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The Broadcasting Board of Governors today hosted a panel discussion to examine the impact of several new, repressive Russian laws on freedom of expression and the operations of international organizations.
The discussion, called “New Russian Laws – Tightening the Noose on Free Speech?,” was held to examine a series of measures put in place since President Vladimir Putin returned to office in May. The new laws raise fines on protesters, impose limits on the Internet, make slander a criminal offense, and require nongovernmental organizations that get funding from abroad to register as foreign agents.
“Putin is as bad as he has always been. He hasn’t changed,” said Susan Corke, Director of Eurasia Programs at Freedom House. “What has changed is the Russian people. They have changed and they’re looking to the future.”
For example, the panel noted that last weekend in Moscow, thousands marched in protest of Putin’s rule and in support of democracy.
“Indifference gives way to indignation,” said Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russian journalist, historian, and politician, “This is what we are seeing in Russia.”
In addition to Corke and Kara-Murza, panelist included Miriam Lanskoy, Director for Russia and Eurasia, National Endowment for Democracy; David Satter, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute and Foreign Policy Institute Fellow, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. The session was moderated by Jeff Trimble, the Deputy Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau.
Video of the event is available on demand at www.bbg.gov.