Medvedev Complains of Media Clampdown

President Dmitry Medvedev has accused unidentified foreign governments of deliberately clamping down on Russian-language media, and he has warned that the Kremlin could retaliate.

"We cannot help but be concerned by … deliberate actions to squeeze out Russian-language publications from the information arena in certain countries," Medvedev said in a speech at the International Congress of Russian Press last week.

Other former Soviet republics are home to large communities of Russian-speakers and ethnic Russians, and Moscow has repeatedly complained that in some of those countries their rights are being violated.

"For us it is a sensitive question because it is about the preservation of what is, in essence, the main cultural and information medium for a large number of our compatriots," Medvedev said.

"Russia cannot stay indifferent and will try to react to such a difficult phenomenon appropriately," he said.

Medvedev did not name any countries. Russian officials frequently say the rights of ethnic Russians are being violated in Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Turkmenistan.

Medvedev promised to support free media at home.

"Today and in the future our unchanged guiding principle will remain the building of a free and responsible society, respect for human rights, freedom of press and speech and, of course, the supremacy of the law," he said.