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Russian human rights activist shares U.S. Department of State criticism

MOSCOW. Feb 26 (Interfax) - Oleg Orlov of Russia's Memorial human rights center shares criticism of the U.S. Department of State regarding violations of human rights in the North Caucasus.

The U.S. Department of State presented an annual report on human rights in the world on Wednesday. In the section concerning Russia, special significance was attached to violations of human rights in the North Caucasus, i.e. Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan. The document cites examples of abductions, torture, and abuse of power by local law enforcement.

"I absolutely agree with the Department of State's attention to the situation in the North Caucasus. Moreover, the authors have probably used our documents on this account. I would mention the same if I had to mention the most sensitive things related to the North Caucasus," Orlov told Interfax on Thursday.

Memorial, the leading Russian NGO monitoring human rights in the North Caucasus, is aware of the previous Department of State reports on human rights and intends to examine the latest, Orlov said. "The previous report cited virtually the same violations. The situation has changed little over the previous years," he said.

Orlov doubted that the Russian authorities would react to the report. "I don't think there would be a quick and really efficient response by the Russian authorities to this particular U.S. Department of State report. However, this document is likely to serve as an element of general pressure," he said.