Foreign experts laud Russia elections
Criticisms of the elections from the three parties that failed to garner enough votes had to be expected. However, the harshest criticism came from the Communist Party, which came second in the polls.
According to Community Party representatives, there were “a large number of irregularities” at polling stations. In the words of deputy head of the Community Party’s Central Committee Ivan Melnikov, large-scale falsifications were registered during the 2007 voting as well but this year, “flagrant violations have assumed unprecedented proportions”. Communist representatives, he said, have collected extensive audio and video evidence testifying to numerous falsifications during the elections.
One of the international observers, European Parliament deputy Alexander Mirsky, said that there has been much talk about violations but it’s entirely unsubstantiated. Nevertheless, he said, observers notified the election commission chairman about these reports.
The Knesset’s deputy Robert Ilatov, who oversaw the elections in St.Petersburg, says that he and other observers visited nine polling stations and didn’t notice anything suspicious. The elections were going on smoothly, he said, and at some polling stations voter turnout was so high that people queued to cast their ballots.
Polish Central Election Commission Secretary Kazimierz Chaplizky was impressed by the polling station organized at the Trinity Lavra of St.Sergius, the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church.
"The voting process at the Trinity Lavra was organized perfectly well. The voter lists were impeccable. There were special facilities for disabled voters. We were impressed by the monastery and we were impressed to see people coming to vote in a festive mood, happy to take part in such a special occasion."
Observer Pedro Mourinho from Spain says that Sunday’s voting in Russia was hardly different from voting in Spain or any other European country. We’ve witnessed the triumph of democratic institutions in Russia, he said.
Jacques Boyon, President of the Council of the Institute of International and Strategic Relations, says that democracy is different from country to country.
"What is good for one country might not be beneficial for another. Countries have different traditions of holding elections and different election cultures. The French electoral system has practically remained unchanged since the reign of Napoleon III, while the Russian system has undergone radical changes. Russia introduced democratic elections only recently which means that democracy in Russia is still under development. While democracy in Russia has been making steady progress, it has yet to address certain issues, namely to guarantee overall access to the Internet and ensure greater transparency in financing political parties. "
Slobodan Milosavlevic of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, pointed to problems too.
"Russia also has problems in the country, but I believe that situation in Russia is much better and more stable than in some other parts of the world. I am absolutely sure that these positive results on the election will also help and bring stability in Caucas region because stability of whole Russia is imporant not only for Russia it's important for other European countries and on the globe."
Francisco Javier Herrero Aguirre from Mexico, who sits on the general council of the Mexican Federal Election Institute, has expressed satisfaction over the State Duma elections in Russia.
Like his Polish colleague, Aguirre visited the monastery in Sergiev Posad and was impressed by the polling station. Even though the Mexican laws prohibit organizing polling stations at monasteries, he found the idea appealing. A priest would feel much more comfortable casting his ballot on the premises of a monastery than having to do that in a secular environment.