Van der Linden made the comments today during a visit to the Russian city of Cheboksary.
Russia has frequently called attention to the Estonian and Latvian governments' treatment of their Russian minorities, where they make up some 25 and 30 percent of the population, respectively.
A THREAT TO CIVIL, RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES: Several leading experts told a briefing hosted by RFE/RL and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that several mounting trends in Russia are posing a growing threat to human rights, especially for members of the country's ethnic and religious minorities.
LISTENListen to the entire briefing (about 90 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media