In light of OSCE’s announcement on Wednesday that will not send observers to Russia’s parliamentary elections in September, the first time since 1993, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price pointed in his statement Thursday that the US regrets the fact that restrictions imposed by Russian authorities will prevent the independent observing process.
He expressed the State Department’s full support for OSCE and ODIHR’s principled position that such restrictive circumstances in light of the Covid-19 pandemic would prevent them from making credible independent observation of the upcoming State Duma elections.
Price also noted that despite the absence of OSCE election observers, Russia will not escape the attention of the international democratic audience since the international community will determine if the holding of free and fair elections is possible by watching the conditions in the run-up to the elections and on Election Day.
Though Russia invited OSCE and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR) to observe the State Duma election, they were later told they can only send 10 and 50 observers, respectively due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ODIHR chief Matteo Mecacci pointed later that, it is crucial for them to independently determine the necessary number of observers, expressing regret that their observation of the elections iwill not be possible in such conditions.