Russia Not Free

From ABC News:

MOSCOW Dec 20, 2004 — A U.S.-based organization that tracks the progress of political rights and civil liberties across the world said Monday that Russia had fallen to the status of “not free” far behind the democratic nations Moscow sees as its peers.

“Russia’s step backward into the ‘Not Free’ category is the culmination of a growing trend under President Vladimir Putin to concentrate political authority, harass and intimidate the media, and politicize the country’s law-enforcement system,” Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor said in a statement.

“These moves mark a dangerous and disturbing drift toward authoritarianism in Russia, made more worrisome by President Putin’s recent heavy-handed meddling in political developments in neighboring countries, such as Ukraine,” the statement said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment on the report.

What? They’re dissing on Bush’s best buddy “Pooty-Poot”? But Bush looked into his soul and saw a kindred spirit! How can this be?