The U.S. House Foreign Affairs committee has held a joint meeting with several members of the Russian parliament (Duma) to discuss democracy and human rights.
During the meeting, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos and other lawmakers raised questions about Russia's human rights record and restrictions on freedom of the press.
The Chairman of the Duma's International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, commented that Russia is sometimes sensitive to assessments from foreign partners. He also said that Russia is sometimes "puzzled and disappointed" by some U.S. statements.
Lantos noted that the two countries have common goals and objectives. He acknowledged that the United States has had problems with Russia since the departure of Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
Kosachev said Russia supports Thursday's hearing and that it is of great importance for U.S.-Russian relations. He also said most average Russians prefer living in today's Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, than under the late Mr. Yeltsin.
Also Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on a strategic assessment of U.S.-Russian relations.