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European Parliament Criticizes Russian Elections

Russian protesters gather in central Moscow with signs for a demonstration for fair elections on February 4.
STRASBOURG, France -- The European Parliament has expressed concern over the disputed Russian State Duma elections in December, but stopped short of calling for their annulment.

In a resolution adopted on February 16 by all major political groups in the chamber, the European Parliament called on the Russian authorities to "continue to investigate comprehensively and transparently all reports of fraud and intimidation" and to "rerun the voting where irregularities are proven."

The text also condemns the crackdown by police on peaceful demonstrations against reported election irregularities.

The resolution notes that the demonstrations "are an expression of the Russian people’s desire for free and fair elections."

The EU lawmakers also express hope that the Russian presidential election due on March 4 will avoid the "interference and hindrance" that was reported in the Duma elections.

"We believe that future elections, in particular the imminent presidential one, should be held in a way the is deemed to be democratic, free, and fair, and also consistent with Russian membership and obligations as a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE," British deputy Charles Tannock said.