Barack Obama has called on Russia to help forge a new global partnership to overcome Cold War mistrust.
In a wide ranging keynote speech to Moscow’s New Economic School, the US President also said that freedom of speech and assembly are among universal rights that must be protected and encouraged.
“Freedom of speech and assembly has allowed women, minorities, and workers to protest for full and equal rights at a time when we were denied the rule of law and equal administration of justice has busted monopolies, shut down political machines, and ended abuses of power,” he said.
“If our democracy did not advance those rights, than I, as a person of African ancestry, wouldn’t be able to address you as an American citizen, much less a President,” he added.
Obama was careful not to criticise the Kremlin directly but his comments are likely to be welcomed by Russia’s pro-Western opposition