Washington, 8 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The United States today said it shares international organizations' concerns about the fairness of yesterday's parliamentary elections in Russia. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said criticisms raised by pro-democracy bodies underline the need for political and economic reforms in Russia. He urged Russia to continue developing its democratic institutions, including its free press and political parties.
Earlier today, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the election represented a reversal of Russia's democratization progress, and that the vote was distorted by the ruling party's access to state media and resources.
The head of the observer mission from the Council of Europe, David Atkinson, also criticized some politicians' use of state media and taxpayer money to promote their parties. He said the election can be regarded as free, but not fair.
For more on this story and other information on the parties and key individuals running in the Russian elections, see The Russian Federation Votes 2003-04