MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS/. Russia will not invite observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to monitor the nationwide voting on amendments to the Russian Constitution, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said on Tuesday.
"We don’t expect any international scrutiny of the upcoming constitutional referendum. The Central Election Commission is not planning to invite the ODIHR and other institutions," he told a news conference in the Moscow-Vienna video linkup format. "It is beyond the mandate of the institutions, which specialize in electoral monitoring. It will not be a general election."
According to the Russian envoy, the issue of amendments to the Russian Constitution is not addressed within the OSCE. "Luckily, this topic is not tackled in our organization, unlike the Council of Europe and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, as well as the Venice Commission. It is a purely domestic affair. We are able to decide how to live further, how to rearrange our society by ourselves, without external tips," he stressed.
A bill on constitutional amendments submitted by President Vladimir Putin to the Russian State Duma lower parliament house envisages nationwide voting on these amendments. The voting has been scheduled for April 22.
The bill, in particular, stipulates expanding the powers of the legislature and the Constitutional Court, a ban on high-ranking officials from holding residence permits in other countries, ensuring the supremacy of Russia’s Constitution over international agreements and strengthening the state’s social obligations.