West observes: no foreigners allowed Russia to monitor the elections

The Russia’s Central election Commission has accredited for the upcoming September 18 elections of the state Duma 691 foreign observer, said Wednesday the head of the Central election Commission, Ella Pamfilova. Applications for accreditation continue to be received, the CEC is ready to consider them until the day of the vote, said the Commission. According to him, the CEC is interested in the maximum number of observers from abroad. For the previous elections of the state Duma in 2011 was observed by 688 people from 53 States, to the report of the CEC is five years old.

The main observer

Most observers at the elections of the state Duma sent the Office for democratic institutions and human rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE) — 380 people, according to the certificate of the CEC, which failed to see .

The ODIHR mission has worked in Russia since early August, it is headed by Jan Petersen. In the basic group consisted of 13 experts based in Moscow and about 60 employees engaged in long-term monitoring (not only on the voting day), according to a press release from the organization.

“I have no accurate information whether accredited all observers, whom we invited”, — said the day the press Secretary of the OSCE / ODIHR Thomas Rymer. All, according to him, the mission should consist of 405 observers, both long-term and brought to work in the voting day.

The number of observers was determined after the special mission who met with Russian authorities, candidates, civil society, and identified issues that may affect supervision necessary to pay attention to, explained Raymer. According to him, on election day, the observers will be deployed throughout the country, but where and will they work in the North Caucasus, will be known closer to the election.

In 2011, the CEC and the Bureau argued about the acceptable number of observers. The CEC agreed to work 203 observers, but the ODIHR claimed that it was less than expected by the Bureau. For the 2003 elections, the ODIHR sent 460 observers, and in 2007 did not sent a mission, also due to the inability to reconcile her strength with the CEC.

The mission, as stated in the press release, will assess the elections for compliance with the obligations of Russia to the OSCE, international standards and Russian legislation. On the voting day, observers will see the opening of the polling stations, the voting process, the counting of ballots. Also on the voting day they plan to work together with the delegation of the parliamentary Assembly (PA) of the OSCE, said in a press release.

The preliminary conclusion of the mission will be announced on the next day after the elections.

The OSCE / ODIHR is observing the elections in Russia since 1996. Assessing the previous elections in 2011, OSCE / ODIHR pointed out that they were legitimate, although the necessary conditions for fair elections were not created. The authors of the report pointed to “a bias in favor of the ruling party”.

Russian politicians, including the former Chairman of the CEC Vladimir Churov, has repeatedly criticized the OSCE ODIHR of double standards, pointing out that the Western countries sent fewer observers, and the standards of observation are not clearly spelled out.

Friends from the OSCE

Based on published data of the CEC, the parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE this year will visit Russia 94 observer. The vast majority of them are European parliamentary faction, some people coming from European structures, in particular, the General Secretary of the OSCE PA Italian Roberto Montella and Deputy Spaniard Gustavo Pallares. In 2011, the delegation of the Assembly was represented by 100 observers.

A few countries which in that year had sent their observers on the line of the OSCE PA has not done so now: for example, all CIS countries, except Kazakhstan, the Baltic countries and the United States. But this year in Russia there will be observers from Croatia, Albania, Germany, Hungary and even Liechtenstein.

Five years ago, the largest delegation of 15 observers sent to Italy, followed by 11 delegates went Sweden. This time Italy is in the lead again with 11 observers (including head Assembly), the second place with ten delegates divided Poland, Romania and Sweden. These four countries account for almost half of Russia delegated to the observers.

The observation will involve almost all European countries, said a member of the Central Executive Committee, Vasily Likhachev.

Of the 95 delegates at least ten of them are Russia-friendly party. Representatives of four right-wing parties (the Austrian freedom Party, Belgian Flemish movement, the Hungarian “Jobbik” and the Italian “Northern League”), one of the ultra-leftist Greek SYRIZA) and one conservative (the deputies of the French “Republicans”, a year ago committed a visit to the Crimea). Moreover, the observer “Jobbik is the only Hungarian delegation in OSCE. Another nine delegates are movements that can be described as Pro-Russian because they are against the European establishment and the rule of the EU in Europe. A vivid example of the Polish right-wing party Kukiz’15, founded a year ago, rock musician Pavel Cookies, finished third in last year’s elections to the Seimas (it will be two members of the observer). The only Dutchman in the list is the politician-labour, Michiel Servaes. Meanwhile, in may 2015, according to Finnish publication Yle, Serves included in the list of 89 European politicians who are banned entry to Russia.

More organizations

In 2011, the elections in Russia was observed by representatives from seven organizations: the OSCE / ODIHR, OSCE PA, inter-parliamentary Assembly (IPA) of the CIS, parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Shanghai cooperation organization (SCO), Association of election officials of Europe (avse), the Nordic Council.

This year Russia has invited observers from PACE due to the adopted informed decision on deprivation the Russian delegation of the powers (including voting rights), explained earlier, the speaker of the state Duma Sergey Naryshkin. The PACE delegation met Wednesday in the state Duma Naryshkin, where he again raised the question about the possibility to send election observer group from the organization, but the speaker refused, said the negotiator.

Will not be on elections and representatives from Howse and the Nordic Council. But this time, coming seven representatives of the CSTO parliamentary Assembly, four observers from the parliamentary Assembly of the black sea economic cooperation, three representatives of the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy, one person from the Organization of American States. All the elections in September will be tracked by the observers from nine organizations.

From CIS countries in total were accredited 189: the mission of CIS observers sent 153 observers of the CIS IPA — 36. Five years ago, for the election of the state Duma watched 208 people from the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly.

Less sent observers this time, the SCO is only two people, five years ago there were 16. Significantly less will be the foreign observers from the electoral commissions — in 2011 there were 59 people, and this year agreed to only 14, according to the reference of the CEC. From embassies accredited to eight people, as well as in 2011, among them diplomats from Switzerland, India, Japan, and South Ossetia.

Observers are watching the progress of the campaign in 52 regions, the help of the CEC. The observers will come to your funds in accordance with the adopted in may, the recommendations of the CEC on international surveillance flights, accommodation and translation services will be paid by countries or organizations sending delegates, said Likhachev.

The CEC is interested in foreign observers as the President’s administration is not to chase the result and to ensure maximum transparency of the vote, said political analyst Yevgeny Minchenko.

The involvement of foreign observers is an image move, their participation is not a panacea for fraud, said political analyst Alexander Kynev. “Foreign observers are not integrated in our voting process, cannot intervene in the work of the commissions, do not know the language. However, his presence in the area can become the limiting factor”, — the expert believes.