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    COUNCIL OF EUROPE DOES NOT DOUBT DEMOCRATIC NATURE OF PAST ELECTIONS IN RUSSIA - SENATOR MARGELOV

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    STRASBOURG, JANUARY 27. /RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT CHRISTINA RODRIGUEZ/ -- Nobody in the Council of Europe puts to doubt the democratic nature of the parliamentary elections in Russia, PACE deputy chairman Mikhail Margelov, head of the international committee of the Federation Council (the upper chamber of Russian parliament), said in a RIA Novosti interview.

    Commenting on the report submitted by British parliamentarian David Atkinson on the past elections, Margelov said: "The main thing in Atkinson's report is that neither he, nor other observers doubt the democratic nature of the elections". And continued that "in the last 12 years Americans and West Europeans have been lecturing us on democracy. I think that all critics following our democratic process should be glad".

    "We've had bona fide democratic elections", Margelov emphasised.

    Now, "the question whether those elections were good is more important to us than to our colleagues in PACE". In his opinion, the degree of "criticism" shown by the Russian mass media during the elections was "much higher and more poignant than what we hear in Strasbourg".

    "Russia is an accomplished state with a developed democracy. We see our mistakes and know how to correct them. We will do it", Margelov stressed.

    He added that "we in no way push off the hand of concerned helpers. Simultaneously, we invite them to be positively biased and well-meaning".

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