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State Duma unlikely to send observers to Ukraine elections

September 08, 2014, 15:58 UTC+3 8 8/9

No freedom of speech existed in Ukraine, the legislator says

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MOSCOW, September 08./ITAR-TASS/. Russia's parliamentary lower house is unlikely to send observers to monitor the early parliamentary elections planned in Ukraine for October 26, a committee chief told reporters on Monday.

The elections will not be fully free and democratic, said Leonid Slutsky, head of the Committee for Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) affairs, Eurasian integration and ties with compatriots.

“And who will elect the Verhovna Rada [parliament] when they will not see themselves within Ukraine?” he asked, referring to the southeast of the country and noting that more than 800,000 Ukrainian voters were on Russian territory as refugees or displaced people.

Two parties registered in Ukraine - the Party of Regions and the Communist Party - were under unprecedented pressure, Slutsky said. Members in the former Rada were dispersed. Members of the parties were even killed. “What free and democratic elections may be under such conditions?” Slutsky asked.

No freedom of speech existed in Ukraine, the legislator said, referring to persecution against reporters whose view differed from that of official Kiev. Four Russian reporters had been killed in Ukraine.

“That is what can be said about ‘democratic’ elections which the West intends to monitor and give positive assessments in advance,” the politician added.

Sources in the Russian parliament’s lower house also told ITAR-TASS that the Duma and the CIS Executive Committee had received no invitations yet from the Ukrainian parliament to monitor the elections.

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