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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Criticizes U.S. Human Rights Report

Moscow on Friday criticized the U.S. State Department's annual report on global human rights, saying its assessment of the situation in Russia was skewed, confrontational and aimed at furthering U.S. political interests.

In a bitter statement that reflected persistent strains between the Cold War foes, the Foreign Ministry accused Washington of double standards and suggested the United States was preaching to the world while violating the its own citizens' rights and rights of others across the globe.

The report is "nonobjective, politicized and in many ways confrontational," the statement said, claiming that it aims to lead a reader to "draw specific negative conclusions" about Russia and contains "skewed perceptions of the real situation, outdated information, intentional vagueness and citations of biased sources."

The statement did not mention any specific information in the State Department report, which was released last week.

The U.S. report says that Russia's human rights record deteriorated over the last year as President Vladimir Putin's government centralized power, restricted free speech and killed and abused civilians in and around Chechnya.

The Russian government tends to criticize the State Department report every year, reflecting irritation about what is widely seen as U.S. meddling in its affairs -- a sense of resentment produced in part by the large volume of advice given by the United States to a struggling Russia in the years after the 1991 Soviet collapse.

The ministry statement said Russia had complained to the State Department in the past over "the politicized evaluation of the human rights situation in Russia, which has been repeated year after year," but that "it seems a persistent practice of not taking that into account has developed in Washington."

Oil-fueled economic growth has made Russia more assertive on the international stage, while global anger over the war in Iraq and other U.S. moves during U.S. President George W. Bush's administration have emboldened Moscow to sharpen its criticism of the United States.

Amid U.S. criticism of Russia over human rights, the progress of democracy and energy policy under Putin, ties between the two countries have been further strained in recent weeks by U.S. plans to place missile defense facilities in former Soviet satellite states in Europe.

In some of his boldest criticism of U.S. policy, Putin told a security conference in Germany last month that the United States "has overstepped its national borders in every way," and accused it of fomenting a global arms race.

The ministry said Russia had expected the report to be prejudiced.

"Washington has long practiced double standards in the sphere of human rights, depending on whether one state or another acts in accordance with [U.S.] political interests," the statement said.

"These standards are particularly clearly visible against the background of what is happening now in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the military base in Guantanamo with the participation of the U.S. armed forces," the statement said.

At home, the statement said, "the United States, under various pretexts, limits democratic freedoms, interferes in the personal lives of its own people, effectively carries out censorship of the media and sends minors to the electric chair."

Russia is ready for dialogue with all nations about human rights, but "we are convinced that politicizing the human rights issue will lead not to the solution of existing problems, but to the devaluation of the principles and aims of international cooperation in this area."

It said the U.S. report was based partially on "tendentiously conveyed" information from a reports by Russia's human rights ombudsman, saying: "By the way, unlike in Russia, in the United States such official reports -- on the human rights situation in its own country -- are not produced."