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MOSCOW, September 19. /TASS/.The OSCE’s claims about unequal allocation of airtime between candidates during the election campaign in Russia does not reflect reality, Russia’s Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador at-large Andrei Nesterenko told TASS on Monday.
"At the request of international observers, we organized their meeting with the leadership of the state-owned All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK). They asked a lot of questions about how the media were covering the processes taking place ahead of the elections," Nesterenko said. "They were given detailed explanations on the broadcasting company’s work and the operations of the Russian media on the whole, based on our legislation. In particular, they were informed that all the TV channels would provide equal airtime to all the political parties that will nominate their candidates for the elections, so that they can present their political views. It happened as it had been expected."
"Today I was surprised to hear that there were some irregularities, that the campaign on the coverage of the competing political parties’ positions was poorly organized," the diplomat said. "I believe that is untrue and unfair."
Nesterenko admitted that he was upset at one of the OSCE's special coordinator for the elections Ilkka Kanerva’s statements, "that was absolutely abstract." "I haven’t heard anything positive, only negativity. This just can’t be," he said.
Today the head of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) observer mission Jan Petersen, the OSCE's special coordinator for the elections Ilkka Kanerva and the head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly observer mission Marietta Tidei have jointly made a statement on the initial results of the monitoring of the elections.
They indicated the growing transparency of the voting process and an improvement in the country’s electoral legislation. However, they stated that according to their data the airtime was allocated unequally during the campaign, some restrictions by the media took place and the administrative resources were used.