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tv   Washington Journal Alina Polyakova  CSPAN  February 1, 2021 12:43am-1:30am EST

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expected later in the week. in the house, the first votes of the week are expected tuesday. they plan to take up a budget resolution that could set the stage for passage of a new round of code relief. a vote is also possible on a rules change to impose fines on members who do not comply with new screening measures to enter the house floor. wash the house live on c-span in the senate on c-span two. >> are just now is the president and ceo of the center for european policy and analysis. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> we appreciate to have you here in washington. do u.s. russian relations in the biden relations, we are seeing more pictures and headlines about massive numbers of people protesting and arrests throughout russia. care reuters -- here at reuters,
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2700 more arrested today. why are people protesting in moscow and around russia these days? >> it has been incredible to watch this weekend certainly. this is the second weekend of protest and demonstration held across russia's 11 time zones from the east, from st. petersburg -- all the way to saint petersburg. last week and there were 4000 people arrested. certainly the authorities have come out in force this weekend. this is all the doing of the russian opposition leader alexey navalny who is currently being jailed in russia, and moscow, and he is the one and the people around him are calling for these protests against corruption and putin in particular. after releasing a very explosive video claiming mr. pruden has built himself a palatial -- mr. putin has built himself a palatial castle on the black sea at the pump -- at the cost of
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public funds. alexey navalny is a really interesting individual. he has been involved in russian politics for many years. he is an attorney by training. he is only 44. he has ambitions and would love to run for office that -- by the russian -- has been presented prevented so by the russian authorities. they are motivated by any legal basis as far as european courts are concerned. it really raises questions. over the summer he was traveling in siberia. he was later found to have been poisoned by a nerve agent we know the russians have used in the past, in the u.k. he recovered from that, in germany and just returned to russia about two weeks ago and was arrested immediately. now there have been all these
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protests in support of him and in support of a more democratic russia. personally, they understand what he stands for, and that is for in russia that is more equal, that is less corrupt, and that works for its people and not for the people of the top. host: now we read this morning that his wife is among thousands arrested during protests in russia this weekend. how is that likely to exacerbate the situation around the country? guest: the situation around his wife has become -- is that she has become a really common activist feud many women have taken a lead in russian opposition leadership including another interesting leader
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who is leading many of these protests. his wife will likely be released, she has been arrested many, many times the including last weekend but clearly, his supporters are not going anywhere. they feel that there is a huge amount of anxiety from the regime. the show of force, i don't want to underestimate how profound the regime has approached these protests. this is the greatest show of force that was seen in modern-day russia. many russian protesters have been comparing this moment to something i can to the great repression of the 1930's, which resulted in the deaths of millions. certainly, we are nowhere near matt but it is reminding people of a very dark time in russia's history. host: phone numbers on the bottom of the screen for our guest. she is president and ceo of the center for european policy analysis.
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we will have separate lines for democrats, republicans, and independents. (202) 748-8000 free democrats -- for democrats. (202) 748-8001 for republicans. independents, (202) 748-8002. remind us, what is the center for european policy and how are you funded? guest: my organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research institute. we focus on the transatlantic alliance and believe in the strength of alliances, being the u.s. national security. we are a think tank, we are funded by a variety of social foundations, many foundations to support our work because they believe it is in the interest of our security in the united states. we are absolutely independent, not affiliated with any political party. host: let's get to the biden administration for a moment. this is a tweet put up by the
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secretary of state. the u.s. condemns the use of harsh tactics against protesters and journalists by russian authorities. we renew our call on russia to release those detained are exercising their human rights, including alexei navalny. here is the secretary at his briefing last week very briefly. >> as you know, we've already express our deep concern for mr. novotny specifically and more generally, with the human rights situation. in russia. it remains striking to me how concerned and maybe even scared the russian government seems to be of one man, mr. navalnt. -- mr. navalny. across the board, at the president has said, we are reviewing all of these actions.
