Rice says Russia fails G-8 democracy test

Secretary of State &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/88/354/16721_condoleezza.html' target=_blank>Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday Russia's drift away from democracy is inconsistent with its duties as president of the Group of Eight industrialized Nations.

Rice offered the criticism during an appearance at Georgetown University even as she is attempting to enlist Russian support for strong action against Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"I think its very important that Russia understand that certain responsibilities and certain expectations and certain obligations come with being the chair of an organization that is avowedly of industrialized democracies," she said in response to a question.

Russia assumed the rotating chairmanship of the &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/18/88/354/16701_Russia.html' target=_blank>G-8 on Jan. 1 and will host a summit of the group in St. Petersburg later this year.

The Kremlin's authoritarian streak has strained relations with the West and prompted some members of the U.S. Congress to call for Russia's suspension from the group.