The US State Department has expressed concerns about the state of affairs in Russia for the second time in several days. Such statements do not surprise anyone in Russia, of course, but the State Department does not make them so often usually.
"We note with concern... that a peaceable demonstration of Russians advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians, joined by international supporters, was forcefully disrupted by counter-protesters, and that Russian security forces then detained people from both groups," US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement on May 30.
The following day, Michael Posner, the assistant secretary of state for human rights, released another, a broader statement. He approved the reforms, which the Russian administration conducts in the country and then proceeded to criticism. He mentioned such names as Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova, Sergei Magnitsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. At the end of his speech, Posner set out his thoughts about the importance of meetings in the Russian Federation. According to the US official, the freedom of meetings is another important aspect that Russia should aspire to to become a strong country based on the talent and creative abilities of its nation.
Mr. Posner believes that Russia must do a lot to support the freedom of meetings, especially during the pre-election time in the country. He particularly stated that the USA was concerned with news reports about the defense of the Khimki forest near Moscow. The US was also concerned with the suppression of the gay march in the Russian capital, he added.
According to him, the USA and Russia must work together as partners to solve all these problems. Posner also expressed his support to Russian human rights activists.
"I want you to know that you have the support of Barack Obama's administration, of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and of the American people," he said.
It seems that Russia should not disregard the appeal to work together. Indeed, Russia must cooperate with the USA on the problem of the freedom of meetings in the United States in light of the recent arrest of a journalist of Russia Today TV company. RT's journalist Adam Kokesh was arrested at the end of May during a flashmob near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington. A group of people were dancing near the memorial with no music playing. The people were defending the First Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees the freedom of speech and assembly.
The flashmob ended when police officer knocked all the dancing people down and cuffed them. The detainees spent a night in jail and are going to face trial, the Russian News Service said.
In November of 2010, several journalists of Russia Today TV company were arrested in the USA as they were shooting a demonstration of protest near Fort Benning army base. The journalists spent more than 24 hours in jail before they were released and acquitted by the court.
Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, believes that the Obama administration is trying to respond to those who criticize the warming of relations between Russia and the United States.
"Obama attaches a lot of importance to the relations with Russia. He needs that to achieve a whole bunch of goals in Europe, Afghanistan, in Iran and even in the middle east maybe," the expert told Pravda.Ru.
According to him, Obama gets constantly criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for his pragmatism. They keep on saying that Russia is not an ally of the USA and is not likely to become one. The State Department releases the above-mentioned statements to give a response to the critics, Kremenyuk believes.
Dmitry Abzalov, a chief expert of the Center for political Conjuncture, thinks that such statements can be based on Russia's achievements and USA's failures in foreign policy. One should also bear in mind the fact that the two countries are getting ready for elections.
Russia's Foreign Ministry should follow the example of American colleagues. At the end of the day, there are a lot of things happening in the States.
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