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whether it is the treatment of mr. navalny, and particularly the apparent use of the chemical weapon in an attempt to assassinate him. we are looking very urgently as well as solar winds and various implications. we are looking at the reports of bounties placed by russia on american forces in afghanistan, and of course, we are looking at these questions of election interference. all of that, as the white house has indicated, is under review. i don't want to get ahead of where we are on those reviews. as i say, we have a deep concern for mr. navalny's safety and security. the larger point is that his voice is the voice of many, many, many russians and it should be heard, not muzzled. not ruling out anything, but we want to get his full review done
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and then we will take it from there. >> one more question, president biden spoke with the russian leader, mr. putin last week. what did they talk about specifically, what was your take away? guest: it was a very interesting phone call to follow. certainly president brian bought out a slew of issues -- brought up a slew of issues that we have not heard a u.s. president bring out over the last couple of years, including alexei navalny and the fact that he was jailed and he expressed his concern with the repression and the jailing of independent voices in russia.
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>> a personal relationship that he was beginning rather than a diplomatic u.s. russian relationship. i think with this president the phone call signals that we are going to see a return to diplomatic relations between the countries where the leader
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speaks about personal relationships. and personal relationships do not form the real nature of the broader u.s. russian relationship. some return to normalcy frankly will come to the russian side, who have been keen to work with the united states on the nuclear arms trade, for example, in the last administration, in despite of the presence -- of the president stated desire. never got to that extension. what we are seeing -- we are seeing a 180 turn on biden from his ministration on how they are approaching russia. >> republican color, good morning. caller: i have a couple of questions. every time i have put something on facebook they tell me, that it could be partially wrong, fact checked.
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i would like to ask you a couple questions. the media told us for three years that trump was a russian asset. i want to know if you believe that, and another question, has anybody ever been to the mayor of moscow's wife that sent hunter biden $3 million, for what? could you answer that, and, there is no reason other than it being a mother -- a money laundering seen. host: thanks for calling. guest: certainly in the last administration, president trump, i can only go by what we heard in the public's base. i don't have any access to classified information. it is possible in 30 years we will get unclassified documents
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that reveal more than what we know. certainly what we know now is that the former president trump openly stated she wanted a closer relationship with mr. putin. -- openly stated he wanted a closer relationship with mr. putin. they could not really move forward with it. regarding the second comment about potential money laundering schemes, i have to say, i've not seen convincing evidence. to support that theory, but certainly, i would be opening to seeing convincing evidence. for now, i have not seen anything to suggest the president's son hunter biden has done anything untoward or certainly illegal when it comes to any financial relationship with anyone from russia. host: a couple mentioned so far, that massive solar wind hack, what real and tangible steps has the u.s. been taking, if you
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know of any, and what could they take? guest: the solar wind attack, we cannot underestimate how profound a breach this has been from the russian security services. we have learned in reporting on this that over children 50 u.s. federal agents -- that over 250 u.s. federal agents have been affected, as well as large u.s. companies like microsoft and many other tech firms. for now the biden administration has said it seems like this was
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>> president biden has ordered his new head of intelligence, april haynes, to carry out a full investigation of the solar wind and to produce a report. we don't know when that is coming, how much of that will be classified. i am guessing a large amount of that will be classified. we are in a state where we will need to learn more because last year when this all came to light, there was no investigation by the previous administration. hopefully now in the next couple months, this will be a priority by this administration to learn what was stolen, when, how, and what we can prevent -- what we can do to prevent this from happening. >> she holds a phd. president and ceo of the center for european policy and analysis. we are talking about u.s.-russia
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relations. jack is on the line in wiggins, kayla roller -- colorado. i've had a big concern with the way trump has always communicated with putin. over the years, i've seen whenever they have met or something, you never heard anything about it. you had all these meetings where no information has come out. my biggest concern is he has talked to putin several times over the years and we have never heard on the news other than they supposedly receive these news reports that these news companies have seen on the russian television. there has never been anything from trump or whatever that said
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he talked to putin. it was always positive for russia and negative for the u.s. is that true? have the reports come from russia? that we have heard? all that has come from russia, nothing has been reported on our local news stations? guest: certainly, the trump administration, what we saw over the years from the administration was formal communication from the white house. normally, when the u.s. president speaks to a world leader like president biden did recently, we get an official readout that is shared with reporters, we get a readout from the kremlin as well. and the last you years, we've seen less effective munication.
