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Election Watchdog: Relations With Russia 'Fairly Good'

ODIHR President Janez Lenarcic
ODIHR President Janez Lenarcic
PRAGUE (RFE/RL) -- The head of the OSCE's election monitoring body said on May 7 that relations with Russia have been good despite Moscow's occasional accusations of political bias.

Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, the president of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), told RFE/RL that his office's cooperation and overall relationship with Russia are "fairly good."

Lenarcic said Russia, among other countries, has agreed to a "significant increase" in ODIHR's budget recently, although Moscow has sometimes accused ODIHR of political bias in its assessments of elections in some ex-Soviet states.

Lenarcic said Russia's approval of the budget increase for ODIHR is "a demonstration of the willingness to engage constructively with our office."

Some critics have alleged that ODIHR's recent favorable assessments of elections in countries such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Moldova were a result of Russian pressure.