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The European Parliament adopts a moderately critical resolution on the presidential elections in Russia

March 16, 2012, 12:11 UTC+3
The European Parliament did not find the Russian presidential elections either free or fair
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MOSCOW, March 16 (Itar-Tass) — At a plenary session in Strasbourg on Thursday the European Parliament adopted a resolution that points to flaws and violations, which were committed during the run-up and holding of the Russian presidential elections on March 4. The resolution could have been harsher, experts believe.

The resolution noted that the election process in Russia was not free and fair, the Vedomosti writes. The resolution included the statement of the OSCE observer mission that one candidate was put in a quite more favourable position than others. The European deputies voiced concerns over the development of the human rights situation, election rules and procedures.

The resolution could have been tougher, but this should not be forgotten that the demands to check Russia for the observance of the commitments for the membership in the Council of Europe was contained in the previous resolution, the newspaper cited a deputy of the ALDE faction from Estonia Christina Ojuland commenting on no ultimatum wordings in the resolution. It is important that the document contains an appeal to President Dmitry Medvedev to pass from words to deeds in political reforms, Ojuland went on to say. The European deputies urged President Elect Vladimir Putin to smooth out criticising talks with the opposition, urged the parliamentary parties in the State Duma to launch the dialogue about the future of the country with the protesters and the opposition, and urged the opposition to consolidate over the political reforms and give to Russia a worthy alternative.

Deputy Chairman of the Central Elections Commission Stanislav Vavilov named the assessment given to the elections biased and unfair. The PARNAS co-chairman Mikhail Kasyanov called the resolution as satisfactory. Secretary of the United Russia General Council presidium Sergei Neverov accused him of political bias.

The European Parliament did not find the Russian presidential elections “either free or fair,” the Kommersant daily notes. Relevant amendments were made at the last moment of time in the resolution approved on Thursday. However, the document did not include proposals over sanctions against Moscow. European experts noted that Russia is turning for the European Union “in second China, with which it is possible to run business, but from which it is useless to seek democratic reforms.”

First deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Andrei Klimov told the Kommersant that “for a group of deputies in the European Parliament Russia is always bad, no matter what the country does.” “What if they deal with the Americans, who kill innocent people in Afghanistan? To pay attention to the violations of human rights in the Baltic states?! No, they want to do something bad for Russia. That is to say just out of anger,” he said with indignation.

Russia found some supporters in Strasbourg. “The Russians are not children, they should not be taught a lesson,” an independent deputy from Austria Ewald Stadler said. “Russian citizens have made their choice, voting for stability. They do not want to get back to the nineties, and we should respect their choice,” he said.

Russian oppositionists remained satisfied with the resolution. “Our voice was heard,” the co-chairman of the People’s Freedom Party (PARNAS) Mikhail Kasyanov said during his visit to Strasbourg together with the leader of the United Civil Front Garry Kasparov. “It is important for Russia citizens that European politicians cease to turn a blind eye on arbitrariness in Russia and demand from the authorities to respect the Russian Constitution and international commitments,” he said.

The resolution showed that the alignment on the Russian political scene is taken adequately in Brussels and Strasbourg, the Izvestia daily believes. Without any special excitement over Vladimir Putin’s victory in the presidential elections, the European Parliament recognized the election results all the same. The Russian non-system opposition, which claimed even for the role of an alternative centre of power last winter, obviously disappointed European deputies, deserving only one remark in the resolution and in not quite complementary context, the newspaper notes.

From ten amendments, which were introduced in the final text of the resolution during a parliamentary session, only one amendment is essential, a representative of the European Parliament Seitu Helen told the Izvestia. The amendment contains an appeal to the Russian opposition to protect political reforms and make it possible to become a real alternative for Russian citizens, Helen said.

The resolution is obviously much smoother than the similar document, which the European Parliament adopted after the parliamentary elections in Russia last December, the newspaper believes. Then European lawmakers appealed to hold a election rerun in the State Duma, and before this register all political parties, who were denied registration. It is obvious that for the last few months Brussels and Strasbourg realized that a colour revolution is not expected in Russia soon and they should establish relations with the new president and parliament of Russia, the newspaper concluded.

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