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The following is the prepared text of the speech delivered by Mikhail Khodorkovsky at the 2014 Freedom House Awards Dinner on October 1. The text was originally posted here.

President Obama's call to arms against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), like his response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, steps up U.S. efforts to curb major threats to U.S. interests. Does it also signal a greater commitment by Obama to stand up for democracy in the world? Probably not. But he should make democracy a priority.

Together with many others in Europe and the United States concerned about events in Ukraine, Freedom House President David J. Kramer played a role in writing and gaining support for the the following open letter.

We express our deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones during the four-day siege of the school in Beslan in North Ossetia, which began September 1, 2004. Freedom House, however, remains concerned by the Russian Federation’s refusal to conduct a forthright, transparent investigation of the events that led to 334 deaths, including 186 children.

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Experts

Director, Europe and Eurasia programs

Marc Behrendt is the Director for Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House, with over 20 years of experience working in the Eurasia region in peacebuilding, governance and human rights.

Regions: 
Senior Program Officer for Europe and Eurasia

Gina S. Lentine is Senior Program Officer for Europe and Eurasia at Freedom House. 

Regions: 

Signature Reports

Special Reports

Contending with Putin's Russia

As President Barack Obama enters his second term, relations with Russia present him with a set of thorny problems. This package of materials includes policy proposals, a summary of Russian legal restrictions on NGOs, a chronology of repressive actions under Vladimir Putin since 2000, and graphs illustrating Russia's score declines in Freedom House's annual reports.


 

Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On

“Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On,” marks the 20th anniversary of the failed Soviet coup of August 19, 1991. The retrospective essay examines the changes in the political rights and civil liberties in the former Soviet Union over the last two decades, as well as includes graphs and rankings that illustrate the region's performance in the annual Freedom House publications Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press. The report  concludes that there is a serious and disturbing failure to embrace democratic institutions in most of the post-Soviet region.

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