'The West has no moral right to criticize Russia for the way it held its parliamentary elections and the use of government resources to promote United Russia party,' Alexander Tsipko, head scientist at the Institute for Economic and Political Research, has said. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, he made this announcement today at a round-table meeting titled Russia after the Elections. In his opinion, 'the government spent ten times more on the 1996 presidential election campaign than it spent on the recent parliamentary elections. That time the West supported the re-election of Yeltsin and they thought that liberalism would conquer Russia by democratic means,' Mr Tsipko said.
'Putin is clever in that, unlike the first Russian president, he does not try to propagate liberal values in society and in fact does the opposite by creating a party that corresponds to the general mood of society,' he said.