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not just when it came to mr. trump's calls with president putin, but other world leaders as well. yes, there was a certain period when we would get a readout from the kremlin but we would not get a similar readout from the white house in one of these phone calls. what that signals is that these readouts don't always match. of course, what we were forced to rely on was what the kremlin wanted us to see and not what the united states wanted everyone to see. that is certainly a mismatch and an imbalance that emerged. again, this is not particular to russia. we seen that for other world leaders as well. host: as we go back to these protests in russia, what are russians able to see on tv in
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their country about what is going on now, and what is their access to the web these days? guest: these are fascinating questions. first, we have to understand that russia does not have a re-media space by any means of the word. russian television, most radio, most newspapers are state-controlled, meaning that the government puts out whatever it wants the russian people to see, and the majority of russians across russia are still getting most of their information based on some of the surveys over the recent years from television. of course, the number of young people come of age and make up a greater portion of the russian population, so that number has started to shift. still a majority of russians gain information from television and what that means is they are getting information from the government. but mr. nabelny -- mr. navalny,
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in a very smart way, has harnessed the power of social media. if it wasn't for youtube and instagram, telegrams, facebook, twitter, all these social media platforms, there are a few russians probably would have ever heard the name alexei navalny because he was never given access to state resources, meaning state media. he was never mentioned. if you want russian television right now, i can guarantee there's maybe only an offhand remark or a mention about the protests going on in russia today, and this would not be the top story like it would be in the united states. it is just going to be mentioned somewhere deep in the background. interestingly, despite all of these barriers, mr. navalny's video about mr. putin's corruption and this really of seen power that he has built has
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now garnered over 100 million views. it is a huge achievement by a man and his supporters who have really been barred and repressed by all means available to the russian regime. it is truly incredible when you think about it. host: before we get back to calls, showing you a picture of some of the protests in the washington post. that headline i wanted to ask you about, putin's new war on the opposition suggests he sees it as a real threat. to what extent is what is happening in russia right now a threat himself -- to putin himself? guest: what is interesting about this particular moment is not that we have not seen this in russia before, we certainly have. demonstrations in 2011 and 2012 by some estimates are perhaps even larger than what we are seeing today. and these were demonstrations against what protesters at the
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time saw as a fragile and illegitimate reelection of mr. putin back to the kremlin after a short time. but certainly now, it is very different for a few reasons. one, mr. putin's own approval ratings have been slipping because of the mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic in russia, because of the declining standard of living among russians. we have to remember that many russians outside the rich neighborhoods of moscow and st. petersburg are struggling on a day to day basis. the public health care system has also been completely ravaged by corruption and is unable to provide basic health care services. and russians see that and they are then confronted with pictures of what looks like something bigger than the french versailles palace being built by their president and it really
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looks like a spot to stay safe from most of them. the kind of repression that we've seen, the number of riot police, the aggression with which they have been harassed and arrested over the last two weekends i think signals a new turn in the russian peoples' ability to contest regime power and certainly mr. putin finds himself in a very insecure place. his term currently is supposed to expire by the end of 2024, but he has recently pushed through a change to the russian constitution that will allow him to stay in power until he dies, so he will be president or leader of russia for life. certainly now at this moment, many people want a different option. they are not happy with the way things are and this comes at a very, very insecure moment. we are seeing that insecurity
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expressed in the kind of repression and the kind of anxiety that many russian protesters are also sensing on the streets today. host: 20 minutes left, so let's get back to calls. arlington, virginia, democratic caller. caller: thank you. thank you for this, it is a really fascinating conversation. i have a quick question. how much credence do you give to the claims by the russian businessman that he actually owns that palace? and how much credence do you give to the idea of turning it into another trump hotel? and the real question, does navalny actually represent any kind of a party or organization? sorry for my ignorance, but i would just like to know if he is sort of a lone wolf or what his... thank you. host: we understand.
