Last month Fareed asked our panelists: Should the U.S. and other countries send representatives to the G-8 counter-summit? Now Gary Kasparov gives PostGlobal a wrap up of the Other Conference. Read him here:
Just to clarify, the Other Russia conference was not an alternative to the G8 summit. It was a pan-Russian conference with some foreign guests invited to witness the reality of Russia today instead of the "for export" version presented by the Putin regime.
It was absolutely a success. We brought together representatives of every part of the Russian political spectrum to speak, if not with one voice, in a chorus calling for democracy and free and fair elections. The Other Russia conference also showed the international community that there is more to Russia than the Putin administration and that this regime should not be considered an honest partner. And it demonstrated to the Putin regime that we will organize and fight for basic rights despite systematic repression from the Kremlin.
We greatly appreciated the appearance at the Other Russia conference of state officials from the UK, the USA, and other G-8 member nations. It was a promising display of solidarity that should send a message to Mr. Putin that the world is watching and that he doesn't have complete impunity to turn Russia into a totalitarian state.
In Russia we will continue to organize and to strengthen our coalition. The regions must stay connected to share information, to document and bring attention to the crimes and wrongdoings of the Putin administration. We are seeing a situation similar to that in Chile in 1988-89, when Pinochet attempted to use a referendum to
extend his stay in power. We need to form a left-to-right coalition to oppose Putin's construction of a one-party dictatorship. The Russian people must be kept informed about the real state of our nation and provided with the opportunity to speak. If, as Russian Duma Speaker Sergei Gryzlov once said, "Parliament isn't a place for discussion," then we must seek other ways to debate with power.
As for the international community, we are more interested in getting the Western powers to stop doing: Stop treating Putin like an equal member of the club of civilized nations. Stop providing him with democratic credentials. Stop the double standard of democracy being important in Iraq and Afghanistan but not Russia. The West's hypocrisy is doing a great deal of damage to its own standing and in countries like Russia where we need positive examples. Stop allowing Putin's oligarch cronies and proxies to sell the looted assets of the Russian nation on the Western markets. This flow of money in and out of the West is where Putin and his crowd are vulnerable to outside pressure.
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