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Report assesses human rights under Putin, US-Russia relations

US President Barack Obama meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Los Cabos, Mexico, June 18, 2012
US President Barack Obama meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Los Cabos, Mexico, June 18, 2012

REUTERS/Jason Reed

(Freedom House/IFEX) - 6 February 2013 - As President Obama enters his second term, he and his administration should formulate an approach markedly different from the reset policy of the first term to confront the increasingly repressive human rights situation in Russia, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin's anti-American rhetoric and policies. To help inform the discussion towards a post-reset approach, Freedom House today released a special report that assesses the state of human rights and democracy in Russia and makes recommendations for U.S. policy going forward.

“U.S.-Russian relations are at a very difficult point, and a lot of that has to do with Putin's crackdown inside Russia and his support for likeminded regimes in Belarus and Syria. Indeed, since his formal return to the presidency, Putin has overseen the worst deterioration in Russia's democracy and human rights situation since the collapse of the Soviet Union,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “It is clear that a new American policy toward the Kremlin is needed.”

Since returning to the presidency in May 2012, Putin has pushed through measures to restrict public demonstrations, limit funding for non-governmental organizations, and place restrictions on the internet. He has accused the United States of fomenting demonstrations against election fraud, shut down all USAID programs in Russia, withdrawn from a series of cooperative agreements with the United States, and punctuated his anti-American initiatives with a law that prohibits the adoption of Russian children by citizens of the United States.

The report includes an assessment of the current state of U.S.-Russia relations, as well as a chronology of developments in Russia starting at the beginning of the Putin era in 2000 and focusing on the suppression of the political opposition, independent media, and civil society.

To read the full report, click here.

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