A 'Cairo moment' for Obama in Moscow?

Washington

Freedom House welcomes reports that U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver a major foreign policy address in Moscow next week aimed at changing Russian perceptions that a stronger U.S. equates to a weaker Russia.

Freedom House Advocacy Director Paula Schriefer advocated for such a speech in "A 'Cairo moment' for Obama in Moscow?", published yesterday by the Christian Science Monitor. The opinion piece suggests that the Russian public may respond well to a speech that emphasizes America's real desire to see a strong Russia that shares its democratic values, akin to the speech Obama delivered last month to the Muslim world from Egypt.

Schriefer points out that citizens in the former Soviet Union – excluding the three Baltic States—actually enjoy lower levels of freedom than their counterparts in the Middle East. She cites Freedom House's latest report, Nations in Transit, which finds that nearly two thirds or 18 of the 29 former communist European and Eurasian countries examined experienced setbacks in democratic reform in 2008.

Schriefer will be available for media interviews during President Obama’s July 6-8 summit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Contact Laura Ingalls at Ingalls@freedomhouse.org or by calling +1-202-747-7035.

Russia is ranked Not Free in the 2008 edition of Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in the 2008 version of Freedom of the Press.

To learn more about Russia, read:

Nations in Transit 2009: Russia
Undermining Democracy
Freedom in the World 2009: Russia
Freedom of the Press 2008: Russia
Freedom on the Net: Russia

Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties in Russia since 1990.

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