The March 14 presidential elections in Russia were well organized on the whole, and demonstrated strong support for the current president. However, certain aspects did not conform with the norms of a genuine democracy, according to a preliminary report by an international commission acting under the aegis of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
In the opinion of the group's organizers, the elections cannot be considered a fundamental test of Russia's democratic system. 'The incumbent president refused to conduct a traditional electoral campaign, while the government-controlled media supported him exclusively,' the report said. Observers recommended that Russia strive to emphasize the transformation of the controlled media into an independent one.
The international observer group consisted of monitors from 39 countries.
According to Russian officials, the detainees are employees of the private security company who were on their way to Latin America via Minsk and Istanbul. Lukashenko calls Russian officials liars