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While Obama is in Russia

While President Obama is in Moscow this week, he ought to take time to deliver a Cairo-style speech to the Russian people, suggests Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy at the nongovernmental organization Freedom House. Currently, she said, the media mostly spout nationalist propaganda and portray freedom and democracy as bad things. Speech is stifled. Elections are meaningless. "Russians don't like being preached to by foreigners any more than Egyptians, Turks, Iranians or, for that matter, Americans do," Schriefer wrote. "Yet they may respond to a frank and respectful speech that emphasizes America's real desire — not for a weak and subservient Russia — but rather a strong Russia that shares its democratic values and that can be a real partner in tackling some of the world's growing list of crises."