Putin’s Empty Chair at the Summit for Democracy: Charting a Course for Russia’s Democratic Future

8 December 2021  11:00 - 12:30

In Person Event | Organised by The German Marshall Fund of the United States | Held in United States in English
Contact details: [email protected]
Advancing respect for human rights
Register here

At the Summit for Democracy on December 9-10, global leaders from 110 nations and partners will lay out new commitments to human rights and a democratic renewal. The summit will open its doors to non-governmental voices from civil society, independent media, activists, and the private sector to detail their priorities, demands, and goals for democratic progress. There is little surprise that authoritarian President Putin is excluded from the list of summit invitees. The Putin regime’s actions are detrimental and threatening to democratic actors globally, including its deepening repression of the Russian people, grave human rights violations, endemic corruption, and aggressive campaign to undermine democratic institutions and nations worldwide through hybrid aggression.

Many victims of Putin’s aggression are the Russian people, including political opposition, civil society, free media, and normal citizens. It is critical at the summit that Russian voices are heard and given a platform to add to the voices demanding democracy. As political opposition is locked up, civil society targeted, and free media shut down, Putin’s government increasingly does not speak for the Russian people—only for its own self-interest. Many Russians, including civil society, remain unwavering in their commitment to the pursuit of democracy and human rights, despite brutal repression at home and, at times, tepid support from the international community.

In anticipation of the Summit for Democracy and the call to action, Free Russia Foundation, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group invite you to join prominent members of Russian civil society for a virtual, on-the-record conversation to discuss a shared vision for democracy and human rights in Russia, concrete steps that must be taken to advance this agenda, and what the international community can do to help.


  • Vladimir Milov, Russian opposition politician
  • Vasily Gatov, USC Annenberg Center on Communication, Leadership, and Policy
  • Evgeniya Chirikova, Activatica.org