Institute of Democracy and Cooperation

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Institute of Democracy and Cooperation is a think tank with offices in Moscow, Paris and New York. It was founded in 2008 by a Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, and is funded by Russian NGOs and private businesses.[1] It states that it was set up to gain a hearing for Russian positions on global human rights and democracy, and to expose what it perceives as double standards by the West in this area. It publishes reports and invites speakers to speak.[2] The Institute's Paris office is headed by historian and former Russian State Duma deputy Natalia Narochnitskaya, while the New York office is headed by political scientist Andranik Migranyan. Philosopher and historian John Laughland is Director of Studies in Paris. At the time of the institute's founding, Anatoly Kucherena said "We're not just planning to criticize the West". He said he hoped the institute's work would create healthy dialogue with Western human-rights and democracy advocates.[3]

Focus[edit]

The Institute states that it studies democracy and human rights in Europe and the United States and promotes the ideal of sovereignty and non-interference. It describes its aims as being

It describes its outlook on human rights and international relations as "broadly conservative", referring to its emphasis on the nation-state as the best framework for the realisation of human rights and a belief that "humanitarian intervention" is often counter-productive.

Response[edit]

Initial reactions have been that the Institute will have to overcome suspicions that it is "little more than another image-building tool for a Kremlin desiring a more prominent place in world affairs."[3] The Moscow Times has described the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation as, "an pro-Kremlin think tank that focuses on relations between Europe and Russia"[4] while an article in The Hill also described the Institute as, "a pro-Kremlin think tank in New York."[5]

Grigorii Golosov, Professor at European University at St. Petersburg believes the initial impulse for creating the institute came from a comment by Vladimir Putin, where he referred to EU-funded advocacy of democracy in Russia as to something that should be matched by Russia’s similar activities in Europe and elsewhere. Putin’s aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky explained that Mr Putin meant the European University at St. Petersburg that received an EU grant to implement a project on election monitoring in Russia, which Golosov led. Golosov notes that his university faced continuous harassment from the Russian authorities and was closed by the authorities on a pretext of "fire safety violations". At about the same time, the ‘Institute of Democracy and Cooperation’ was launched.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Russian think tank to question West ways". The Associated Press / MSNBC. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 8 Aug 2011. 
  2. ^ The Institute of Democracy and Cooperation Institute of Democracy and Cooperation.
  3. ^ a b Alex Rodriguez: Citing U.S. hypocrisy on rights, Russia takes lectern. Kremlin-backed academics in new think tank to expose ‘weak spots’ in Western democracy Chicago Tribune, March 27, 2008.
  4. ^ von Twickel, Nikolaus. "Russia Today courts viewers with controversy". Russia Beyond The Headlines. 
  5. ^ Pecquet, Julian (2013-04-26). "Lawmakers tout closer ties to Russia to fight Chechen 'threat'". The Hill. 

External links[edit]