, a professor emeritus of Russian history at Harvard, and David Satter, a senior fellow at Hudson and research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford said in the joint statement that “Russia is reverting to patterns of behavior characteristic of the Soviet Union.”
The four were members of a seven member group that also included Mikhail Delyagin, the director of the Institute of Globalization Studies in Moscow, Andrei Piontkovsky, a visiting senior fellow at Hudson, and Lilia Shevtsova, a senior associate at the Moscow Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The complete text of the study group report will be released today and made available on the Hudson Institute web site at: http://www.hudson.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=publication_details&id=5003&pubType=HI_Reports.
The joint statement made the following recommendations:
• The U.S. should not reach agreements with Russia at the expense of third countries, in particular, former Soviet republics because such bargains would only open the way to “new and more outrageous demands in the future.”
• U.S. – Russian relations should be based on complete frankness. Self censorship on the part of the U.S. has not induced Russia to moderate its international behavior.
• The U.S. and the European Union should develop a strategy to prevent Russia from using energy as a political weapon, including measures to protect against the consequences of a sudden cutoff of supplies.
• The U.S. should take the commitments on the rule of law and human rights that Russia undertook in order to gain access to Western clubs like NATO, the G-8 and the Council of Europe seriously. In the event of flagrant violations, Russia should be expelled.
• The U.S. should strengthen contacts with Russian civil society, encouraging exchanges and expanding broadcasts.
• The U.S. should emphasize to Russians that, although it supports democratic institutions, the core of the U.S. position is support for moral values. This means opposing criminality, corruption, the assassination of political opponents and the reckless waste of lives in hostage situations.
The statement emphasized that, with the destruction of independent centers of power in Russia, the regime is actually fragile and the internal struggle for power opaque and uncompromising. Under these conditions, it is important for the U.S. to expand and preserve its moral capital with the Russian people.