Oleg Kozlovsky’s English Weblog

Politics, Democracy and Human Rights in Russia

Michael McFaul Clarifies US Position on Human Rights in Russia

with 5 comments

Michael McFaul, Barack Obama’s advisor on Russia and Eurasia, has commented today on my post about a “reset” in US-Russia human rights issues. The note was based on Kommersant’s report that “the USA are not going to teach Russia democracy any more and cause irritation in Moscow; they are going to focus on practical work with NGOs instead.”

McFaul comments (it’s in my Facebook, so not everyone can see):

Kommersant grossly misquoted me. See Interfax transcript if you want to see what I really said. And anyone who knows anything about my thinking would be suspicious of such an assessment of my views. My next book , out in a few weeks, is called “Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should and How We Can.”

The Interfax transcript that Mr McFaul refers to reads:

…During his July visit to Moscow, President Obama said that we needed closer cooperation betweer [American and Russian] NGOs. Not just our government funding your NGOs or vice versa. We will continue doing this. But the new serious idea is to make our civil societies closer so that the governments not stand in the way of this process.

I would say that Barack Obama’s approach to these issues [of democracy and human rights] resembles the approach of Ronald Reagan much more than of anybody else. His approach is that we have a lot of common tasks to perform with Russia. We need to reset relations with Russia, this is our common interest. It also concerns the new START treaty, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea. We achieve results, we do certain things. This is very positive. But we would like to cooperate with both the government and the civil society, we made it clear in the first place. And we don’t want the cooperation on governmental level prevent us from cooperation between our civil societies. This is what our concept is based on. And it is indeed different from what the democrats and republicans have been doing before…


Written by Oleg Kozlovsky

November 4, 2009 at 12:35

Posted in news

Tagged with , ,

5 Responses

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  1. I can’t go to the Facebook full note
    Can you please check if the link is correct ? Thanks


    November 4, 2009 at 17:13

  2. Balqis, the link itself is correct, but it apppears, only my Facebook friends can open it. Anyway, I posted the whole comment in this entry, so there’s not much more to read.

    Oleg Kozlovsky

    November 4, 2009 at 23:53

  3. Yes but he continues saying that the deal between him and Vladislav is not to interfere [which of course doesn’t sound credible since they’re investing money] .
    He had a face during his Russian visit and another after departure which is typical of American governments [and let’s consider that their trip was a total failure cause they didn’t obtain anything] .
    Now I am just an outsider observer who deeply loves Russia and my political views are totally opposite to yours, so I can’t lecture you on internal issues, but their only purpose is to create problems for Russian government to overthrow them .
    Once you and other so called fierce critics do not serve the purpose anymore, they’ll get rid of you .


    November 5, 2009 at 04:55

  4. The way I understand his point, US government wants to to separate diplomatic relations from civil-society relations. It looks like a good idea since mixing these two things have always caused hypocrisy like the one we saw with Bush (lots of speeches about democracy and human rights with little real work while making friends with people like Putin). Of course, such a separation won’t be easy, in particular because the Russian government will unlikely understand it.

    As for “getting rid of us,” they won’t be able to do this simply because they don’t have us in the first place. Russian democratic movement is independent from the US or any other Western government, politically and economically, whether you like it or not. Political support of American or European officials is rare and inconsistent (I’ve mentioned Bush already, other Western leaders are more or less the same). Foreign funding of the movement is symbolic; in fact, you may be surprised to know that American foundations (the ones that Russian propaganda accuses of “financing the revolution”) work more with United Russia than with the democratic groups.

    Oleg Kozlovsky

    November 5, 2009 at 09:30

  5. […] US, Russia and human rights. […]

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