Durbin Discusses Unprovoked Russian Invasion Of Ukraine With Russian-Opposition Figure Vladimir Kara-Murza

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, today met with Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian opposition figure who survived two poisoning attempts by the Kremlin. During the meeting, Durbin and Kara-Murza discussed the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and his particular insights on Russian politics. They also discussed the increasing number of Russians who oppose Putin’s war.


“Vladimir is a fearless Russian patriot and leader for democracy,” Durbin said. “Despite being poisoned twice by the Kremlin, he heroically continues to stand up to Putin and advocate for the Ukrainian people.  We had a productive discussion today on how the terrible war in Ukraine is further undermining Putin’s autocratic rule and the thousands of Russians arrested for speaking against the war.  The vision he shares with so many other Russians of a democratic Russia at peace with its neighbors is the right path forward.”


“I am grateful for an opportunity to meet with Senator Durbin, one of the most committed supporters of democracy in the U.S. Senate, to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Putin’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine,” said Kara-Murza. “It is important that the free world stands in solidarity both with Ukraine and with Russian civil society in these difficult times.”


A photo of the meeting is available here.


Vladimir Kara-Murza, Vice Chairman of Open Russia, is a journalist, contributing writer at the Washington Post, film-maker, author, and a lifelong Russian opposition politician.  He was born in Moscow in 1981, where he lived until attending Cambridge for his BA and MA in History.  His opposition to Putin began in 2000 and his career in the public spotlight took off when he ran for State Duma in 2003.  In 2012, he became widely recognized in the U.S. for his help in passing the Magnitsky Act, a bill Durbin cosponsored that blocked 18 Russian government officials and businessmen from entering the United States, froze any assets held by U.S. banks, and banned their future use of U.S. banking systems. The act was expanded in 2016, and now sanctions apply to 44 suspected human rights abusers worldwide.


On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution cosponsored by Durbin condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal. Last week, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus appropriations bill. The $1.5 trillion package provides $13.6 billion in humanitarian, military, and economic support for Ukraine. Within that amount, $6 billion is provided in State and USAID humanitarian assistance; $100 million in US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Peace aid for Ukraine; $6.5 billion in Defense spending; and $19 million for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to support targeted sanctions measures.