Address of the Russian intellectuals to the Congress of the United States of America
Honorable members of Congress!
This year the United States for the 49th time in its history will commemorate so-called Captive Nations Week (Public Law 86-90 on 9 July 1959 Captive Nations Week Resolution). Certainly, the increasing of number of just and open political regimes that function in accordance with generally accepted democratic principles, respect in full force and effect human rights and grant to its citizens the freedom of choice is doubtless a benefit for the mankind. And we can only welcome repeated statements of the U.S. officials regarding their intentions to support freedom and democracy in the world.
At the same time we do not quite understand how the Captive Nations Resolution can assist in transformation of nondemocratic regimes to democratic ones. As history shows, such transition from one political system to another is effective only in case when it is carried out by means of deep internal transformation of state system. In other words this is a product of evolution, but not of a foreign pressure (which more often than not brings opposite results). This can be clearly illustrated by examples of the Soviet Union and countries of the Eastern Europe. Today precisely in this direction move many states that usually referred to (already mistakenly) authoritarian.
For us it is evident that the Captive Nations Week resolution is in fact a poorly concealed mechanism of diplomatic pressure on a number of sovereign states. Instead of encouragement of political transformation of those regimes that do not meet modern standards of state and society, the resolution leads to their further conservation and isolation. Moreover, the resolution openly incites separatism in countries that are members of the United Nations. For us it is absolutely unintelligible why such semi-mythic states as Idel-Ural and Cossackia (the territories that for centuries belonged to Russia), and a part of China– Tibet, were referred to the captive nations? Does it mean that the United States regards them as captive and wish their "liberation" by the violation of territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China?
As political practice of recent years shows, export of democracy often causes hate of "liberated" peoples. The evidence of this can be seen in the current situation in Afghanistan, where people consider the democratic socio-political model as an evil coming from West. That's why the level of terrorist threat is steadily growing in this region. The same process we see in Iraq. Thoughtless imposing of a Western type democracy by force in a traditional Islamic society led to the unleashing of the civil war in the country. Another clear example of this phenomenon is Lebanon, where all democratic forces are now suffering a defeat as many Lebaneses think they are pro-Western, alien to their customs and traditions.
And even where democratic processes were encouraged from outside and, at first sight, seemed to work perfectly, they turned out to be quite unstable and ephemeral. So it is in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Its Rose Revolution turned into an aggressive nationalistic regime that fiercely oppresses opposition. In Ukraine the Orange Revolution resulted in an endless struggle for power between different political forces that heavily rely on populism, which led to high inflation rates and greatly undermined country's economic capabilities. The same can be seen in Kyrgyzstan as the Tulip Revolution brought the country, which provides assistance to the international coalition to combat terrorism, into a deep political crisis.
It is absolutely clear that when the Captive Nations Week was first initiated in 1959 the United States Congress followed the logic of the bi-polar confrontation, when both superpowers with all their might tried to weaken each other using all possible means (that often contradicted the international law). However, since then the fundamental changes took place in the world. The end of the global fight for dominance brought the U.S.– Russia relations to the new level of cooperation. The Captive Nations Resolution lost its meaning.
Therefore we urge the Congress of the United States to cancel the Captive Nations Week and thereby to do away with a Cold War relict, which undermines the trust in the U.S. foreign policy and is a serious obstacle for the spread of democracy in our complicated and multifaceted world.
Alexei Pilko (PhD in history),
Alexei Blinov (PhD in law, MA in political science),
Dmitry Bobkov (PhD in economics),
Andrei Ushakov (PhD in philosophy),
Dmitry Kralechkin (PhD in philosophy),
Alexei Nikonov (philosopher, political consultant),
Yevgeny Savin (journalist),
Pavel Rodkin (designer, visual communications expert).