January 21, 2003 - St. Petersburg Times: William Smith on the Peace Corps departure from Russia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Russia: Peace Corps Russia : The Peace Corps in Russia: January 21, 2003 - St. Petersburg Times: William Smith on the Peace Corps departure from Russia

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-177-60.balt.east.verizon.net - on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 10:52 am: Edit Post

William Smith on the Peace Corps departure from Russia

William Smith on the Peace Corps departure from Russia


Regarding the recent expulsions of Irene Stevenson, the AFL-CIO representative in Moscow, and U.S. Peace Corps representatives from the Russian Federation, I hope the Russian people have the sense to realize that the FSB has done and is doing Russia and Russians a tremendous disservice by such actions.

By his generally pragmatic approach to the West, President Vladimir Putin had made tremendous progress in building confidence, trust, and mutual understanding with existing and potential economic partners who have the money, expertise, and the desire to help rebuild the Russian economy and set Russia on the path to unprecedented prosperity.

I am aware of some 100-plus Western companies that have been actively studying trends in Russia over the past two years and were very close to a decision to jump into the Russian market. I know that the vast majority of these companies, having since learned of these recent expulsions on top of the myriad of other inadvisable and anachronistic FSB actions - undermining media freedoms, jailing innocent public-policy researchers, etc. - have decided to take a giant step backward and place all plans of expansion into Russia on indefinite hold.

Clearly, the FSB's heavy-handed, patently absurd actions have caused significant and lasting damage to Russia's international reputation and to the Russian people's future economic well-being. It is time for the country's leadership and the State Duma to step up to block the FSB's excesses and give real political power back to the only player that truly matters in a democratic society - the people.

William Smith
Honolulu, Hawaii

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Story Source: St. Petersburg Times

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Russia; Intelligence Issues



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