Russia does not want to be treated by the United States as a pupil when it comes to the principles of democracy building. However, it is prepared to engage in an equal dialogue as long as it would not turn into lecturing about the issue, according to Russian Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights and the Rule of Law, Konstantin Dolgov.
“Dialogue is always a two-way street. The ‘teacher-pupil’ formula will not work anymore. It will be only an equal dialogue, and we are ready to conduct this kind of dialogue,” said Dolgov.
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“If they want to lecture us on how we should build our democracy, I suggest they rather deliver such lectures in some US university,” he added.
Dolgov emphasized that the Russian-American Presidential Commission has a special group working on the development of civil society in the country. The civil society group sought a cooperation with U.S. human rights organizations.
According to him, their American counterpart expressed concerns regarding human rights in Russia and decided to freeze cooperation. Dolgov commented that such decision was “simply illogical.”
He also said, “We’ve never shed and don’t shed any tears over this” [referring to the U.S. decision], and noted that the civil societies from Russia and United States are communicating.
Russia is ready to resume dialogue with the United States
Furthermore, Dolgov said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently discussed the general situation of human rights in the country with the United States. According to him, the U.S. expressed its intention to resume dialogue with Russia.
“We’ve received signals from the United States that they are willing to resume dialogue with us one way or another. We are fully ready for such a dialogue,” according to the Russian Commissioner for Human Rights.
Major problems between Russian and United States on human rights
Dolgov pointed out that Russia and the United States still have major problems related to human rights including the adopted Russian children who were abused and sometimes even killed by their American foster parents. Another problem was the constant arrests of Russian citizens in other countries and sent to the United States for trial.
Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior Russian diplomats repeatedly described their counterparts in the United States as arrogant and incapable of conducting equal negotiations. Lavrov emphasized that such attitudes only created misunderstandings and contributed little to resolve conflicts.
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman of President Vladimir Putin recently reacted to the advice of the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Kenneth Hackett to Pope Francis to take a tougher position to President Putin particularly on the Ukraine crisis.
Hackett stated that the Vatican could speak more about concerns about territorial integrity following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. He said, “Maybe this is an opportunity for the Holy Father to privately raise those concerns.” Pope Francis took a cautious approach to criticisms of Russia.
According to Peskov, Hackett’s advice to Pope Francis was “surely a blatant attempt in suppressing the sovereignty of other nations. This is what the Russian president never agreed with, and now categorically opposes.” He added that Hackett pretended to have the “right to lecture the Pope of Rome” and called it a “new move” and “big responsibility” in international diplomacy.
Human rights in the Baltic States
Meanwhile, Dolgov noted that the human rights situation in the Baltic States has not improved. According to him, the rights of Russian-speaking minorities in the former Soviet states are being violated.
“We are stating that consistent activity towards violation of political, social-economic, and language rights of the Russian-speaking minority continues.This issue may have fallen by the wayside in media a bit against the background of dramatic events in Ukraine, but this does not mean that the situation defuses,” said Dolgov.
He criticized the growing neo-Nazi supporters in the Baltic States. He said, “Supporters of Nazis, who participated in crimes against the humankind, can be seen walking about openly. One can hear discourses at the highest level that people were forced into these SS divisions. This is not a serious excuse. Glorification of Nazism is inadmissible from the point of view of conscience and morale.”