Russia’s top election official said Wednesday that Western election observers are proposing an unacceptably large delegation to monitor parliamentary voting in December, raising the possibility of a standoff like the one that caused the cancellation of an observation mission four years ago.
Vladimir V. Churov, the chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission, said Russia will approve delegations of between 40 and 100 observers apiece. The election-monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has proposed a mission of 260 observers.
The cancellation of the O.S.C.E. mission in 2007 was the first since Russia undertook to hold free elections in 1990, and followed reports that said the country was falling short of democratic standards.
President Dmitri A. Medvedev hinted earlier this month that the conflict might be revived this fall, when he told his counterparts from other post-Soviet countries that observers from the O.S.C.E.’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights “openly demonstrate a politicized approach” that is “often based on double standards.”
Mr. Churov said Wednesday that the O.S.C.E.’s election observers divide countries into two groups — sending only a handful of observers to Western Europe and Canada, but sending “not less than 300” to former Soviet countries.
“No country wants to feel second-rate,” Mr. Churov said, according to the Itar-Tass news service. “Especially Russia.”
In a report explaining its proposal, the monitoring office cited Western assessments that the 2007 parliamentary polls “took place in an atmosphere which severely limited political competition and with frequent abuse of administrative resources,” with both the news media and the election code supporting the governing party. Observation missions from Russia’s former Soviet allies were far more positive, it noted.
Jens Eschenbaecher, a spokesman for the office, said the organization is awaiting an official response from the Russian government. The two sides will continue talks on Sept. 19 in Warsaw.
Full Article: Russia at Odds With West Over Parliamentary Election Monitors – NYTimes.com.