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thank you. guest: sure. in terms of any claims of this massive palace on the black sea, one, president putin has actually denied that this was his property. that in itself, that denial i think is very significant. there is an old soviet joke that nothing is true until the kremlin denies it. that is likely the case here as well. when the president has to deny something, it is likely that it is truthful information. certainly, the investigation is quite long, but there are english subtitles. it is quite fantastic to say the least, to watch that. i think many will understand why the russian people are protesting today when you see something like that. it is quite unimaginable to have
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a leader embezzle as much money as that. what is this affiliation? again, i think it's important to remember that alexei navalny was a leader of the russian independent political party until he was thrown in jail on trumped up charges of tax evasion and embezzlement, that is the european court of justice that has thrown that out, there is no basis in those. it is a politically-motivated case against them. and he has been banned from ever running for office. certainly, if you would have the ambition to run for office, there is no political party. so what he has done instead is run as an independent nonprofit looking at corruption called the anticorruption foundation. it is run by him and many others around him, and that is the
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orders asian that he has been using as a vehicle to produce these films and to also mobilize people around him. what is really fascinating is that even though he is in jail and obviously has not had access to his usual social media accounts, those accounts, you will seef you check out his twitter or his instagram, are still posting on occasion. what that means is that he has really built a network where his colleagues have access to those accounts and they are posting on his behalf and that will continue to mobilize the population. in my mind, what is really coming in russia is a reckoning to what extent the russian government will continue to allow independent social media to function in russia today, because that is the primary reason why alexei navalny is able to organize these protests sitting in jail. host: south carolina, eric.
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hello? caller: yeah, with all due respect, let me just make a couple of comments, first related to president putin and then mr. navalny. c-span, i wish you would have the late professor stephen collins from nyu on before he passed recently because he was really the only fair-minded, objective person that i hear when it comes to president putin. i am sad to know that he has passed away, but first of all, the russians have never lived any better than they are living right now. president putin has done wonders for the russian economy, for living standards. if you look at the numbers, they have $600 billion in foreign currency reserves. they are now the leading economic power of the age. if you look at the weapons they are producing, they are the leading expert in the world. living standards have been growing for 20 years, at least
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because of the coronavirus this year. president putin is immensely popular in russia. i have friends in russia. navalny has been trumped up by the american state department, by the cia as this dissident figure. he is a relatively insignificant person in russia. ok? and these protest are not as big as the western media is claiming them to be. the real objective here is to kill the nord stream project. the united states does not want europe to sign on to nord stream, so that mr. and a volley -- so they are making navalny out to be this glorious figure. if the russians wanted to kill navalny, they could have done so easily. this whole poison thing has been a comical joke. host: thank you for laying out your points in your view. eric, by the way, where did you
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get your information these days? caller: that's interesting. as i mentioned, the late stephen cohen. if you listen to more objective media from other parts of the world, we get a lot of misinformation from organizations which represent american interests, economic, corporate interests. ok? president putin has not allowed american banks, american corporations to get in there and to gain access to their economy for their benefit. ok? that is why he has been vilified. if you look at nato expansion, it is a direct threat to their borders. if you look at the coup organized in ukraine in 2013, that is why crimea was taken. it was a national security threat.
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putting missile defense on their borders as a way of stripping them of their nuclear deterrent. these are the provocations that president putin responded to. i am not saying the man is perfect, but we are not getting an objective -- host: thank you for your participation in the program. there is a lot there to cover. can you tell us what the nord stream project is all about? guest: i do think that eric has some valid points, but i do want to make sure we get some facts straight, and this is from independent reporting, from russia's own economic, financial, and local sources. it is true that for the first eight years of putin's presidency, since about the year 2008 or so, russia did experience a growth in their financial living standards.
