The United States and Britain have sharply criticized the conduct of the Russian parliamentary elections, overshadowed by accusations of falsification.
Sunday’s three-day election took place in conditions that do not promote a free and fair voting process, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Prais said in a statement on Monday.
A similar position has been expressed by London.
The State Duma elections in Russia have not had a positive impact on democracy in the country, given the many restrictions imposed during the process, the British Foreign Office said in a statement.
Russia’s parliamentary elections “are a serious step backwards for democratic freedoms in the country,” the statement said.
“The Russian authorities’ use of laws on ‘extremist organizations’,’ foreign agents’ and ‘undesirable organizations’ greatly limited political pluralism and created obstacles to the exercise of the civil and political rights of the Russian people,” the US State Department said in a statement.
Measures taken by the Russian authorities to marginalize civil society, silence the independent media and exclude candidates from the real opposition from running in the elections are undermining pluralism and contrary to Russia’s international obligations, the British Foreign Office said.
Neither Washington nor London recognizes the holding of Russian State Duma elections on the territory of sovereign Ukraine and recalls that the inclusion of Crimea in Russia has not been recognized.
The three-day vote ended Sunday, before President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime launched a ruthless campaign against its opponents as polls showed the ruling United Russia party’s popularity had fallen to record lows.
Russia’s opposition on Monday accused the authorities of massively falsifying the results of the State Duma elections.
Organizations affiliated with opposition leader Alexei Navalny were declared “extremist” before the election, preventing any of their representatives from running in the election themselves. Most other notable members of the opposition were also barred from running by various other means.
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