News / Europe

Merkel Questions Russia’s Human Rights Record

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak to each other after a signing ceremony during a Russian-German business forum in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak to each other after a signing ceremony during a Russian-German business forum in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed criticism from German Chancellor Angela Merkel on his country's human rights record.  

Putin met with Merkel Friday at a Russian-German business forum in Moscow.  Last week, before Merkel traveled to Russia, Germany’s parliament passed a resolution that linked a crackdown on freedoms here to Putin’s unprecedented third term as president.  As a result, parliament asked Merkel to take a tough stance with Putin on Russia's human rights record.

Merkel followed parliament's advice and raised questions about the sentences given to two members of the all-female punk band, Pussy Riot, which had staged a performance in Moscow's most prominent Orthodox cathedral, calling on the Virgin Mary to deliver Russia from Putin. The two women in question were sent to penal colonies after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.   

Merkel said not every criticism should be understood as destructive. She said she is bothered by the fact that a number of laws have been adopted recently in Russia and that she cannot see them as promoting free groups.

Merkel added that being sent to a penal colony would have never happened in Germany.

Putin said Merkel does not have all the facts.

He said that concerning political and ideological issues, Russia listens to its partners, but they hear about what is going on from far away.  Putin went on to say that Chancellor Merkel brought up the Pussy Riot bandmembers who were imprisoned for their performance in a church, but asked if she knew that, before that, one of them hanged an effigy of a Jewish person and said 'Moscow ought to be rid of these people.'  He said Russia cannot support people who have an anti-Semitic position.

Putin was referring to a 2008 performance art demonstration in which dolls representing homosexuals, migrant workers and Jewish people were hanged from nooses.  Those connected with the exhibition say it was meant to show support for those groups.

Since Putin took office in May, non-governmental organizations that received foreign funding and participate in political activities are now required to register as foreign agents, a term that dates back to Soviet times.  Additionally, those who participate in and organize unsanctioned protests against the Kremlin face steep fines.

The Kremlin has consistently maintained that its laws are meant to protect the average Russian and dismisses criticism that Russia has a dismal human rights record.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dima
November 26, 2012 10:30 AM
A two-spot for a disorderly conduct and nothing to his corrupted chums. The great liar indeed

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
November 17, 2012 8:49 AM
It’s very regrettable that Mr Putin isn’t with the rest of the world; he turned his deaf ear to the remarkable woman like Ms Merkel of Germany, widely known for great patience and tolerance. All the “facts” that Mr Putin interposed to Ms Merkel are out of context of her remarks. In a famous Russian fable Vaska, the cat keeps eating stolen meat (basic human rights) while the cook tries to reason the cat. Ms Merkel has tried her best to prevent causes for the civil conflict/war in Russia. But “the stolen meat” continues to be devoured. The worse the better.

by: Lara
November 17, 2012 7:02 AM
Liar, the greatest liar ever!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More