Kremlin seeks to establish new ‘techno-authoritarianism’


U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has condemned Russia’s efforts to veto Europe’s largest human rights conference.

The OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) requires consensus to take place, and Russia is withholding its consent, Stephanie Liechtenstein reports for Security & Human Rights Monitor. The conference of the Warsaw-based OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is usually held every September with up to 1,500 civil society and government representatives from all 57 OSCE participating states.

“We deeply regret this attempt by the Russian government to block scrutiny of its worsening human rights record,” said Blinken. “Since the adoption of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE has recognized that respect for human rights is essential to peace and security.”

A proposed series of changes to Russia’s regional government may usher in a new form of techno-authoritarianism, according to Mark Galeotti, a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and an Honorary Professor at the UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies.

Today’s Kremlin — like its Soviet and Tsarist predecessors — has long grappled with the challenge of turning authority in theory into practice in this massive country, where patronage, localism, corruption and the practical challenges facing plenipotentiaries who must work with and through local power structures all combine to undermine and sometimes even reverse any “power vertical,” he writes for the Moscow Times.

Western governments should be wary of allowing corporations to acquiesce to special Russian government demands for social media platforms based in western countries, Brendan Bayer writes for the International Affairs Review. Policymakers and scholars should further analyze YouTube as a place of dissident action and communication in Russia, as well as in other authoritarian countries of the Former Soviet Union.

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