- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Russia and China should not be involved in the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism because their participation undermines American values, a former Soviet dissident said yesterday.
Vladimir Bukovsky, who was imprisoned by the Soviet government for human-rights activity and who later worked to expose communism's crimes, said Russia today is moving away from democracy and is being run by ex-communists and former secret political police officials with little commitment to democracy.
"The United States does not need Russia or China aboard on this coalition," Mr. Bukovsky said in an interview. "It only complicates [the United States] own problems, their own definitions. It's already murky. You can't define terrorism. It's like a war on poverty and war on illiteracy. It sounds like a Soviet-style campaign."
By adding Russia and China to the anti-terrorism coalition, the United States will make it harder to fight the problem, he said.
Russia has used the campaign against terrorism to step up its own war against the breakaway region of Chechnya, while China has increased its crackdown on Muslims in western Xinjiang province.
Uzbekistan, where U.S. troops are based, also has a very repressive, Soviet-style government. "They kill their [political] opponents. I mean the Russians do too, but [the Uzbeks] are really from the Middle Ages," Mr. Bukovsky said.
"Do you really need allies like that?" he asked. "I can't understand that."
Aligning with Russia, China and other repressive governments is "betraying your own principles," Mr. Bukovsky said.
The battle against terrorism is more like the Cold War conflict than one that can be helped by such coalitions, he added.
"The objective is to further your style of life, your principles, your moral values that was the objective in the Cold War," he said. "So if you give that up in exchange for some kind of coalition, you already lose."
There has been no contribution to the military effort by either Russia or China, he said.
Mr. Bukovsky, who lives in Britain, is in Washington to receive an award today from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
He is one of two recipients of the Truman-Reagan Freedom Medal, which this year marks the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, is the second recipient.
The bipartisan foundation was set up several years ago to remember the 100 million people estimated to have died at the hands of communist governments around the world since 1917.
The recent warming of ties between Russia and the United States has not helped efforts to further democracy in Russia, Mr. Bukovsky said.
"Under [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, Russia is trying to go back" to a Soviet-style setup, he added.
Democratic reform in Russia has stalled because reformers "didn't try hard enough" to institutionalize post-communist changes, he said.
Mr. Bukovsky added that not enough has been done in Russia to remember the victims of communism.
A stone from a Gulag prison labor camp the symbol of communist repression was placed in the center of Lubyanka Square, once the headquarters of the Soviet secret police, in the early 1990s.
"All the nomenklatura have remained in power," he said, referring to the ruling elite of the Soviet Union.
After 1993, Mr. Yeltsin "became a hostage" to the power ministries the Russian military and the former KGB political police, he said.
Mr. Putin, a former KGB officer, was put in power to "re-instate" the Soviet-style system, according to Mr. Bukovsky.
"They have succeeded remarkably," he said, noting that in many ex-Soviet republics "the Communists are back in power."
Additionally, Russia's media freedom also has been curbed, and several recent legal cases of espionage and political persecution show that freedom is eroding under Mr. Putin, Mr. Bukovsky said.
"For the first time in 10 years we have political prisoners," he said.

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