WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Sunday as the largest protests in Russia in five years resulted in the arrest of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators:
“I strongly condemn the arrest of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in Moscow and across Russia today. This crackdown is another indication that the space for civil society is rapidly closing inside Putin’s Russia. It is not surprising that the Russian government’s blatant corruption and culture of impunity have caused such a widespread and loud reaction from Russian citizens nationwide.
“The Russian people are the genesis and ultimate guarantors of genuine democratic change in their country. Accountable and responsive governance in Russia will be the result of their courageous efforts, not anyone else’s. But the Trump administration should not make their jobs harder. I urge the Trump administration to maintain the United States’ commitment to universally recognized human rights and the democratic principles as laid out in the Helsinki Final Act. Any future dialogue with the Russian government should not diminish the importance of these essential American values.”