Since the formation of the Russian Federation in 1991, the Russian government has been careful to limit military spending, hoping to avoid the Soviet error of engaging in a ruinous arms race with the West. As recently as February, then-Russian President-Vladimir Putin reaffirmed that Russia “must not allow [itself] to be drawn into [a new global arms race].” But while Russian defense spending has already been rising in recent years, one long-term effect of the Georgia War could be to accelerate Russia’s military rearmament. On several occasions since the Georgia War began, Russian leaders have made statements that could be […]

Editor’s Note: Beginning with the next installment on Oct. 6, Rights & Wrongs will appear every other Monday.U.S. RELEASES ANNUAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REPORT — In the latest edition of its annual report on religious freedom, released Sept. 19, the U.S. State Department named North Korea, Eritrea and Iran the worst abusers of religious rights. State Department Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom John Hanford spoke first of conditions in North Korea at the report’s launch, noting the country “remains among the world’s most egregious violators of religious freedom. The cult of personality surrounding the ruling family remains an important ideological underpinning […]

article card

POLAND’S LAST COMMUNIST LEADERS IN THE DOCK — The Warsaw district court opened proceedings last Friday against former Communist Party Chairman Wojciech Jaruzelski and six other high-ranking former communist officials. They are charged for their roles in the declaration and maintenance of martial law in 1981, which resulted in mass arrests and politically motivated murders. Lawyers for Jaruzelski, 84, argued the declaration was a defensive move designed to prevent a Soviet invasion in response to the Solidarity union movement’s growing people power, but rights advocates have long decried the large scale abuses that occurred in the approximate 18 months Poland […]

article card

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS PRESS IOC ON FUTURE GAMES — Human rights groups are calling on the International Olympic Committee to promise that human rights guarantees will be part of the process for awarding future Olympic Games. Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House, Students for a Free Tibet, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are among the more than a dozen groups calling for more IOC attention to human rights as a criteria for selecting host nations. The success of the Beijing Games was tempered by Chinese authorities’ ongoing human rights abuses, and many worry that the games sent the wrong message […]