Moscow criticized Washington on Friday for retaining a Cold War-era law on "captive nations" once designed to raise public awareness of the "imperialistic and aggressive policies of Russian communism."
"It has long been clear that provisions of this law do not correspond to modern reality," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website, adding that the document goes against the "positive trend" in the development of Russian-U.S. relations.
Public Law 86-90, signed into law in 1959 by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, states that "since 1918 the imperialistic and aggressive policies of Russian communism have resulted in the creation of a vast empire which poses a dire threat to the security of the United States and of all the free people of the world."
In line with the law, the third week of July has been declared Captive Nations Week in the United States by every U.S. president up to and including Barack Obama, who should issue his third such declaration next week.
Although Obama's two previous declarations did not single out any country, and the annual presidential statements marking the event have long referred to countries other than Russia as carrying out suppressive policies, the law itself remains "anti-Russian," the Russian statement said.
"Today, when our countries hold intensive and positive discussions on strategic stability, the settlement of regional conflicts and in the sphere of fighting terrorism and new challenges and threats, such a 'legal basis' sounds more and more dissonant," the document reads.
"Repeated looks backward at outdated ideological provisions and labels should have no place in our bilateral relations."