Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe
- (OSCE)Founded in 1973, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is one of the world’s largest intergovernmental organizations (IGO). The Russian Federation, as well as the other former Soviet republics, is a member of the organization. Originally created as a forum for East-West dialogue during the Cold War (known as the Helsinki Process), the OSCE’s charter has expanded greatly over time.Today, it is dedicated to regional security, freedom of the press, fair elections, arms control, and the protection of human rights. Russia’s relationship with the organization is complex. The OSCE monitored and reported on the situation inside the Eastern Bloc during the late Soviet period, increasing the pressure on the region’s one-party regimes to democratize and protect human rights, particularly those of ethnic minorities. Since Russia’s independence, the OSCE has criticized Russia for its activities in Chechnya, as well as a number of post-Soviet conflict zones where it maintains peacekeeping forces, including Transnistria, Tajikistan, NagornoKarabakh, and Georgia. Boris Yeltsin returned the criticism, condemning the OSCE for not doing enough to protect the rights of ethnic Russians in the near abroad, particularly in the Baltic States and Central Asia.Under Vladimir Putin, the clampdown on nongovernmental organizations received strong criticism from other OSCE members, and created demands that Moscow live up to its commitments as a member of the IGO. In 2004, Russia and several other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States issued a joint statement chiding the OSCE for its politicization, “double standards,” and disregard for the “national sovereignty” of its member states. The statement was taken as a defense of the growing prevalence of “managed democracy” in the Newly Independent States of Eurasia and pushback against OSCE election monitoring in the region.See also Civil society.
Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Robert A. Saunders and Vlad Strukov. 2010.
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