Russian foreign minister warns against Western interference in ex-Soviet republics

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned again Wednesday against outside interference in the political affairs of former Soviet nations, amid wary Russian reaction to the political upheaval in Kyrgyzstan.

Russia has vocally criticized Western countries and structures - including the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe - for what it says is meddling in the internal affairs of former Soviet countries. Last fall, the United States and Russia publicly exchanged accusations of interfering in Ukraine's so-called Orange Revolution.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow after meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Lavrov said Russia was interested in maintaining stability in former Soviet nations.

"We believe that attempts to intervene into the processes of their development are counterproductive," he said.

Kyrgyzstan last week became the third ex-Soviet republic to be swept by revolution after mass opposition protests in the wake of disputed elections that were criticized by the OSCE, Europe's top security organization, as flawed.

"Those who were trying to create problems inside Kyrgyzstan, destabilize the situation there, were referring to this OSCE assessment," Lavrov said. "I am sure that the organization itself didn't want that, and we are not accusing it of that. We are just saying that it is necessary to treat election assessments in a very responsible way."

The OSCE issued a similar judgment over elections in Georgia and Ukraine.

Associated Press

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