Kremlin-friendly foreign politicians, journalists, lobbyists, and activists have once again been invited to praise the disputed “all-Russian voting” on the constitutional amendments proposed by President Vladimir Putin. According to those amendments, Putin will be allowed to run for another two terms and to stay in power until 2036.
The voting took place from 25 June to 1 July. Neither was an OSCE ODIHR observation mission invited to observe the vote, nor were domestic independent observers allowed to be present in the polling stations during the voting. Russian media covered the statements of the foreign politicians, referring to them often as “international observers”, thus creating the false impression of international acknowledgment of the allegedly democratic and transparent “all-Russian vote”.
Among the „observers“ are the Member of the German Bundestag, Stefan Keuter, the Member of the Berlin Parliament Gunnar Lindemann (both from AfD, Germany), Member of the Italian Parliament Paolo Grimoldi (Northern League, Italy), five French far-right Members of the European Parliament including Thierry Mariani (National Rally, France); the leaders of the Acton Party (Latvia) Jevgenijs Korols and Einārs Graudiņš; Vávra Suk (Nya Tider, Sweden).
Stefan Keuter, compared the “all-Russian voting” to elections in Germany: “You have cameras everywhere, which we do not have in Germany. And it is normal for you when representatives of the opposition are present as observers who control everything”. According to Keuter Russia also demonstrated a “high level of transparency”.
It is important to stress that any international “observers” of this “all-Russian voting” are not part of any official international election observation mission and their statements should not be considered as legitimate assessments of the conduct of the vote.
EPDE repeats its recent calls to European national parliaments and to regional parliaments for stronger transparency regulations and for respective changes to their Codes of Conduct. Regulations and Codes of Conduct should require parliamentarians to report properly and timely on the receipt of any financial donations or gifts and should contribute to prevent cases of conflict of interest.
The preliminary report on politically biased observers that were present during the "all-Russian voting" can be downloaded and read below