I'm very troubled to see that Russia, the Kremlin, appears to use whatever means in order to stifle dissent, that Mr. Putin might make some flying statements about respect for civil liberties or democracy, but then you take a look at his actions and they're extremely troublesome.His attacks on the NGOs has all of us concerned. And I must tell you, I am very troubled as to whether Russia is complying with their commitments given under the Helsinki Accords.
I think this hearing is particularly appropriate. Russia is a very important player internationally on the issues that you mentioned. And we need to be able to do everything we can to work with Russia in order to advance these mutual interests. But it is our responsibility as the Helsinki Commission to make sure that they're adhering to the Helsinki commitments. And quite frankly, I have major reservations as to whether in fact they are doing that.
I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses.