Russia not a totalitarian country - human rights commissioner Lukin

Russian human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin has disagreed with assessments describing Russia's political system as totalitarian. "It is not right to say that our country is totalitarian. The fact that we are sitting here, speaking and I am answering your questions confirms that we have the press and freedom," Lukin told journalists on Thursday.

He, however, admitted that Russia's human rights record is not ideal. "The situation with human rights is not good anywhere. It is necessary to try to improve this situation. We still have scores of problems," he said.

Russia's institution of human rights commissioners should function at different levels, Lukin said. "There is a need for human rights commissioners in our country. Commissioners in different sectors should be selected by both the professional community and independent figures. In my opinion, their relevancy to society and authority are the main criteria in their work. They also ought to match the criteria adopted worldwide," he said.

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