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most of that, however, was tied to the price of oil and gas, which still make up a huge chunk, more than 50%, of russia's state revenue budget. the ruble itself tracks very closely to the price of oil. when the price of oil crashes, the russian economy tends to decline. if we look at russia as an economic global power, there's very little to support that statement. russia's gdp makes up less than 2% of global gdp. between 20% and 25% for china. certainly, russia is not an economic global power by any means of the word. yes, it is a nuclear superpower, that is a legacy that it has inherited from the soviet union, but in all other ways, militarily, russia's defense budget is a small fraction of
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the u.s. defense budget. they cannot compete with other global powers, not the united states, not the nato alliance, and probably not china in the very near future. russia is in a very difficult position, to say the very least. living standards have declined quite significantly for average russians. i think if people are able to visit russia and moscow, which of course, is the urban center for the entire country, russia is the largest country in the world, but it is significantly underplayed and economic around despite some advantages. if you go 30 to 40 miles outside of moscow, what you will see is quite sad, and unfortunate poverty that many russians live in. i think that is a testament to the mismanagement of the economy by the russian government.
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that is to say that we would have to really understand what the realities are that many russians face. many russians don't see a future for themselves and that is really the problem here. nord stream to, since the caller brought that up, this is a pipeline project that the russian state controls. gas company, it is a gas monopoly. it has been laying a pipeline that would allow russia to export gas from russia going under the baltic sea. if some viewers have a map in front of them, it delivers gas directly to northern europe. right now, a lot of those exports are going through ukraine, which is a more direct route to europe. there is a pipeline that goes underground past the territory of ukraine. the reason the united states has imposed sanctions on this project which is almost finished is because a variety of reasons. one, it goes against europe's
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energy security. it would make europe more dependent on russian gas, versus being more diversified as europeans themselves say they want to be. two, it would allow russia to completely, potentially shuttle gas transports to ukraine which would deprive ukraine of allowing transport to its territory and potentially it would allow russia to just shut off gas to ukraine, depriving ukrainians of heat during the winter, which is something they have done multiple times before, while still allowing gas to go to europe via the northern route. it is a very controversial project for all these reasons, that multiple u.s. administrations have seen as a detriment to transatlantic security.
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we will see what happens, but there is a reason why the u.s. has disapproved of the for so many years and so many administrations. host: miguel from albuquerque, republican. caller: good morning. what i want to say is that being a republican and seeing a lot of it, whether it be storming the capitol or black lives matter and antifa, it seems like there has been a lot of upgrading when it comes to the people all over the world, and now we are seeing it in russia today. it's not really a question, but i want to make a statement in support of the russian people. being an american, we always see the russians at the bad guys and we see them as the dark cloud that is always after us when in reality, the russian people are amazing people and great people. it is so great to see people from other sides of the world fighting for what is true.
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the u.s. with hedge fund managers, russia fighting the oppression of opposition. i just want to say i support the russian people and anyone who is fighting russia worldwide. host: thanks for calling. any thoughts guest: i agree, i think it is really important to separate the russian regime and mr. putin from the russian people. i agree that for the russian people, it would be best for them to live in a country where they see growth, they know their children will have a better life out, than they do. they have something to look forward to, i think that is very much a universal desire and a universal need and want. i think many americans around the world can relate, and i think that is what is partially driving the kinds of protests we are seeing today in russia.
