MOSCOW â The headquarters of Russian human rights group the Sakharov Center, a rare island of free debate in the Russian capital, will close its doors to the public this weekend in response to an eviction order from local authorities as Russiaâs wartime drive to suppress dissent shows no sign of ending.
Opened in 1996 to honor the memory of Soviet dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, the center has been an iconic location for talks, exhibitions, funerals and discussions about human rights.
âWithout these two buildings, we are no longer a public center,â said Vyacheslav Bakhmin, a veteran human rights activist and the chairman of the board of the Sakharov Center.
âIt makes any activity extremely difficult.â
The eviction comes as the few human rights groups still operating inside Russia face intensifying state pressure in the wake of the Kremlinâs decision to invade Ukraine.
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The countryâs oldest human rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, was closed down by a court order in January, while eight top members of shuttered rights group Memorial, which was jointly awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize last year, were targeted in police raids last month.
If the future world order is one of lopsided multipolarity and if such orders are more war-prone, then there is some reason to worry. But multipolarity might not be that bad for the United States, provided it recognizes the implications and adjusts its foreign policy appropriately.
For starters, letâs recognize that unipolarity wasnât that great for the United States, and especially not for those unfortunate countries that got the brunt of U.S. attention in recent decades. The unipolar era included the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, two expensive and ultimately unsuccessful U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some ill-advised regime changes that led to failed states, a financial crisis that altered U.S. domestic politics dramatically, and the emergence of an increasingly ambitious China whose rise was partly facilitated by the United Statesâ own actions. But the United States hasnât learned much from the experience, given that it is still listening to the strategic geniuses whose actions squandered Washingtonâs Cold War triumph and hastened unipolarityâs end. The only restraint on a unipolar powerâs actions is self-restraint, and self-restraint is not something a crusader nation such as the United States does very well.