U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today expressing her concern about the official return of Vladimir Putin as President of Russia and the prospect of six more years of authoritarian rule:
"Putin's return to the presidency is a major setback for human rights and democracy in Russia. Putin has tightened his grip through rigged elections, widespread corruption, and unrelenting repression. The "new' Putin is merely a freshly painted version of the old.
"Still, the Obama Administration's failed "reset' policy seems poised to continue even though the U.S. has received next to nothing in return for the countless concessions made to the autocratic Russian regime. Russia continues to shield Iran from international sanctions, prop up Assad's murderous regime, and undermine U.S. efforts to establish a missile defense system in Europe.
"As Putin brings more of the same, U.S. policy towards Russia must change. The Obama Administration must abandon its failed "reset' policy and instead engage the Russian opposition and challenge the regime on its terrible human rights record and abuse of democracy."