Source: The Project on Transitional Democracies
July 11, 2006

July 11, 12:48 pm ET WASHINGTON, July 11 /PRNewswire/ — The Project on Transitional Democracies released an open letter to the G7 nations in advance of the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia this coming weekend. The letter, signed by one hundred policy-makers, opinion-leaders, intellectuals and Nobel Laureates from Europe and the United States stated that Russia must meet “standards of justice, freedom and of internationally acceptable diplomacy if it wishes to remain a member of the G8 and of the community of democratic nations” and called on the G7 leaders to “raise these issues directly with President Putin this weekend in St. Petersburg.”

The Open Letter was sent to Garry Kasparov, an organizer of the “Other Russia” summit currently taking place in Moscow, a conference of Russian opposition leaders and proponents of democracy in Russia.

Kasparov read the letter to conference attendees and expressed his gratitude for the international support. Bruce Jackson, President of the Project on Transitional Democracy explained, “It is clear to the signatories of the Letter that Russia under the leadership of President Putin is moving in the wrong direction. The G7 leaders must raise their concerns about the rise of authoritarianism and the loss of political freedom in Russia at the G8 Summit this weekend. It is equally important for our leaders to recognize that there is another Russia which is ably represented by the democratic leaders meeting in Moscow to raise their concerns about the return of repressive state power to Russian politics.”

The Open Letter was signed by almost 100 cultural, intellectual and political leaders including former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, Nobel Laureate David Trimble, political philosopher Andre Glucksman, and 17 current and former Members of the European Parliament.

Contact information: For additional information, pleased contact Bruce Jackson at 1-202-468-1949 or About The Project on Transitional Democracies:The Project on Transitional Democracies is a non-partisan, non-profit foundation based in Washington, DC and dedicated to the acceleration of democratic reform and economic development in the new democracies of Europe and Eurasia. Visit the Web site for more information:

The following is the open letter that was directed to leaders of the G7 nations and released by organizers of the “Other Russia” summit:

An Open Letter to the G7 Leaders of The Other Russia

“We wish to express our gratitude to the courageous men and women attending “The Other Russia” Summit today and tomorrow in Moscow. This alternative to the G8 summit has been organized by Garry Kasparov, Lyudmila Alekseyeva and other Russian human rights and political leaders. The laudable purpose of the “Other Russia” Summit is to focus the world’s attention on the increasingly autocratic and repressive policies of the Russian Government.

“The Other Russia” will bring together distinguished diplomats and politicians, academicians and civil society leaders from Russia, Europe and the United States to examine the deplorable state of human rights and the rule of law in Russia. Experts will document Russia’s alarming number of political prisoners, the Kremlin’s control over the media, the dangerous increase in government corruption, the continued violence in Chechnya and the return of a one-party state.

“The Other Russia” Summit will examine these economic and political trends, hoping to provide the Russian people with a clearer picture of what the further loss of human and political rights will mean to them.

“The gathering is also meant to impress upon the G7 leaders, who will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this coming weekend in St. Petersburg, that there is another Russia — a Russia at odds with the corrupt, authoritarian regime which President Putin and those around him appear resolved to impose.

“We urge our leaders — Prime Minister Tony Blair, President George W. Bush, President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Romano Prodi — not to equivocate when they meet the Russian President this weekend. He must be put on notice that Russia’s current domestic and foreign policies are unacceptable to its neighbors, to the international community and to many of its own citizens.President Putin must be made to understand that fairness towards his political opponents and critics, the release of political prisoners and Russia’s constructive engagement with its neighbors in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, are the standards by which his Government will be judged. Russia must meet these standards of justice, freedom and of internationally acceptable diplomacy if it wishes to remain a member of the G8 and of the community of democratic nations.

“Today, Russia is moving in the wrong direction.With the re-imposition of state control of the media, the nationalization of the YUKOS Oil Company, the abolition of elected governors, overt and covert meddling in the affairs of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania and outright support for the dictatorship in Belarus, the new NGO law restricting the work of human rights groups and other non-government organizations in Russia, and the imprisonment of political opponents like Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Mikhail Trepashkin, the Government of Russia is deliberately turning back the clock.We appeal to the G7 leaders to raise these issues directly with President Putin this weekend in St. Petersburg. And we salute those who are in Moscow today, meeting in a hostile and dangerous environment to prove that a democratic Russia, “The Other Russia,” does indeed exist.”

