Washington – President Barack Obama has signed a bill that will expand trade with Russia but could antagonize relations with Moscow over its treatment of dissidents.
While welcoming better trade relations, Russia has threatened retaliation over a section of the law that would punish Russian officials who allegedly commit human rights violations. A Russian official suggested sanctions could be imposed on U.S. officials accused of rights violations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, a main sponsor of the human rights measure, says it will help the Russian people by "sending a signal" to Russian President Vladimir Putin that human rights abuses will not be tolerated.
The law eliminates a 1974 law that tied trade relations with the former Soviet Union to the emigration of Jews and other minorities.