State Department Spokesperson Comments on Searches of Russian Opposition Leaders' Homes
Ms. Nuland: Good morning, everybody – afternoon, everybody. Happy Monday. We have a very, very busy week here in the Department. The Secretary has a very large number of counterparts from around the world coming in, if you’ve seen the week ahead. So we will get right to it. I have two things at the top.
First is with regard to Russia. The United States is deeply concerned by the apparent harassment of Russian political opposition figures on the eve of the planned demonstrations on June 12th. This follows searches of opposition leader’s homes and several arrests in connection with the May 6th demonstration in Moscow, and also follows the passage of the new law in Russia that imposes disproportionate penalties for violations of rules concerning public demonstrations. Opposition leaders organizing the June 12thdemonstration are being called in for police questioning, which is scheduled to begin one hour prior to the demonstration, clearly designed to take them off the streets during the demonstration. And taken together, these measures raise serious questions about the arbitrary use of law enforcement to stifle free speech and free assembly.
Question: On that Russia statement that you started out with --
Ms. Nuland: Yeah.
Question: -- is there any other action that the United States is taking? Talking with ambassador, our – the U.S. ambassador, meeting with the foreign ministry, anything beyond that?
Ms. Nuland: Well, obviously we are discussing this with the Russian side both here and in Moscow. We have our Assistant Secretary Posner’s deputy, Tom Melia, will be in Moscow for talks on the broader cross-section of human rights issues after the Russian holiday. I think he’s there 13th, 14th, and he will obviously raise all of these issues as well.