U.S. – Russia panel on Magnitsky may cover Chechnya, includes critics of Radio Liberty firings

BBG Watch Commentary

Hudson Institute LogoMonday’s, April 22, the Hundson Institue panel in Washington, DC on U.S. – Russia relations, the Magnitsky Act, and the future of the “Reset,” may also turn into an interesting discussion on the war on terror and provide in-depth analysis of Russia’s role in Chechnya in light of the Boston suspects’ North Caucasus origins.

The discussion among Russian and American scholars may also touch on issues of U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting as former officials in charge of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) unsuccessfully tried to eliminate radio broadcasts to Chechnya but succeeded in firing dozens of journalists working in Putin’s Russia for the American-supported media freedom outlet.

Hudson Institute is a nonpartisan, independent policy research organization.

The panelists include Hudson Senior Fellows Andrei Piontkovsky and David Satter, and Cato Institute Fellow Andrei Ilarionov, a former economic adviser to Putin.

Interestingly, all three are on record opposing the former RFE/RL management’s decision to fire Russian and other journalists and to change the station’s programming policies to favor feature reports at the expense of hard-hitting political journalism.

Russia expert David Satter offers scathing criticism of RFE/RL president Steven Korn, BBG Watch, November 19, 2012.

“In a wide-ranging interview recored at the Ekho Moskvy radio station, Russia scholar, journalist and author David Satter offered scathing criticism of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) president Steven Korn. Satter, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, pointed out that by firing dozens of journalists at the Radio Liberty Moscow bureau, Korn ruined the station’s reputation in Russia created over many decades. Satter was interviewed by former Radio Liberty political reporter Mikhail Sokolov.

In the interview, Satter said that Korn does not know the culture of Russia, does not read Russian, does not have a necessary background, and has just been made the head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Satter said that because of Korn’s decisions, Radio Liberty instantly lost expertise, identify and profile. It is obvious that the “new” Radio Liberty will be just a shadow of the old, Satter said.

Satter also called Korn’s actions a huge loss for American public diplomacy. “These decisions cannot be tolerated and accepted as a fait accompli,” Satter said. He also told Sokolov that everyone who was fired at Radio Liberty, without exception, must return to work and predicted that the U.S. Congress will investigate what has happened at Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Former RFE/RL president Steven Korn strongly defended his decisions as necessary to transform Radio Liberty into a modern, digital media outlet. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) had replaced Korn with Kevin Klose who is changing programming policies and reportedly is working on bringing the fired journalists back to Radio Liberty.”

Russian opposition leaders say Radio Liberty is no longer a reliable source of information, BBG Watch, February 18, 2013.

“In the last few years Putin’s authoritarian regime intensified its offensive on Russian media.”

“In this precise moment the civil society has been deprived of an important and reliable source of information, which Radio Liberty has been for decades, as well as of its analyses and responsible commentaries. Broadcasting on AM has been interrupted. A significant number of its staff, many of whom enjoyed deserved authority and respect both in the professional media environment and among a large audience, has been dismissed.” — Russian Opposition Coordination Council

Russian Opposition Leaders Support Fired Radio Liberty JournalistsIn a letter to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) newly-appointed acting president Kevin Klose, several leaders of the anti-Putin opposition, including former reformist Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and Andrey Illarionov, a former economic policy advisor to President Putin who resigned in protest over Putin’s authoritarian rule, wrote that the civil society in Russia “has been deprived of an important and reliable source of information, which Radio Liberty has been for decades.”

Andrey Illarionov currently works as a senior fellow in the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC. He is identified on the Cato Institute website as one of Russia’s most forceful and articulate advocates of an open society and democratic capitalism.

The letter to RFE/RL acting president Kevin Klose was also signed by anti-Putin political activist Garry Kasparov, considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time.

Another signatory, Andrey Piontkovsky, is a Russian scientist and political writer and analyst. He has been an outspoken critic of Putin’s “managed” democracy and has described Russia as a “soft totalitarian regime.”

Also see:

Bureaucrats proposed cutting US broadcasts to North Caucasus, home of Boston bombing suspects, BBG Watch, April 19, 2013.

Top IBB officials are preventing hiring of an interim executive officer for BBG, undermine national security, BBG Watch, April 20, 2013.

Expert analysis from RFE/RL on Boston bombings and Chechnya enhanced by Radio Liberty in Exile, BBG Watch, April 20, 2013.

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U.S. - Russia Relations: The Future of the Reset

Hudson Institute is pleased to invite you to a discussion on…

U.S. – Russia Relations: The Future of the Reset

Monday, April 22
11:00 – 1:00 PM

 

With publication of a list of Russian officials covered by the Magnitsky Act, which denies U.S. visas to Russian nationals implicated in human-rights abuses and freezes their U.S. assets, U.S.-Russian relations have reached a new low. The Kremlin has retaliated against the Magnitsky Act by banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children, and by launching official inquiries into whether certain Western-supported Russian NGOs are acting as unregistered “foreign agents.”

In light of these and other developments, including the mysterious recent death of Putin critic Boris Berezovsky in London, what is the current state and likely future of U.S.- Russian relations?  Why has President Obama’s initial, widely publicized intention to “reset” and improve relations with Moscow apparently borne so little fruit?

To address these questions, Hudson Institute is holding a panel discussion featuring Hudson Senior Fellows Andrei Piontkovskyand David Satter, and Cato Institute Fellow Andrei Ilarionov, a former economic adviser to Putin.

Lunch will be served.

Click here to register.

This event will be streamed live here:www.hudson.org/WatchLive.
Submit questions via Twitter: @HudsonInstitute

Betsy and Walter Stern Conference Center
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1015 15th St, NW
6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005

www.hudson.org

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