Kremlin deputy spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Cheney's remarks at a conference in Vilnius were a highly "subjective" view of the processes now are going on in Russia.
Cheney told a gathering of leaders from the Baltic and Black Sea regions that Russian "opponents of reform are seeking to reverse the gains of the last decade," and accused the Russian government itself of "unfairly and improperly" restricting civil society, the media, and political parties.
Cheney said the Russian government's actions have already been "counterproductive" and warned they "could begin to affect relations with other countries."
He also said Russia should stop using its vast energy supplies to bully its neighbors.
The U.S. vice president added, however, that Washington does not believe "Russia is fated to become an enemy."
The meeting in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, entitled "Common Vision For A Common Neighborhood," brings together some of the EU's and NATO's newest members and their neighbors.
Russia And The West
COOPERATION, CONFLICT, CONFRONTATION: Relations between Russia and the West are notoriously volatile. "To see the kind of relationship that presidents Bush and Putin have developed and to see Russia firmly anchored in the West, that's really a dream of 300 years, not just of the post-Cold War era," then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said in May 2002.
But observers have increasingly called into question the extent of the shared values between Russia and the West, particularly on issues relating to the transformations going on in other former Soviet countries.
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