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

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

update Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs