Administration Rebukes Putin

The Bush administration has called Putin out for his continuing slide into authoritarianism:

A top Russia expert at the State Department issued an unusually sharp public criticism on Thursday of Moscow’s behavior under President Vladimir V. Putin, describing the Kremlin as bullying its neighbors while silencing political opponents and suppressing individual rights at home.

That lede, written by NYT’s Thom Shanker, struck me as amusing given that the same charges have been leveled against President Bush. Still, it’s an accurate description and it’s well past time to stop pretending that Russia is a “democracy” in any meaningful sense of the word or that Putin is the moral equivalent of the other leaders of the G-8.

“We do no one any favors, least of all the Russian people and even their government, by abstaining from speaking out when necessary,” the Russia expert, David Kramer, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said in a speech Thursday night before the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs.

Quite right.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.