Rice to Russia: You're No USSR

Secretary talks tough, warning Moscow about using energy supplies for political leverage
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2007 3:15 PM CDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Moscow Kremlin on Monday, Oct. 22, 2007. On Monday Putin had a telephone conversation with U.S. President George Bush to discuss...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Condoleezza Rice said today Russia shouldn’t use its oil and gas reserves as a “political weapon,” and that the country should move away from authoritarianism and toward democracy. The secretary of state confirmed a “certain distance” between Russia and the US, Reuters reports, but the Soviet scholar said she isn’t concerned about a return of Cold War tensions.

Moscow recently threatened to cut supplies to several of neighbors; other signals show Vladimir Putin consolidating power. Rice focused on how Russia could strengthen ties with the West, urging new independence for the legislature, judiciary, and media. But even as she criticized, Rice was diplomatic, complimenting Moscow for its help on Iran and on newfound “strength” and “cohesion.”