Oleg Kozlovsky’s English Weblog

Politics, Democracy and Human Rights in Russia

Obama in Moscow

with 3 comments

Barack Obama is meeting with my colleagues Garry Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov tonight. That’s a good sign, Bush’s administration hasn’t dared to do such a thing. But the real question is, will there be any change in actions or is Obama just trying to play his part?

Such an action could be, for example, to impose sanctions against certain public servants who are personally responsible for suppressing democratic protest in Russia: from judges who convict innocent people on false charges to the mayor of Moscow who bans all serious protest demonstrations. It will only take a few words from Obama to put such people on the black list of DHS (and there is already legislation in place to do it), but does he have the political will to do it?

Written by Oleg Kozlovsky

July 6, 2009 at 22:48

3 Responses

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  1. […] in Moscow. More […]

  2. Oleg, what sort of sanctions specifically do you think Obama should impose? Would travel bans be an effective way of pressuring these officials?

    Can you name any specific officials who should face such sanctions?

    Of course, as you say it may be an academic question, since Obama did not seem even to carry through on his verbal criticism of Putin and Medvedev. His interview with Novaya Gazeta and his meeting with Kasparov were impressive as symbolism, far more dramatic than Bush ever dreamed of being, and that is important. But we still see no reason to believe he’ll take action.

    Do you think the opposition forces should be more energetic and public in calling for his assistance? Do you think the Kremlin would retaliate if that were done?


    July 8, 2009 at 20:47

  3. Oleg, I think there’s a problem with expecting too much from Obama (regardless of what his intentions are): he is constrained by his promises about ‘fixing the economy’ in the US. This has got to be his priority; US voters will hold him accountable if this isn’t done. As far as I can tell, this means Eastern Europe and Russia get the back burner.


    July 13, 2009 at 10:45

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