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Putin Defends Russia's Record On Democracy

Putin (right) speaking with Bush in St. Petersburg on July 14 (epa) July 15, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today said Russia would not want to have a democracy "as in Iraq."

He made the comment in response to a reporter's question at a joint news conference with U.S. President George W. Bush in St. Petersburg today.

"To tell you frankly, we, of course, wouldn't like to have such a democracy as in Iraq," Putin said.

Russia has been accused by Western, including U.S., officials of backtracking on democratic reforms.

Moments earlier, Bush had spoken of his desire to promote democracy in the world, and used as an example freedom of the press and religion in Iraq.

Russia, which vehemently opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, has consistently criticized U.S. actions there.


G8 Summit: St. Petersburg, July 15-17

G8 Summit: St. Petersburg, July 15-17

A worker hangs G8 banners outside the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg (epa)

SITTING DOWN AT THE TABLE: On July 15-17, Russia hosts the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialized countries in its northern capital, St. Petersburg. The event is a landmark in Russia's reemergence on the international stage after more than a decade of painful transition. In many ways, Russian President Vladimir Putin will be the strongest and most confident of the leaders at the meeting, despite international concerns about the state of Russia's democratic development. Below are links to some of RFE/RL's reporting on the run-up to this major international event.

Confident Kremlin Prepares To Preside Over G8 Summit

G8 Foreign Ministers Meet To Map Out Summit Agenda

Opposition, NGOs Gather Ahead Of G8 Summit

Barroso Calls On G8 To Agree Global Energy Principles

G8 Presidency Spurs 'Exceptional' PR Response

MORE: Follow the coverage of the G8 summit in St. Petersburg in Russian on the website of RFE/RL's Russian Service. An archive of RFE/RL's coverage of Russia in English.

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