After Russian Vote, U.S. Pledges to Raise Concerns ‘Forcefully’

New York Times

The Obama administration plans to continue speaking out “forcefully” about human rights violations in Russia, even after Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin responded angrily to criticism of his country’s elections by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a top State Department official said Wednesday.

The official, Phil Gordon, assistant secretary of state for Europe, welcomed a call from President Dmitri A. Medvedev for an investigation of the Dec. 4 parliamentary elections but said the United States would not hesitate to keep pressing Moscow for greater accountability and respect for human rights.

But any action in Russia is unlikely before Dec. 21, when a new parliament is seated.

“While we will continue to pursue our common interests,” Mr. Gordon told the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on European affairs, the United States would “never be shy about talking frankly about our differences.”

Mrs. Clinton’s public criticism last week drew an unusually sharp retort from Mr. Putin, who suggested that the United States had instigated widespread antigovernment protests and that Mrs. Clinton had sent demonstrators “a signal” by criticizing the elections.

Some Democratic senators, including Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, chairwoman of the subcommittee, urged the administration to increase pressure on the Kremlin by quickly approving President Obama’s nomination of Michael McFaul to be ambassador to Russia. The nomination has been stalled by Republicans — at what Democrats say is an unusually delicate moment — over a separate issue.

Democrats also urged passage of a bill, known as the Magnitsky Act, that would deny United States visas to any person suspected of major human rights violations in Russia. Sergei L. Magnitsky, a lawyer, died in police custody in November 2009 after he had made accusations of a wide-scale, officially sanctioned tax fraud.

Another State Department official at the hearing, Thomas O. Melia, said that recent protests in as many as 60 cities amounted to an “unprecedented mobilization of citizens in Russia.” Mr. Melia, the deputy assistant secretary for human rights, called it a “nationwide awakening.”

Mrs. Shaheen, acknowledging last Saturday’s huge protest in Moscow over allegations of electoral fraud, said, “It is important for the United States to stand behind these protesters.”

Both Mr. Gordon and Mr. Melia were asked whether the expected return of Mr. Putin as president in March augured a cooling of relations. Mr. Gordon noted that during his time as prime minister, Mr. Putin had not been without power, and he “didn’t stand in the way of the significant progress that we made.”

Mr. Gordon said that “our aim now is to deepen the reset and widen the arc of our cooperation.”

As part of that, he and Mr. Melia urged Congress to repeal the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, passed in 1974 to press Russia to ease curbs on Jewish emigration to Israel, and help clear the way for Russian accession to the World Trade Organization.

He said that the amendment’s objectives were achieved long ago, adding, “One could argue that even before the W.T.O. accession process, Jackson-Vanik was anachronistic and should’ve been taken off the books.”

David M. Herszenhorn contributed reporting from Moscow. hairy girl hairy woman https://zp-pdl.com/apply-for-payday-loan-online.php https://zp-pdl.com/online-payday-loans-in-america.php hairy women

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