As President George W. Bush prepares to meet with President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dimitry Medvedev in Sochi on Sunday, I hope he will remember the pledge he made in his second inaugural address in 2005. In that memorable speech, he promised that the United States would not ignore oppression and that it would stand with those who stand for liberty.
Thousands of Russians like myself have been speaking out and standing up for liberty and paying a heavy price. Some of us, like Anna Politkovskaya, have paid the ultimate price. The rest of us have suffered threats, defamation in the media, physical assault, fabricated prosecution and interference or obstruction of our work.
I am calling on you, President Bush, not to avert your eyes from the many Russian citizens in Grozny, Nazran, Beslan, Volgodonsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, Murmansk, and Saint Petersburg who feel neglected and ignored in both their protests and suffering. Please stand with us as you meet with our oppressor.
Confront the Kremlin
Oksana Chelysheva, 4 Apr 2008