U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is returning to Washington
after telling an audience in Russia that attacks on journalists and
human rights defenders there threaten progress toward democracy.
Clinton spoke Wednesday to university students in Moscow on the last
day of a European tour. She said people should be free to take
unpopular positions and, in her words, "challenge abuses of authority."
Earlier, she told Ekho Moskvy radio that she raised the issue of the
killing of journalists at a meeting Tuesday with Russian President
Before leaving for Washington later in the day, Clinton stopped in
Russia's ethnically diverse republic of Tatarstan. She visited an
Orthodox cathedral and a Muslim mosque, and called Tatarstan a model of
Western governments continue to pressure Moscow on human rights since
the 2006 unsolved murder of journalist and Kremlin critic Anna
Moscow also has been criticized in the killings of several human rights
activists in Chechnya, including the kidnap-murder of noted activist
Natalya Estemirova earlier this year.
While Clinton was talking about political freedom Wednesday, a group of
opposition Russian lawmakers walked out of parliament to protest
alleged fraud in local elections this week. They are demanding a
recount of votes after members of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's
United Russia party won most of the races for mayors and local