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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Ignored Russia, U.S. Senator Says

WASHINGTON -- In the most worrisome world development in recent years, Russia has done an about-face on democracy while the United States looked the other way, the U.S. Senate's most influential voice on foreign policy said.

Senator Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential hopeful and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said "The most worrisome development of the last five or six years, is the about-face in democracy in Russia.

"Because of the need to keep Russia silent on the blunders of Iraq and our actions, [the administration of President George W. Bush] essentially turned the other way on what was ... the authoritarian bent of [President Vladimir] Putin," he said in an interview.

The United States has been unable to lead Europe in a coherent response to "some of the most egregious actions of Russia," Biden said. These included Russia's "direct attempt" to undermine Ukraine's Orange Revolution and democratization movements at home, he said. Putin's leverage was that he was "swimming in oil."