Hearing "Putin's Russia: Soviet Union reloaded?"
The Russian constitution declares the Russian Federation to be a democratic and social state under the rule-of-law. It guarantees human rights, the right to life, democracy, the separation of powers, individual liberty rights and diversity of political parties and opinion. It also obliges respect for the UN Charter and international law.
At least since the beginning of Vladimir Putin's third term in office, however, one has been forced to wonder whether the Constitution and political reality are still congruent. The fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution – such as the freedoms of expression, religion and assembly – have been permanently curtailed by "normal" legislation and by the rulings of the Russian Constitutional Court. Opposition activists and human rights defenders are under constant pressure.
During his third term in office, Putin has stepped up his policy of restrictions. He toughened his model of the so called managed democracy. Following the internal repression and restriction Putin turned his eye to what he perceives as Russia's zone of influence. A Eurasian Union is the declared goal of his external policy including Ukraine and other parts of the former Soviet Empire.
Did the West overlook these tendencies in Russia? Did it underestimate the determination for Putin's project? Crimea - and what is next? How should the EU react?
- Pussy Riot (Nadeshda Tolokonnikova & Maria Aliokhina)
- Oleg Orlov (Sakharov Prize Laureate, Director Memorial)
- Werner Schulz MEP (German Green Party) is vice-chair of the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and a veteran of the civil rights movement of the former GDR
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