12 April 2007, 12:47
Russian Jewish leader criticizes U.S. human rights report
Moscow, April 12, Interfax - The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) is critical about the U.S. State Department's 2006 human rights report, whose authors insist that authoritarian trends in Russia are increasing and that there is a continued crackdown on democracy in Russia.
"I am very much upset by what such an influential agency has to say, because this is very unhelpful for developing true democracy," FJCR Chairman Alexander Boroda said in an interview with Interfax in comments on the report entitled Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2006.
By promising financial and political support for democratic forces in Russia, the U.S. Department of State "discredits them in Russians' eyes," Boroda said.
"Reports like this make our people think that all democrats here are Western or American agents, who, so to speak, sell their country out for U.S. dollars. They obviously look unpatriotic, and their sincere efforts to develop democratic institutions seem to many as an attempt to undermine the state's foundations and subjugate Russia to the U.S., which plays into the hands of opponents of democracy rather than its supporters," Boroda said.
"What makes it worse, is that the White House is using the subject of Russian democracy to help itself in an internal U.S. political game. It means that, as soon as this has stopped being beneficial, this subject will be dropped. I think Russian democrats are perfectly aware of the possibility of such a betrayal and are unlikely to be grateful to the U.S. for their State Department's disservice," Boroda said.
A more efficient course of action would be actively involving Russia in various international political and economic institutions, such as the WTO, G8, and PACE, he said.
"Working together will help political and economic standards common in developed democracies infiltrate the Russian business and government establishments," he said.
Boroda also said he regretted that Russia, instead of being assisted and supported, "is being forced to confront dislike and resistance and is being pushed away and barred, for instance, from entering the WTO."
The full version of Boroda's interview see under the Exclusive heading.