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MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. Russia thinks it inadmissible to use a menacing tone in respect of Russian diplomats in the United States as it needs no counseling about election monitoring, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS on Tuesday.
"There were situations when our diplomats were approached with additional warnings in the style ‘don’t even dare to show up at polling stations,’ as though a note is not enough for us," he said. "But we never planned to do that after such a note. We need no reminders, let alone the ones done in a menacing manner."
On Monday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook account that FBI had exerted direct pressure on Russian diplomats to bar them from approaching polling stations at the presidential elections in the United States on November 8. Moreover, in her words, the US State Department has recommended Russian representatives not to approach polling stations and the authorities in a number of states have come even further and warned of criminal prosecution.
Russia decided not to take part in the mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) at the US election, because Russian representatives’ opinion is often not taken into consideration in its reports, Ryabkov said.
"The situation evolved as follows. Unlike the previous election cycles, this time the US administration actually refused at an early stage to give us an opportunity to organize election monitoring through our diplomatic missions in the US - the embassy and consulates general, which had always been a common practice," he said.
According to Ryabkov, this refusal implied sending "a corresponding diplomatic note saying that the only opportunity to take part in the monitoring process is to join the OSCE mission that was being formed."
"We decided not to join the OSCE mission for several reasons," he explained. "The first reason is that practice shows that the missions sent by the OSCE ODIHR, as a rule, do not take Russian observers’ opinion into consideration in their final reports."
Ryabkov added that "Americans let the OSCE ODIHR mission visit far from all polling stations."
"We have sent a note to the Americans, warning them that considering the signals we’re receiving from the US authorities, American diplomats should not count in the future that they will get a possibility to take part in the observation of the elections during next electoral cycles in Russia as was done until now," the diplomat said.
"The situation developed in the following way: as compared with the past electoral cycles, this time the US administration has actually denied us a possibility already at the early stage to organize the observation of the elections by our overseas missions in the United States - the embassy and the general consulates - which was always usual practice," the deputy foreign minister said.
The high-placed Russian diplomat stressed that the note had been dispatched back on October 26, i.e. "before this entire story got into the public space," adding that the first note had been sent by the US side.
"We replied also with a note to it on October 26," he said. "An exchange of notes took place," he said.
As was reported earlier, Russia’s embassy in Washington sent information to the US State Department in October on the plans for Russian diplomats to observe the elections in the United States in November.
However, in response, the embassy received a note that all the Russian overseas missions in the United States were required to turn to the mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on this issue.