VILNIUS - Lithuanian MP Vytautas Landsbergis, responding to U.S. Secretary of State Collin Powell's recent trip to Moscow where he criticized the Kremlin, said that the United States has finally "woken up" in regards to relations with Russia and has become critical of the processes taking place in the country.
"For almost a few years, Americans had allowed to be cheated and had deceived themselves by an allegedly honest partnership," said Landsbergis, Lithuania's first post-Soviet president and currently a member of the oppositional Homeland Union faction.
"Powell's new thoughts expressed in Moscow show the disappointment in Russia and its recent development tendencies. Moreover, conclusions by other American politicians and political observers show that the great Western state is waking up from big illusions," Landsbergis, a die-hard critic of the Russian policy, said.
"Russia is not a democracy. There is no primacy of law over the authorities, no free elections without manipulation. The political opposition will soon be swept away. The upper parliamentary chamber appointed by the president and the [virtually] single-party lower chamber are much the same as in the case of Belarus," he said.
Powell entered his talks by publishing a biting opinion piece in a top Russian daily criticizing Russia's record on democracy and press freedoms. His comments in the Izvestia daily were some of the most critical delivered by Washington since it became partners with Moscow in the "war on terror" following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. targets.
Certain developments in Russian politics and foreign policy in recent months have given us pause," Powell wrote. "Russia's democratic system seems not yet to have found the essential balance among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government... Political power is not yet fully tethered to the law," he said in apparent reference to December parliamentary elections in which pro-Putin factions won a monopoly on power that allows them to see through constitutional changes.