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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama criticize Russia’s presidential vote

Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama criticized the presidential election in Russia, which took place on March 2.

Hillary Clinton particularly said that the election marked a certain retreat from democracy.

According to Clinton, the recent election in Russia was a retreat from democracy. "Today's presidential election in Russia - where the installation of Dmitry Medvedev as Vladimir Putin\s self-designated successor was never in doubt - marks a milestone in that country's retreat from democracy," Clinton said.

Barack Obama set out his general disappointment with the presidential election in Russia too. He stated that the vote was not fully free and fair because of the absence of free media and crackdown on political parties and opposition.

“A state official should at least have brains” Putin once said about Hillary Clinton when she claimed that a former KGB officer could not have a soul.

In the meantime, international observers give mixed reactions to the Russian presidential election.

Andreas Gross, the head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, suggested that the West should not lecture Russians on the benefits of democracy but accept "what they show you as a certain kind of reality."

Nearly final results showed Kremlin favorite Dmitry Medvedev winning a resounding victory, with about 70 percent of the vote, according to the Central Election Commission.

Foreign observers were allowed to monitor the vote, though in far fewer numbers than in the past, and none from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - whose reports are considered the most authoritative in the West.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, or PACE, which sent a 22-member group, said that because opposition hopefuls could not get on the ballot and because of unequal access to the media, the "democratic potential, unfortunately, was not tapped."

Two of Medvedev's competitors threatened to challenge the results in court, though it was unlikely that they would follow through with their challenge, the AP reports.

While Medvedev was given extensive television news coverage throughout the campaign, his three rivals were shown only infrequently except during televised debates. Medvedev refused to take part in the debates, citing his busy schedule as first deputy prime minister.

The PACE delegation also criticized Russian officials for not fixing problems it said occurred during the December parliamentary vote.

Russian election commission chief Vladimir Churov said the criticism was not backed up by facts and ridiculed their suggestions of ensuring greater transparency.

"What else could we do? Should I strip election commission members naked?" Churov was quoted by Russian wire reports as saying.

AP photo

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