MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. There are attempts to adopt the draft law that bans Russian representatives from participating in international observer missions at Ukrainian presidential and parliamentary elections in order to preserve incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko’s power, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told journalists on Tuesday.
"There are obvious attempts to adopt the anti-democratic draft law that violates the basic rights and freedoms of citizens in order to preserve incumbent Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s power," the speaker said. "He has no chances to be re-elected in a competitive, open and legitimate election campaign," he stressed. "He is trying to do everything to preserve his personal power, fearing failure."
"For this purpose he [Poroshenko] needs a discriminatory norm which would make it possible to avoid the objective evaluation of the election campaign and make the election vague," Volodin said. "This should never come to pass," he affirmed.
The Russian speaker noted that this initiative "violates the principles of democracy and runs counter to the principles and framework of the OSCE’s activity." He warned that the restriction of the circle of observers at the election is inadmissible. "The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has to intervene in this situation and do all that is possible to protect democracy and the basic rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian citizens," Volodin said.
"Such decisions establish a precedent and endanger the existence of the institute of international observers itself. We should do everything to avoid it," the State Duma speaker concluded.
The draft law was registered in Verkhovna Rada on Monday. According to the document, "a person who is a citizen or a subject of a state that Verkhovna Rada regards as an aggressor or an occupant," as well as "a person suggested (as an observer - TASS) by a state that Verkhovna Rada regards as an aggressor or occupant" cannot be an observer. "In case of approval the law will come into force the next day after the official publication, and the country’s cabinet of ministers and the Central Election Commission will have a week to make other normative acts compliant with the specified law.
Ukraine rejects Russian observers
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin stated in mid-January 2019 that Kiev will not allow Russians as observers at the presidential election. He also sent a letter to Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir in this regard. The bureau said in response that it intends to act in correspondence with the established norms and principles that are enshrined in the OSCE documents and were proved out in the practice of electoral monitoring.
Russia earlier stated that it is ready to send its observers and expects the Ukrainian authorities to allow Russian observers to the presidential election as members of the OSCE mission. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin reported that Moscow is developing monitoring teams and expects the Ukrainian administration to use a civilized and modern approach and correspond in this regard to the norms established by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). He said that Russia addressed the corresponding international organizations for clarification and expects these organizations to somehow imprint on Ukrainians to take a wholesome stance. The Russian Central Election Commission reported, for its part, that it sent a list of experts who can monitor the Ukrainian presidential election within the OSCE mission to the Russian Foreign Ministry. The presidential election in Ukraine will be held on March 31.