Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has passed a succession of anti-human rights laws curtailing freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Parliament might even pass a proposed blasphemy law that clearly would violate religious freedom. President Obama must speak out.
This year has featured grim news of serious human rightsrestrictions imposed by Moscow on Russian society, including religious groups. At their next discussion, President Obama should convey these concerns to Vladimir Putin, reiterating to Russia’s president the need to adhere to universal human rights andreligious freedom standards if relations are to progress between our two countries.
When I was in Moscow in late September as chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, I heard these worries voiced frequently. In my meetings with 30 individuals representing civil society, journalism, and human rights and religious freedom, all feared that Russia was on the cusp of a new cold war on civil society.
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