Russian envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko has refuted claims by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Russia was aiming to "re-Sovietize" Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
"Sovietization is a cliché which, in my opinion, is absolutely incongruous with the actual processes that are taking place throughout the former USSR," Grushko said during a teleconference broadcast by RIA Novosti.
His comments came a day after Clinton, during a visit to Dublin to participate in a conference with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), warned about what she said was the danger of growing repression among the governments of the former Soviet Union.
Clinton also slammed the Moscow-led Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, apparently castigating it as a front for reviving the Soviet Union.
"Let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it," she said.
Grushko rejected Clinton's claim, insisting Russia's partnership with its neighbours was purely pragmatic.
"Russia takes the position that every government is interested in using all possible resources to cooperate with its neighbours," he said.
Moscow has sought to pull together many of the former Soviet republics into what President Vladimir Putin has christened the "Eurasian Union", a political and economic union between Russia, Belarus and several Central Asian countries.