Head of the Russian Central Election Commission Vladimir Churov called on election observers from the CIS states to give a fair assessment on the media coverage of the upcoming March 4 presidential elections.
“I demand that an unbiased assessment of the media contribution to the election campaign be carried out,” Churov said.
Churov was sharply criticized for alleged mass frauds at the December’s parliamentary elections in favor of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s party, United Russia.
He also called on observers to analyze the use of web cameras at polling stations, a move that was proposed by Putin soon after dozens of video clips, featuring alleged ballot stuffing and vote fraud at the parliamentary polls appeared on the internet in December.
Churov earlier said that 69 observers from CIS states and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) were registered to observe the polls.
The observers should assess the serious international pressure being put on the Central election Commission from the outside “in terms of international law,” Churov added.
The comment comes after the spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State, Victoria Nuland and the EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton expressed concern over Moscow’s decision to bar liberal opposition leader Grigory Yavlinsky from taking part in the elections.
Yavlinsky, leader of the liberal Yabloko party and two-time presidential candidate, was disqualified last week after officials judged that 25.6 percent of the 2 million signatures submitted as part of his application were invalid or fake.
Five presidential candidates, including Putin, A Just Russia part leader, Sergei Mironov, the head of the Communist party, Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the Liberal-Democratic party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov will compete in the presidential race.