Signatories: (Institutions are listed for purposes of identification only.) Dimitar Abadjiev — European Parliament Observer, BulgariaDr. Patrick Aeberhard — President, Medecins du MondeVo Van Ai — President, Forum Asia DemocracyDoron Arazi — HistorianTimothy Garton Ash — Oxford University, UKBrian Atwood — Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University ofMinnesota, US; Former US Agency for International Development (USAID)administratorPaul Berman — Writer, USCarl Bildt — Former Prime Minister of SwedenRoberta Bonazzi — Director, European Foundation for DemocracyElena Bonner — Honorary Chair, The Andrei Sakharov FoundationMichael Bourdeaux — Founder / President, Keston Institute, OxfordUniversity, UKPascal Bruckner — Philosopher, FranceIan J. Brzezinski — Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense forEuropean and NATO PolicyHans Christoph Buch — Writer, GermanyVladimir Bukovsky — Cambridge University, UKLeos Carax — Film director, FrancePatrice Chereau — Film and theater director, FranceDaniel Cohn-Bendit — Member, European Parliament, GermanyPierre Daix — Writer, FranceProf. Nicholas Daniloff – Northeastern University, USRuth Daniloff — Writer, USFertilio Dario — Comitatus libertatesFranco Debennedetti — Senator, ItalyMartin Dewhirst — University of Glasgow, ScotlandFreimut Duve — Former member of the German Bundestag; Organisation forSecurity and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) RepresentativeDr. Marek Edelman — Former dissident, Leader of the Warsaw ghettouprisingHumphry Crum Ewing — Chairman, The Standish GroupEdourad Fillias — President, Alternative Liberale, FrancePaolo Flores de Arcais — Director, Micromega, FranceCarl Gershman — President, National Endowment for DemocracyAndre Glucksmann — Philosopher, FranceAlex Goldfarb — Foundation for Civil Liberties, USAdam Gopnik — Writer, USVeronique Nahoum Grappe — Anthropologist, FranceAndrew P. Grigorenko — President, General Petro Grigorenko Foundation,IncRobert Halfon — Political Director, Conservative Friends of IsraelDaniel Hamilton — Johns Hopkins University, USArthur Hartman — Former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union and FranceSatu Hassi — Member, European Parliament, FinlandRoger Helmer — Member, European Parliament, UKMary Holland — New York University, USMarie Holzmann — President, Droits de l’homme in China, FranceRobert Hunter — Former US ambassador to NATOToomas Hendrik Ilves — Member, European Parliament, EstoniaBruce P. Jackson — President, Project on Transitional DemocraciesKjell Olaf Jense — President, Pen Club, NorwayAlan Johnson — Director, Democratya, UKTunne Kelam — Member, European Parliament, EstoniaBogdan Klich — Member, European Parliament, PolandBernard Kouchner — Former UN ambassador to Kosovo; Founder, Medecins sansFrontieres, Medecins du Monde, FranceIrina Krasovskaya — President, We Remember Foundation, BelarusGuntars Krasts — Member, European Parliament; Former Prime Minister ofLatviaWilliam Kristol — The Weekly Standard, USGirts Valdis Kristovskis — Member, European Parliament, Former Presidentof the Lithuanian ParliamentVytautas Landsbergis — Member, European Parliament, Former President ofthe Lithuanian ParliamentBernard Henri Levy — Philosopher, FranceEkkehard Maass — German-Caucasian society, GermanyGiwi Margwelschwili — Schriftsteller, GermanyCliff May — President, Foundation for the Defense of DemocraciesMichael McFaul — Stanford University, USAlan Mendoza — Executive Director, Henry Jackson Society, UKMarianne Mikko — Member, European Parliament, EstoniaTim Montgomerie — Editor, ConservativeHome.comMartin Palous — Permanent Czech Republic Representative to the UnitedNations; former Czech Ambassador to the USCarlo di Pamparato — Children of Chechnya Action Relief Mission (CCHARM),UKRichard Pipes — Harvard University, USDaniel Pipes — Writer, USDaniel Pletka — American Enterprise Institute (AEI), USOksana Ragazzi — UKJosep Ramoneda — Philosopher, Center of Contemporain Culture, SpainVanessa Redgrave — ActressJames Rogers — Executive Secretary, Henry Jackson Society, UKJacques Rupnik — Professor of political sciences, CERI, FranceProf. Aloyzas Sakalas — Member, European Parliament, LithuaniaRandy Scheunemann — President, Committee for the Liberation of IraqGary Schmitt — American Enterprise Institute (AEI), USJorge Semprun — Former Minister of Culture of Spain,Andre Senik — Philosopher, FranceAndrew M. Sessler — Emeritus Director of the Lawrence Berkeley NationalLaboratoryAndrzei Seweryn — Theater director, Comedie Fran?aise, FranceDr. Brendan Simms — Co-President, Henry Jackson Society, UKRobert Singh — Birkbeck College, University of London, UKAleksander Smolar — Historian, France/PolandBart Staes — Member, European Parliament, BelgiumKonrad Szymanski — Member, European Parliament, PolandAndres Tarand — Member, European Parliament, former Prime Minister ofEstoniaDavid Trimble — 1998 Nobel Peace LaureateProf. Inese Vaidere — Member, European Parliament, LatviaAri Vatanen — Member, European Parliament, FranceMark von Hagen — Columbia University, USStuart Wheeler — UKRichard Wilson — Harvard University, USHenryk Wozniakowski — Director, ZNAK, PolandTatiana Yankelevich — Director, Sakharov Program on Human Rights, HarvardUniversity, USIlyos Yannakakis — Professor, France

Source: The Project on Transitional Democracie