Tag Archives: Human rights

EDITORIAL: William Burns, Craven Braying Jackass

EDITORIAL

William Burns, Craven Braying Jackass

William Burns, braying jackass

When we read a statement from Oleg Orlov last week indicating after a meeting with top American diplomat William Burns that the undersecretary intended to offer “public criticism” of the Putin regime’s abysmal human rights record, we were heartened. Maybe at last, we hoped, the craven Obama regime has got the message that it can’t simply ignore the appalling neo-Soviet crackdown underway in Putin’s Russia.

But then we read how Burns chose to respond to the fact that Lev Ponomarev had been absent from the meeting because he’d ben arrested for daring to assemble in public to discuss Putin’s atrocities without first getting Putin’s written permission.  To say we were disappointed is putting it mildly.

Burns stated:  “I should note that it is regrettable that Lev Ponomarev, who was supposed to be at the meeting, was not able to attend.  The freedom of assembly is very important to the United States and very important for any democratic society.”

That’s pretty lame all by itself, but then it got much worse.   Burns went on to meet with Kremlin officals and all that could be reported afterwards was: “The arrest was also discussed at the U.S. officials’ meetings with their Russian counterparts.”

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Amsterdam interviews Ponomarev

Robert Amsterdam interviews Lev Ponomarev:

Russia-watchers are no doubt aware of the recent arrest of my good friend Lev Ponomarev. Lev is one of the leading lights of the Russian human rights movement, part of the original perestroika-era generation of human rights advocates whose courageous efforts ensured that democratic reforms were an integral part of the changes that followed the collapse of communism. These reforms have been steadily and vigorously eroded over the past decade under Vladimir Putin. Several days ago, for example, Lev was arrested in Moscow on Flag Day – while walking with a Russian flag. The irony is all the greater because Russia’s Flag Day commemorates the day in 1991 when the tricolor was raised for the first time over the Supreme Soviet building after the failed August Putsch, a time when Lev was a deputy to the Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR and a key figure in the fledgling democracy movement.

I spoke with Lev by phone after his release, and here is what he had to say:

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