In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Documents on Democracy

Russia

On August 9, longtime dissident and human-rights advocate Sergei Adamovich died in Moscow. He helped to found a Soviet branch of the NGO Amnesty International in 1974, for which he was arrested, sent to a gulag, and exiled. Returning to Moscow, Adamovich served as an independent Russia’s first human-rights commissioner. His last public statement, from the National Endowment for Democracy’s May 21 commemoration of his friend and fellow dissident, Andrei Sakharov, is excerpted below:

Sakharov maintained that humanity could only survive through overcoming political disunity and that would not happen without human rights and, above all, intellectual freedom.

Sakharov’s fundamentally new thinking was his position that it was impossible to overcome the confrontation without democratizing public life and without ensuring intellectual freedom.

The so-called “new thinking” and “new morality” of Sakharov was not, in fact, new. It is the most ordinary human morality, which has been consistent for over two-thousand years and is as old as reason-based thought.

Sakharov had a conscience, and he had intellect, and those two qualities are missing in Russia today. Russia needs those qualities today as it faces problems at home and abroad.

The country itself is a problem. With a KGB colonel as president, the current laws on extremism and protecting the rights of believers, the Dima Yakovlev law [the “anti-Magnitsky” law], the blocking of web-sites, the foreign agents legislation.

What else? The defeat of independent media, deceitful and malicious propaganda from state media, the seizure of Georgian territory, the annexation of Crimea, the fomenting of civil war in Ukraine. . . . Can there be doubts as to how Sakharov would react?

Sakharov would be ashamed. I am ashamed. [End Page 184]

For fuller versions of the documents in this section, visit www.journalofdemocracy.org.

Iran

Iranian American musician and songwriter Marjan Farsad dedicated her new song, “Mahtab” (Moonlight), to two of her friends. Wildlife conservationist Niloufar Bayani, arrested in 2018, is serving a ten-year espionage sentence. Satirist Keyomars Marzban, released in 2021, was imprisoned for, among other things, writing for foreign media outlets. A translation follows:

Today I saw your picture in a newspaperYou have been in prisonFor a hundred days, a thousand days,a lifetime

They have tied your hands,broken your wingsThey have built a wallbetween you and bright days

Days go bylike waves in the seaTangled knotsof yesterdays and tomorrows

The blue sky has lost its colorThey kill the birdswith bows and arrows

The blue sky has lost its colorThey kill the birdswith bows and arrows

One by one the stars disappearnight after nightThe moonlight has had enough

One by one the stars disappearnight after nightThe moonlight has had enough

Clubs and gunsexecutions and warShould I say that you’re missedor how it hurts

Clubs and gunsexecutions and warShould I say that you’re missedor how it hurts

One by one the starsOne by one the starsOne by one the starsOne by one the stars [End Page 185]

Global

In July, the Pegasus Project, a global investigation coordinated by the NGO Forbidden Stories, exposed how Pegasus, a phone-tracking software made by NSO Group, has been used by governments to systematically target heads of state, activists, and journalists, among others. In response, a global coalition of more than 150 civil society groups and thirty experts issued a joint letter calling for a moratorium on surveillance-technology sales. Excerpts follow:

The Pegasus Project’s revelations prove wrong any claims by NSO that such attacks are rare or anomalous, or arising from rogue use of their technology. While the company asserts its spyware is only used for legitimate criminal and terror investigations, it has become clear that its technology facilitates systemic abuse. . . . From the leaked data and their investigations, Forbidden Stories and its media partners identified potential NSO clients in 11 countries: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Togo, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). . . .

The investigation has so far also identified at least 180 journalists in 20 countries who were...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3214
Print ISSN
1045-5736
Pages
pp. 184-190
Launched on MUSE
2021-10-19
Open Access
No
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