Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the United States of “direct interference in our electoral process and internal affairs” on Tuesday, after the State Department criticized Russia's move to keep Vladimir Putin critic Alexey Navalny from running against him in the next presidential election.
“This State Department statement, which I’m sure will be repeated, is a direct interference in our electoral process and internal affairs,” Zakharova wrote Tuesday on Facebook.
“The funniest thing is that these are the same people who just tagged RT and Sputnik as foreign agents, who are harassing Russian media around the world and who are investing huge amounts of money into ‘countering Russian propaganda,’ which is how they label anyone who they disagree with,” she wrote.
The State Department's position included the following:
[A] State Department representative expressed concern over the Russian government’s “ongoing crackdown against independent voices, from journalists to civil society activists and opposition politicians.”
“These actions indicate the Russian government has failed to protect space in Russia for the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the statement said. “More broadly, we urge the government of Russia to hold genuine elections that are transparent, fair, and free and that guarantee the free expression of the will of the people, consistent with its international human rights obligations.”