The USA has no place in any dialog between Russia’s government and opposition movements opposed to President Putin’s rule, Putin’s spokesman told an American journal. In an interview published on Thursday, Dmitri Peskov told The National Interest, a bi-monthly American foreign policy journal, “The dialogue between the Russian government and the opposition can’t be a subject of the bilateral relationship between Moscow and Washington, and in no way can be an issue of [interstate] discussion”.
Putin frequently accused the USA of being behind the unprecedented protests against his rule that broke out in December 2011, whilst late last year the alleged torture of opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev sparked a diplomatic row between the two former Cold War foes. The USA also slammed last year a Moscow court’s decision to jail members of the anti-Putin punk rock group Pussy Riot over a protest in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Washington also expressed concern over the treatment of protest leaders such as Aleksei Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov, both whom are facing long jail terms.
However, Peskov told the journal that Russia wouldn’t take into account American concerns over what The National Interest called “the domestic climate inside Russia”, saying, “Those are our domestic affairs, our domestic politics. We’re a democratic country, sharing the same values with the whole world, but we’re a country that’ll solve all the problems, domestic and the like, without any interference from abroad”. Peskov also praised what he called Russia’s “growing civil society”.
25 January 2013