Sunday’s elections in Belarus might not meet international or western standards, but Russia gave its stamp of approval today. Voters made “a conscious choice” during the nationwide poll, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to Voice of America. President Alexander Lukashenko’s ruling party swept the elections after opposition parties boycotted and suggested voters stay home. According to the Belarus Central Elections Commission, more than 74.3 percent of those eligible voted.
But the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the US State Department said those voters had no choices, UPI reported. “The United States urges the authorities to take steps to meet Belarus’s international commitments to hold genuinely democratic elections and to foster respect for human rights,” US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.