US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed skepticism on Sunday over the future of democracy in Russia.
"We are very concerned, particularly about some of the elements of democratization that seem to be going in the wrong direction," Rice said.
As examples of troubling behavior, she cited severe limits on nongovernmental organizations begun this year and Russia's use of energy as a weapon in a dispute with Ukraine this winter.
Rice added that, in spite of concerns about democracy in Russia, "This is not the Soviet Union. Let's not overstate the case."