Less than 48 hours after Alexey Navalny was excluded from running in Russia’s March 18 presidential elections, the contest has already become the occasion for a confrontation between Washington and Moscow.
Noel Clay, an official at the State Department, commented on the decision taken by the Russian Central Electoral Commission on Monday. “We continue to express concern with the current application of strict measures by the Russian government against independent voices—from journalists and civil society activists and opposition politicians. Such actions indicate that the Russian government failed to protect the space in Russia for the realization of human rights and implementation of fundamental freedoms,” the American diplomat said.
The interest taken by the U.S. in the status of human rights in Russia is more than a little suspect, as confirmed by the fact that the White House has found no time to defend the union rights of Russian truck drivers, who have been on strike for months. Just before Christmas, two of their leaders were arrested in Moscow, allegedly for tax fraud.