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Russian Human Rights Activists Respond To Freedom House View Of Democracy In Russia

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) - Moscow Helsinki Group leader Lyudmila Alekseyeva agreed with the conclusions of the non-governmental organization Freedom House that democracy in Russia needs improvement while Moscow Bureau for Human Rights (MBHR) director Alexander Brod says the report includes many stereotypes.

"I do not agree with the way the U.S. experts compare us with Central Asian countries. We are still a European country. Unfortunately, I have to agree with all critical arguments referring to our system of administration," Alekseyeva told Interfax on Tuesday while commenting on the Freedom House report.

MBHR director Alexander Brod shared a different view.

"Freedom House reports have been predictable for a long time, many people say they are politically biased and controversial. These observers probably have developed a system of assessments and stereotypes that they apply every year to a situation that is dynamically changing," Brod told Interfax.

"Of course, the human rights situation in Russia is far from perfect. There is corruption that is dealt with inefficiently. Citizens rights are violated. There are problems in the security sector. But it would be a mistake to perceive the situation as bleak. The situation in Russia is obviously changing and economic growth is leading to higher living standards," Brod said.

Freedom House published its annual report "Countries and Crossroads" in the United States. The report analyzes and compares data on the situation in "60 politically significant countries."

Freedom House political analysts say that the Russian concept of democracy hardly includes elements that lead to a democratic path to governing and is a model for hybrid regimes and autocracies on the periphery of the Russian Federation and found in former Soviet republics.

The report concludes that HIV/AIDS, a rapidly declining population and corruption are obstructing the work of the Russian state.