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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 27, 2000


In a telephone conversation earlier today, I congratulated President-elect Vladimir Putin on his victory in the Russian presidential elections.

Sunday's vote was an important milestone in the development of a democratic Russia. The people of Russia demonstrated again their intense commitment to democracy. Roughly 70% of eligible Russians voted.

In my conversation with President-elect Putin, I emphasized the importance to Russia and the world of strengthening the foundations of Russia's democracy and deepening its international integration. President-elect Putin has an opportunity to translate his electoral mandate into concrete steps to advance economic reform, to strengthen the rule of law, to intensify the fight against crime and corruption, and to join with us on a broad common agenda of international security including arms control, nonproliferation and regional peace and stability.

Finally, I emphasized my concerns about the war in Chechnya. I stressed to President-elect Putin the importance of launching impartial and transparent investigations of reported human rights violations and providing prompt and full access for international organizations and the press.