Rice: Russia's future linked to democracy
Rice: Russia's power grip 'worrying'
Rice continues criticism of Russia
MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke with CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty shortly before Washington's top diplomat was to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Here is a transcript of the interview:
DOUGHERTY: Thanks very much for speaking with CNN, Madame Secretary. I'd like to begin with President Putin. You'll be meeting with him in a few hours. At the beginning of the relationship with President Bush, President Bush said this is a man you can trust. Now, what happened? Did he mislead President Bush or did President Bush misread him?
RICE: Our goal has been to seek to persuade him that a strong and vibrant and vital Russia in the 21st century cannot be founded on a state that is so centralized, that does not permit alternative voices in the media, because Russia's greatness is really in its people. This is a place that should be leading in terms of creativity, in terms of economic development, and it can only do so if its people are freed to take advantage of their talents. And so when we have these discussions, they are not in an accusatory way, they're not through a sense of criticism, but rather to try and talk about why democratic progress is so linked to Russia's future development as well as to the development of U.S.-Russian relations.
DOUGHERTY: President Bush has made the spread of freedom and democracy the central core of his foreign policy, and already we have seen three revolutions in this part of the world -- Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. Is the United States prepared to support revolutions in other parts of the former Soviet Union, specifically in Belarus, or maybe even here in Russia?
RICE: I would hope that, particularly in Belarus, which is really the last remaining true dictatorship in the heart of Europe, that you would begin to see some democratic development. There are organizations there and civil society groups that are crying out for the rest of the world to acknowledge them and to give them a place to make a home so that they can go back and do something for the people of Belarus.
DOUGHERTY: But couldn't that be interpreted by some as fomenting revolution?
RICE: I don't think fomenting revolution is -- first of all, if it brings about democratic progress, why is it a bad thing for people to throw off the yoke of tyranny and decide that they want to control their own futures.
DOUGHERTY: The dismantlement of Yukos Oil Company and the trial of (Mikhail) Khdorokovsky, which has already wrapped up and now the sentencing will be literally in a week -- overall, what kind of effect has that process had on investment climate in Russia, and also on relations between the two countries?
RICE: Everyone is watching very closely for confirmation in the next week that this is a process that has, indeed, been carried out through rule of law. And I would hope that Russia recognizes that this is something that people are watching very carefully and it is going to have a tremendous impact on how both the investment climate and Russia's political future are viewed in the international community.
DOUGHERTY: Why is it that other countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union seem to have such fear, apprehension, concern about Russia's behavior in this part of the world?
RICE: For Russia, the future is in developing transparent, neighborly, friendly relations with these states that are based on a kind of 21st century premise, not a 19th century premise, and the 21st century premise is that no one controls anyone, that client states belong to another era. What you're talking about now is developing close economic ties -- and these states will have close economic ties with Russia -- but economic ties that are mutually beneficial and that do not try to use economic leverage to elicit certain kinds of behavior.