Rice warns of democratic setback in Russia while praising Putin choice

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave qualified praise to Russian President Vladimir Putin's choice for a successor, but said in an interview released Wednesday that Russia is not giving political opposition a fair chance in elections. Rice also said the United States has asked Russia to be constructive in the Balkans despite its disagreement about whether Kosovo should be recognized as independent of Serbia. Rice said that she believes that Putin's longtime protégé Dmitry Medvedev, 42, is intelligent and represents a younger generation of Russians.