A letter to the editor of the Washington Post:
To the Editor:
The July 7 editorial “Moscow’s Fantasies” commented on “vital U.S. interests” involved in relations with Russia, but what about the vital interests of Russian citizens?
The Russian people deserve a government that fosters an independent judiciary, freedom of the press, public health and international business development. In their report, “Too Sick to Grow and Prosper — Russia’s Ongoing Health Crisis Obstructs Economic Growth,” Nicholas Eberstadt and Hans Groth note that Russia’s population suffers from public health problems such as low fertility rates, high mortality rates, drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV.
Russia will host the Winter Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, but construction has displaced residents and imperiled the environment. Furthermore, Russia drives foreign investors away with harsh tactics, such as those used against oil company BP in the TNK-BP debacle. These tactics could adversely affect Western sponsorship for the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
In the coming months, I hope President Obama’s messages of democracy to opposition leaders, activists, readers of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and students at Moscow’s New Economic School will encourage a peaceful transformation of Russian governance and business.