The arrest of enigmatic Wikileaks founder Julian Assange indicates a problem with democracy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
"If they have full democracy, why have they hidden Mister Assange away in prison? Is that what democracy is?" the premier said at a briefing with his French counterpart Francois Fillon.
"In Russian villages they say 'some people's cows can moo, but yours should keep quiet.' So I would like to shoot the puck back at our American colleagues," Putin added.
Assange was arrested in London on December 7. His extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted on sex assault charges, is pending.
World leaders and diplomats have downplayed the impact of the leak of more than 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables by the Wikileaks site, but many have questioned the benefit of the project, alleging that some of the leaks could "threaten lives."
The 39-year-old Australian currently tops an online poll for Time Person of the Year. The choice will be made by the editors of the magazine next Wednesday.
On Wednesday, a source in the Kremlin told RIA Novosti Assange should be nominated for a Nobel Prize.
MOSCOW, December 9 (RIA Novosti)