Hundreds of people from foreign countries, including from the USA and Ukraine, will be observing the course of the parliamentary elections in Russia. Does Russia need to invite observers from the USA and Ukraine given a high decree of complications in the relations with these two countries?
According to the chairperson of the Central Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation, Ella Pamfilova, no less than 500 people are expected to arrive in Russia as part of the OSCE Mission Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Eighty of them will be so-called long-term observers, while 420 - short-term observers, who arrive just before the elections.
Noteworthy, first groups of foreign observers have already arrived in Russia. The head of the mission is former Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jan Petersen. He already announced that representatives of the mission would not travel to the Crimea.
The OSCE ODIHR mission constantly participates in the observation of elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation. Russia's relations with observers from this organization are not problem-free.
For example, following the results of their observation of the elections to the Russian parliament in 2011, representatives of the mission prepared a report, in which they gave a highly critical assessment of the election campaign. In response, Russian officials said that the members of the mission were biased in their approach to the elections.
However, Russia does not intend to refuse from the cooperation. The mission will continue working at this year's elections as well.
Several American independent observers have also confirmed their interest in observing the elections in Russia.
Ella Pamfilova also said that Ukrainian observers may take part in the mission of the OSCE ODIHR too. According to Interfax, two observers from Ukraine already take part in the long-term mission in Russia. Ukrainian observers will not be present in the mission of observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States. All other observers from the CIA have confirmed their intention, the head of the mission, Vladimir Garkun said.
"We anticipate that we will have 40 long-term observers, they are getting started already - there will be around 200 observers from the CIS," said Garkun.
"As for the participation of observers from other countries, I do not see any problems if they come and observe our elections. We would only like to wish them objectivity in their work. We do not have a goal to conceal or hide anything - neither the state, nor the organizers of the elections. The civil society is interested in communication, including with our colleagues from abroad, regardless of where they come from," member of the Presidential Council for Human Rights and the Development of Civil Society, Igor Borisov told Pravda.Ru.
"In this sense, I do not see anything wrong if representatives of the United States or Ukraine come to Russia to monitor elections. Moreover, it is objective reality that both the USA and Ukraine, as sovereign states, take part in our election process, and it is important for them to cooperate with us and build relations with Russia in the near future," said the expert.
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