Vladimir Kara-Murza: Strengthening Democracy In Uncertain Times

October 11, 2017

Vladimir Kara-Murza speaks at the Forum 2000 Conference at Žofín Palace, Prague on the current threats posed to democracy both in Europe and the wider world.


On Monday October 9 Open Russia’s Vladimir Kara-Murza participated in the Forum 2000 Conference at Žofín Palace, Prague. Kara-Murza was involved in two discussions entitled Democracy Challenged and the Growing Authoritarian Threats to Democracy, which both sought to discuss some of the most pressing questions facing contemporary Europe: Democracy is at a crossroads in the West and is facing numerous challenges, but what can be done about it?

The event took the form of a panel discussion including Yascha Mounk, political scientist from Harvard University, Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organisation of American States, Amr Hamzawy, Senior Fellow of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Felipe Gonzalez Marquez, former Prime Minister of Spain, and Vladimir Kara-Murza, vice chairman of the Open Russia Movement.

The discussion was broad in its scope as each speaker’s background brought a different approach to the topic.  Kara-Murza focused his opening remarks on the significance of the murder of leading Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov and “the first territorial annexation in Europe since the Second World War [referring to Crimea]”, outlining how the Putin regime’s disregard for the rule of law at home necessarily spills out into the international community.

“We hope to see other western democracies take a lead on this issue, sending a message to those crooks and those human rights abusers that they will no longer be welcome in your countries.  Apart from the moral aspect of this, which I think is absolutely unquestionable, it also has a very practical purpose of defending your countries and your political systems from the import of corruption and from the import of the corrupt political influence of the Putin regime.” 

You can watch Vladimir Kara-Murza’s opening remarks here:

“The Magnitsky law also introduced a groundbreaking notion in international practice, it actually assigned responsibility, for human rights abuses and corruption where it is actually due, instead of punishing an entire country for the actions of a small, unelected clique that misrules the country; it goes directly after them.”

Kara-Murza later remarked on the importance of targeted sanctions, claiming that western policy has often focused on sanctioning Russia as a whole, when in fact the chief abusers of human rights and corruption are part of a small clan of criminals; those who have usurped power in Russia.  Kara-Murza’s comments on the groundbreaking significance of the Magnitsky Act, which set a precedent for an international movement against individual human rights abusers, are available below:

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