- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 17, 2010

GOOD MOVE

The chairman of a key congressional civil liberties panel hopes the appointment of a prominent Russian journalist to lead the country’s human rights committee signals that Moscow is getting serious about protecting basic freedoms.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week named Mikhail Fedotov, a former chairman of Russia’s Union of Journalists, to lead the human rights committee.

“I hope Mr. Fedotov’s appointment to head the human rights committee marks the beginning of a new seriousness in Russia to protect investigative journalists and finally get to the bottom of many unsolved murders of journalists and human rights defenders,” Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, said of the appointment.

Mr. Cardin is chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitors civil rights in the 56 member nations, mostly in Europe and Eurasia.

Fifty-two reporters have been killed in Russia since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. About one-third of them were investigating official corruption or human rights abuses.

DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Monday

Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda of the Slovak Republic, who addresses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Slovakia’s economic transformation to a market economy and on U.S.-Slovak trade and investment. On Tuesday, he meets with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Gerard Russell, a British diplomat and former senior political adviser to the U.N. mission in Afghanistan. He discusses the Afghan elections in a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution.

Tuesday

Ivan Krastev, chairman of Bulgaria’s Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia. He speaks on the “Paradoxes of the New Authoritarianism” and delivers the seventh annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World at the Canadian Embassy.

Nikolay Petrov, a former official of the Supreme Soviet and now a scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center, and Maria Lipman, the editor of the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Pro and Con journal. They discuss the conditions of Russia’s top leadership in a forum at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Wednesday

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