US is not to interfere in crackdown on opposition, warns Putin08 June 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said ties between Russia and the United States have sunk to post-Cold War lows over Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea, accusations of interference in US presidential elections, crackdown on the Capitol by rioters, and cyber attacks that US officials allege had Russian origins.
Rejecting the accusations at a business forum in St Petersburg on Friday, Mr. Putin said he expected "no breakthroughs" from his summit with US President Joe Biden in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16. The comments come ahead of his first meeting with President Biden since the latter's election. He termed as double standard the US response to the Capitol attack, which took place as Congress prepared to certify Mr. Biden's win over then-President Donald Trump in November. It was wrong for the US to criticise crackdowns on anti-government protests overseas, while prosecuting Americans with "political demands". He also hit back the US for its condemnation of a crackdown on anti-government protests by Moscow's regional ally, Belarus.
President Putin has been termed as a master of both repression and corrupt bargains - so notorious for both that the United States created new ways to punish such behaviour. A few years after the death of corruption whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky in Russian prison in 2009, the US adopted the Magnitsky Act, which authorises the president to impose sanctions against any human rights abusers. Later, Canada, the United Kingdom and European Union passed similar laws.
It is to be noted that Alexei Navalny, Russia's most important Kremlin critic was imprisoned for leading an unauthorised protest in 2019. In 2020, while on parole, he was somehow poisoned. In critical condition he was flown to Germany for emergency medical treatment and he survived the poisoning. But in February 2021, a court said the Germany trip was a parole violation. The court sentenced him to three years in prison. That infuriated thousands of Russians to protest. This also united the disparate opposition groups into one movement that is challenging to President Putin's 20 years' rule. There was widespread allegation that Mr. Putin, who spent 16 years in Russian intelligence agency - KGB, has total control over the judiciary and the law enforcement agencies.
As the battle between autocracy and democracy plays out in Russia, Belarus and beyond, the world's historic defenders of democracy - especially the super power US and its European and other allies - have to take tough stand towards restoring democracy universally.
The US administration has to understand that for Putin to continue in power like a Czar it is normal for his survival to be ruthless. What America needs to do is to stop killers of democracy under the influence of communism.