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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement


flag  bar Press Statement by Philip T. Reeker
July 27, 2000

U.S. Welcomes Decision To Drop Criminal Charges
Against Chairman of Media Most

The United States welcomes today's decision to drop criminal charges against Vladimir Gusinskiy. Gusinskiy is chairman of Media MOST, the owner of Russia's only nationwide independent television network, as well as news publications, and a radio station. We also welcome the lifting of a travel ban imposed on Gusinskiy since his arrest and release personal property seized last week.

We have followed this case closely since Gusinskiy was arrested on June 13 and have repeatedly raised concerns about the circumstances surrounding it. Reporting by Media MOST outlets has been critical of the Russian Government's handling of the conflict in Chechnya and other issues. Charges against Gusinskiy appeared to be a manipulation of the legal system to harass and intimidate government critics.

The apparent resolution of these charges sends a welcome signal regarding respect for freedom of the press, rule of law, and due process in Russia. The United States will continue to work hard on behalf of democratic principles, human rights, and media freedom in Russia.

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