Top US lawmaker: Time to review Russia ties
President Barack Obama should reassess US relations with Russia in the wake of "savage attacks" on journalists there, a senior House of Representatives Republican said Wednesday.
"It is time for President Obama to wake up and recognize the brutal nature of the regime he is dealing with in Moscow and to rethink his 'reset' policy with Russia," said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Attention on the security of reporters in Russia has increased dramatically since the weekend beating of Kommersant business daily correspondent Oleg Kashin, who remains in a coma induced by doctors, and a report by another journalist, Anatoly Adamchuk, that he was beaten early Monday.
"I am appalled by the savage attacks on Oleg Kashin and Anatoly Adamchuk," Ros-Lehtinen, who is likely to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee come January, said in a statement.
"These most recent incidents remind us yet again how the Russian regime is willing to use brutal tactics such as beatings and murders to viciously silence those who struggle for human rights and rule of law in Russia," she said.
The Kremlin and the state-controlled media have a history of dismissing such incidents and even pinning some of the blame on reporters who dig into issues that might conflict with state concerns.
But the latest events appear to have shaken the nation into a reexamination of where media freedoms stand some two decades after the Soviet Union's collapse.
"Such attacks, and even murders, against journalists and human rights activists have become commonplace across Russia under the regime of Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. Russian officials and police rarely investigate such cases properly or bring the responsible parties to justice," said Ros-Lehtinen.
© 2010 AFP