The United States and its Western allies have criticized Russia’s Duma elections for being unfair.
The US, the UK, and the European Union have all chastised Russia for allegedly creating an unfair playing field for genuine opposition politicians.
“The Russian Federation’s Duma elections were held under conditions that were not conducive to free and fair proceedings,” the US State Department stated in a statement on Monday.
It notably mentioned Russian authorities’ use of extremism, “foreign agent,” and “undesirable groups” legislation to stifle independent candidates and opposition parties. The agency even went so far as to accuse Russia of breaking international law by refusing international election observers access to polling stations.
“We urge Russia to comply with its international commitments to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as to halt its campaign of intimidation against civil society, political opposition, and independent media,” the State Department stated.
Western European allies echoed these sentiments.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom labeled the elections “a severe step back for democratic freedoms in Russia” since civil society players were denied an equal playing field during the campaign. The European Union issued a statement emphasizing these limits and urging Russia’s leaders to “correct these undesirable developments.”
The European Council, the bloc’s governing body, issued a statement saying, “The E.U. reiterates its serious concerns about the persistent pattern of reducing space for the opposition, civil society, and independent voices across Russia.”
Russia was chastised in the remarks for holding elections in the Crimean Peninsula and parts of eastern Ukraine where it backs anti-Kyiv insurgents. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, causing a rift in relations between Russia and the West.
Russia held national elections for seats in the State Duma, the Russian legislature’s lower house. In results that the Russian opposition claims were the consequence of broad-scale fraud coordinated from the top, President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party won a strong majority.
Russia initiated a crackdown on followers of arrested opposition figure Alexei Navalny, as well as independent news outlets that uncovered corruption linked to the ruling United Russia Party and Putin, in the run-up to this weekend’s elections.
Navalny, a prominent anti-corruption activist who called for a “Smart Voting” program to weaken United Russia’s grip on power, was arrested in January and is currently imprisoned. His Anti-Corruption Network (FBK) was soon the object of fresh arrests and limitations, prompting several of his members to flee the country. Other independent politicians, as well as current events. Brief News from Washington Newsday.