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many more people don't see those kinds of opportunities themselves or for their children, and that is not a bright reality to live in. host: bring us up-to-date briefly on nuclear arms, the updated negotiations. we know the u.s.-russia treaty was signed back in 2010, started in 2011, it limits u.s. and russia to delivering nuclear weapons, extends provisions for five years. where is the u.s. and russia right now on updating any nuclear arms agreements? guest: the most dangerous development of the last couple of years has been the collapse of what was in nuclear arms infrastructure, agreements and treaties that began at the end of the soviet era, when the
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first agreements were signed between president gorbachev and president reagan. this was a breakthrough in then-soviet-u.s. relationships. two nuclear superpowers were able to agree on limiting their supply and the production of a nuclear over the last several years, we've seen the inf treaty which limits some intermediate-ranged missile development, that was violated by russia, so the u.s. then left as well under the trump administration. open skies is still a big question mark. russia has told the united states they will leave that treaty because of russian violations, so there is a lot of back-and-forth. the reality is that more or less, open skies is also dead in the water. the only thing we have left his governing agreement of nuclear arms production deployment to
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provide for verification that is very important. we have to trust and verify when it comes to these agreements the new start treaty. i think it is a very good development for the security of our country and the world to have an extension for five more years but unfortunately, there seems to be very little faith and very little future for resurrecting some of these now-defunct treaties, and i think that presents a dangerous situation when it comes to nuclear arms going over. host: rockaway park, new york, independent caller. good morning. caller: good morning. i have been listening, i have a couple of questions. can i make a brief statement for your viewers? the moderators here have no viewpoint.
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they let you speak your conspiracy theories or whatever you care to speak about. they let you speak your voice. this is a good platform. do not attack greta, john, pedro, or any other moderator on c-span. if you want to call in, if you don't think they are telling the truth, don't even call in to c-span. please, give the moderators a chance. alina, i would like to ask you two questions. i would like to ask you about ukraine's ambassador. i think that is her name. it has been a while. she was vilified, she was threatened by donald trump's supporters for speaking the truth. with your last name, i know that you are from the eastern european countries.
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my grandparents were, and my father, i didn't know until his funeral that he was awarded a bronze star for fighting against fascism. could you please describe the people what it is like to live under a fascist government? second question. can you overturn communist rule by peaceful protest, as was done in poland, and czechoslovakia, with leadership from pope john paul ii? could you please respond? host: a couple things. guest: thank you. thank you to the caller for the question about life in an authoritarian regime. it is true that i grew up for the first new years of my life in the soviet union, in ukraine, and my family immigrated to the united states when i was a child
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and i grew up in the united states. but that is why i have my last name, obviously. a couple of words about what i think many americans cannot imagine, what it is like to live in an authoritarian state, where you have no rights. you have no freedoms of speech. you certainly live in constant fear and poverty. discrimination against certain minority groups, that the state not only looks past, but encourages. there were many instances, unfortunately, in my own families past as well, and many others where, in the years previous, other regimes of the soviet union, many people were disappearing, put into these gulags, prison camps in siberia. matt was a very dark past, and certainly, i don't think any russian would want to go back to that. i don't think any american could
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ever even imagine surviving in such an environment. it was an incredible moment in 1989 and onward when the berlin wall came down peacefully, through peaceful demonstrations, peaceful movements across not just the soviet union, but across the far eastern blocks, poland, what was then czechoslovakia and elsewhere. at the end of the day, all of these people of these countries, the only thing they wanted was liberty and freedom, which is something that we very much take for granted in a free democracy like united dates. certainly, it is possible, what we are seeing today in russia with the peaceful protests going on is an expression of that desire. i think it remains to be seen what that leads to, and i think we should remember that this is also happening in belarus as we speak. months and months of hunger strikes and of hunger strikes ad protests. what is often called the last
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dictatorship of europe, the dictatorship of belarus's leader. in russia, this is the -- we have seen, that he will lose power because of a mass democratic movement by his own people. that is exactly why we are seeing mass depression play out on the streets of russia and all the cities across the country. host: our guest has been -- the president and ceo of the center for european policy. thank you for coming back and joining us and sharing your expertise on 1 -- on >> c-span's washington journal. every day, we are taking her calls on the issues of the day. coming up monday morning, a discussion about the week ahead in washington with the fulcrum editor in chief david hawkins. then we will talk about redistricting with david
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wasserman. watching c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern monday morning. be sure to join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. >> you are watching c-span, your unfiltered view of government. c-span was created by america's cable television companies in 1979. today, we are brought to you by these television companies who provide c-span to viewers as a public service. washington journal continues. host: joining us now is andrew pekosz from the john hopkins -- johns hopkins bloomberg school of public health. thank you for joining us. let's get some of your take first on the washington post story today. it talks


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