Vladimir Kara-Murza: 2013 a Big Year for Russia Because of the 10th Anniversary of Khodorkovsky’s Arrest

February 25, 2013

A Heritage Foundation panel, hosted by Dr Ariel Cohen, and featuring Vladimir Kara-Murza, Senior Policy Advisor at the Institute of Modern Russia, Dr Stephen Blank, Research Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Army War College and Dr Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation, met on February 21st to discuss what could happen next for Russia after the failed American reset. All three agreed that in the context of President Putin’s crackdown on freedoms, human rights needs to be high on the agenda for US-Russia relations.

Human rights must be a part of every dialogue and every contact we have with the Russian authorities,” stressed Katrina Lantos Swett, who chairs the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. “The United States should engage not only the Russian government, but also the Russian opposition. We need to give Russian society our public support.

Vladimir Kara-Murza described 2013 as an important year for Russia:

“This is going to be a big year [for Russia] not just in terms of events but also anniversaries. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of Russia’s most famous political prisoner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, serving in jail. October 25th will be the 10th anniversary of his arrest. June will mark the 10th anniversary of the last independent television station being shut down – TVS. And December will mark the 10th anniversary of the first fraudulent Duma elections which kicked out the democratic opposition from parliament. However, as I have said before, the trend now is in the opposite direction.”

Kara-Murza concluded that, if the reset has been about ignoring Russian society, then any new strategy must balance the position of the West with a future democratic Russia, noting that this should happen in the next few years.

The Khodorkovsky case is referenced at 18:43 and 20:00