U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired a hearing today examining the Obama Administration's "reset" policy toward Russia. After the hearing, Ros-Lehtinen issued the following statement on the human rights situation in Russia:
"Vladimir Putin's promise that protestors will "take a cudgel to the head' if they demonstrate without permission sends chills down my spine. Putin's brutal statement underscores the true nature of the Russian government and its determination to silence anyone who speaks out against its policies.
"In recent months, the human rights situation in Russia has further deteriorated Beatings and murders of journalists are commonplace, and no one is being held accountable. Opposition figures continue to be harassed and prevented from participating in the political process.
"Putin's present-day Russia is taking on a more Stalin-era appearance every day.
"The Administration must end its string of concessions to the regime in Moscow, which have not resulted in increased cooperation with the U.S. or an improvement in Russia's human rights record. With the human rights situation getting worse by the day, overturning the Jackson-Vanik amendment and ushering Russia into the World Trade Organization is simply not an option.
"I urge the Administration to end its failed "reset' policy and instead pressure the regime in Russia to end its policies which threaten the human rights of its own people and the interests of the U.S."