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CEC to create safe conditions for foreign observers at State Duma election, CEC head says

The 8th State Duma elections are scheduled for September 19. The voting will stretch over three days: September 17, 18, and 19

MOSCOW, August 20. /TASS/. Russia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) will create safe conditions for the missions of foreign observers at the State Duma election, they will be able to visit any Russian region, CEC chairwoman Ella Pamfilova said.

"We [at the State Duma election] will have very representative missions of foreign observers. We will create all the necessary safety-related conditions for them in order for them to be able to visit any region as they always have. Yet we really regret that the OSCE mission changed the format and approach to Russia for some reason," she told the Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio station on Friday.

According to her, the commission "would have also been happy to see the mission of observers of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)," yet earlier the organization had refused to observe the Russian elections. The CEC chairwoman added that the quota of 50 people proposed by the OSCE significantly surpasses the number of observers the organization has sent to "other countries during these two pandemic years." "This is a rather large number of people. However, it didn’t prevent them from making adequate conclusions on the elections when during the pandemic they were sending missions numbering just a few people. They drew adequate conclusions as to how the elections went," she noted.

"The pandemic introduces its own restrictions, we see it here as well. In the previous 20 countries, the representatives of the OSCE ODHIR for some reason recognized the restrictions related to the pandemic and sent limited missions, yet with regards to Russia they seem to think that we either don’t have a pandemic from their point of view, or then why is Russia somehow different? They violated their own logic," she concluded.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) decided that it would be unable to send observers to the State Duma elections "due to limitations imposed by Russian Federation authorities on the election observation," according to its website on August 4. ODIHR Director Matteo Mecacci said that, "the ability to independently determine the number of observers necessary for us to observe effectively and credibly is essential to all international observation."

The 8th State Duma elections are scheduled for September 19. The voting will stretch over three days: September 17, 18, and 19. Simultaneously, there will be direct elections for the heads of nine Russian regions (in three others, top executive officials will be elected by local legislatures) and 39 regional parliaments.