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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.