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Russia: EU Backs OSCE Criticism Of Elections

Brussels, 9 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The European Commission today said it backs the serious reservations expressed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United States about the conduct of the 7 December parliamentary elections in Russia. The OSCE's preliminary observer report said Russia's government used resources and control of the media to dominate the election, and that the election called into question Moscow's commitment to Western standards of democracy.

European Commission spokesman Diego de Ojeda told RFE/RL today that as the EU itself provided a large number of the OSCE observers, it fully agrees with the conclusions of the report.

"The European Union has participated, has fielded observers to the OSCE observation team, and therefore their criticism -- or their praise -- and their recommendations for the future are also those of the EU and the EU stands behind the OSCE report," de Ojeda said.

De Ojeda said the OSCE report provides a "mixed picture." He said it notes "a number of improvements" compared to past elections, but also lists serious shortcomings on the polling day in a number of regions.

De Ojeda said the EU was particularly concerned about the fact that access to the media was not given to all candidates on an equal footing.

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