Lieberman Putin 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn)
The recent Russian elections do reflect the political reality in that country,
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday, backing up controversial
statements he made last week in Moscow saying the elections were
“The results reflect the mood of the country,” Lieberman said
at a press conference, adding that he is not saying there were not local
problems in certain individual polling places, but that there are “problems in
elections” everywhere, including in Israel and the US.
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Tens of thousands
of Russians have taken to the streets to protest last week’s parliamentary
elections won by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s party, and US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton has said the elections were rigged.
met with Putin last week in Moscow just after the elections, said he was worried
about the alternatives to Putin, namely the communists.
Part of those
taking part in the demonstrations against Putin “are not our friends,” he
Russia, Lieberman said, did not exactly have the democratic
traditions of “Switzerland or England,” but has made great strides toward
democracy. As evidence, he said Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are
regularly criticized, and that permits are given for protests. Lieberman said
that polls, including those taken by foreign embassies in Moscow before the
election, showed similar results to those that came from the actual
The foreign minister said there were major differences between
Israel and Russia over key issues, such as how to deal with Syria, how to deal
with Iran and Moscow’s support for Palestinian unilateralism at the UN, but that
it was possible to have a dialogue with the Russians about these
He said Russia’s Mideast policy was guided more by its
relationship with the US than by anything else.
Turning to Syria,
Lieberman said that it was “only a matter of time” before Syrian President
Bashar Assad was brought down, and that Israel was worried about would come
On other issues, the foreign minister termed as legitimate the
“muezzin bill,” proposed by his party colleague Anastasia Michaeli (Israel
Beiteinu), which would reduce the volume of the Muslim call to prayer. He said
that there were precedents for this type of legislation in the western world,
such as the Swiss ordinance against mosque minarets and the French law outlawing