Wednesday, May 23, 2007

President Bush: Russia Needs to Seek A "Better Way" To Democracy

Patrick Moore from Radio Free Europe reports --

U.S. President George W. Bush said in an interview with Reuters in Washington on May 21 that his "message to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is there's a better way forward" toward democracy than what Russia is currently doing. Bush added that Putin "thinks they've got a democracy emerging there in Russia. Obviously there's a lot of suspicion [abroad] about that, and I look forward to continuing to talk to him as to why he thinks his country is on the path to democracy. It looks like at times it's not to me."

Bush said that he would also tell Putin that "your interests lie in the West, and we ought to be working together in a collaborative way."

Bush noted that "people in [the Russian] government harbor suspicions about our intention [regarding missile defense], and I was trying to allay those suspicions [by sending several top U.S. officials to Moscow recently].

But there is a lot of tension with Russia, particularly with Europe now, that Russia is using her energy and denying market access to different countries, for example, [to] Polish meat [exports]" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 27, and May 15 and 21, 2007). Bush added that he still is close to Putin personally but described U.S.-Russian relations as "complex." Speaking at the May 9 Victory Day ceremonies, Putin compared the United States to Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. Russian state-run television subsequently commented that "the victory once again will be ours."

Britain's "The Economist" noted on May 18 that Russian "hatred of America gives cover for growing authoritarianism, nationalism, and concentration of
money and power in the hands of former and present members of the security services."