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EU Lawmakers Criticize Russia, Kazakhstan

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg
The European Parliament building in Strasbourg
BRUSSELS -- EU lawmakers have adopted a resolution in which they "strongly criticize the shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct" of the Russian presidential election earlier this month.

The resolution, adopted by all major political groups in the European Parliament on March 15, says the voters’ choice was "limited" and calls for "a comprehensive and transparent analysis of all irregularities with a view to strengthening democratic rules for future elections."

The text is also calling on the Russian authorities and political parties represented in the State Duma "to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the pro-democracy protestors and opposition."

It also encourages President-elect Vladimir Putin to "tone down his rhetoric against the protestors and engage with them in a sincere dialogue on the future of the country."

Deep Concern Over Kazakhstan

Another resolution adopted by EU lawmakers on March 15 expresses deep concern about events in the Zhanaozen district of Kazakhstan last December in which at least 16 people were shot dead by police.

The text condemns the violent crackdown by police against protesters demonstrating against unpaid money for oil workers and calls for an independent investigation into the events with an international component.

The resolution also calls on Kazakh authorities to provide assurances regarding the safety of the families of arrested activists.

It says the EU's diplomatic corps, the External Action Service, should monitor the trial of those accused of organizing the demonstrations.

The lawmakers also said that negotiations on an updated agreement spelling out closer economic ties between the EU and Kazakhstan "must depend on progress of political reform."
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    Rikard Jozwiak

    Rikard Jozwiak is the Europe editor for RFE/RL in Prague, focusing on coverage of the European Union and NATO. He previously worked as RFE/RL’s Brussels correspondent, covering numerous international summits, European elections, and international court rulings. He has reported from most European capitals, as well as Central Asia.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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