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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid