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In reading Vladimir Kara-Murza’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post, I was struck by how casually millions of people obey in advance — accepting their freedoms being taken away calmly and without protest.
As I help my friends defend themselves against lawfare brought by pro-Kemlin assets in America, the parallels Kara-Murza details are both alarming and important to confront head on. We cannot take democratic freedoms for granted. That’s why we are all here together, defying and exposing propagandists and defending truth.
Here is an excerpt:
“No one can pinpoint the precise moment Russia ceased to be democratic. But the year can be named with certainty,” wrote Kara-Murza, the protege of Boris Nemtsov.
He said it was 2003 — exactly 20 years ago.
Three things happened:
In June of 2003, Putin’s press ministry turned off TVS, the last independent television network. “Controlling public sources of information is a prerequisite to any dictatorship,” he wrote.
In October of 2003, Putin arrested Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Khodorovsky. “Stay loyal, or stay out,” was the signal, Kara-Murza said.
In December of 2003, Russia’s parliamentary election was assessed by international election observers as unfair.
“For those of us who had been involved in the democratic opposition to Putin from the very start of his rule, it was painful to watch how calmly most of Russian society seemed to accept the dismantling of the nascent freedoms of the 1990s,” wrote Kara-Murza.
On the Ukraine war, he wrote:
“There is only one outcome of this conflict that would be in the interests of the free world, of Ukraine and, ultimately, of the Russian people: resounding defeat for Putin, to be followed by political change in Russia and a Marshall Plan-type international assistance program both to rebuild Ukraine and to help post-Putin Russia build a functioning democracy so that it never again becomes a threat to its own people or its neighbors. That is the only way to make sure Europe can finally become whole, free and at peace — and stay that way.”—Vladimir Kara-Murza
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