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Council of Europe Delegation: Russia Needs Real Change

Dutch politician Tiny Kox, who heads the PACE mission observing Russian parliamentary elections.
A Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) delegation says Russia needs real political change, not a "survival mechanism" for the current regime.

The group, which observed last month's controversial parliamentary elections, spoke in Moscow on January 21 ahead of the presentation of its final report at a plenary session in Strasbourg on January 23.

After meetings with Russian politicians and election officials, the PACE delegation said voters "were making increasingly clear their preference for elections that are conducted fairly".

Delegation leader Tiny Kox also warned that nationwide protests since the election against the political leadership were a "wake-up call" for Russia.

Protests since the December 4 vote, which handed ruling party United Russia a majority in the Duma, have called for change in the system dominated for nearly 12 years by Vladimir Putin.

compiled from agency reports