Russian FM dismisses Cheney's criticism of Kremlin

Russia's foreign minister on Saturday rejected US Vice President Dick Cheney's criticism of the Kremlin, saying it won't derail Russia's cooperation with the West. Sergey Lavrov said in a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry's Web site that Cheney's criticism that the Kremlin was backtracking on democracy and using energy to blackmail its ex-Soviet neighbors was unfounded. "I thought that a person who holds such a state job has the entire amount of objective information, but apparently his aides or advisers had let him down," Lavrov said. Lavrov dismissed Cheney's criticism of the Kremlin for cracking down on religious and political rights, saying that the government was working to consolidate the nation after the post-Soviet economic and political chaos. He also shrugged off Cheney's suggestion that Russia uses its energy reserves as "tools of intimidation or blackmail," indicating Cheney didn't know what he was talking about. He added that the criticism won't undermine Russia's intention to cooperate with the United States in solving global crises.