- Russian legislative election, 2007
Legislative elections were held in the Russian Federation on
December 2 2007. [cite web |url=http://www.electionguide.org/country.php?ID=179 |title=Country Profile: Russia |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date=2007 |work=IFES Election Guide ] At stake were the 450 seats in the State Duma, the lower houseof the Federal Assembly of Russia(the legislature). Eleven parties were included in the ballot, including Russia's largest party, United Russia, which was supported by President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Official results show that United Russia won 64.3% of the votes, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation11.6%, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia8.1%, and Fair Russiawon 7.7%, and none of the other parties won enough votes to gain any seats.
Although 400 foreign election monitors were present at the
polling stations, the elections have received mixed criticism internationally largely from Western countries and by some independent media and some opposition parties domestically. The observers have stated that the elections were not rigged but that media coverage was heavily favoured towards United Russia.Fact|date=December 2007 The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europeand Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europehave stated that the elections were "not fair", while foreign governments and the European Unionhave called on Russia to look for possible violations. The election commission has responded saying that the allegations will be examined. The Kremlin has insisted that the vote was fair and said it demonstrated Russia's political stability.
The 2007 election were assigned exclusively from
party-list proportional representationunder a law adopted in 2005 on the initiative of President Vladimir Putin. He claimed it would strengthen the party system by reducing the number of parties in the Duma. In the previous elections half of the seats were filled using proportional representation and another half using the first-past-the-post system. It was also the first parliamentary election since 1993 that lacks the "against all" option on the ballot, and the first in which there was no provision for the minimum number of voters that must be achieved for the elections to be considered valid.
As of 2007, the 225 single-member districts were abolished. In the election of 2003, 100 of these seats were won by independents or minor party candidates. All seats were awarded by proportional representation. The threshold for eligibility to win seats was raised from 5.0 to 7.0 percent. In 2003 four parties each exceeded 7.0 percent of the list vote and collectively won 70.7 percent of the total Duma vote.
Only officially registered parties were eligible to compete, and registered parties could not form a bloc in order to improve their chances of clearing the 7.0 percent threshold, with the provision that parties in the Duma had to represent at least 60% of the participating citizens, [ru icon cite web |url=http://www.cikrf.ru/_1/int_vesh_150306.htm |title=Towards the democratic formation of authorities |author=
Aleksandr Veshnyakov|publisher="Public Service" |date=2006 |accessdate=2006-11-04 ] and that there must be at least two parties in the Duma. There were eleven parties eligible to take part in the Duma election. Duma seats were allocated to individuals on the lists of successful parties in accordance with their ranking there. Any members who resign from their party automatically forfeit their seats.
Several weeks ahead of the election, party leaders take part in moderated debates. Debates are televised on several state channels. Each candidate were given a chance to present his party's agenda, and to challenge opponents with questions. (United Russia refused to participate in the debates to receive more time for allowed promotion clips than other parties.)
In the Republic of
Chechnya, a constitutional referendum was held on the same date.
15 parties were eligible to participate in the elections. [ru icon cite web |url=http://www.rosregistr.ru/index.php?menu=1005000000&id=3649 |title=List of parties meeting the requirements of clause 2, article 36 of the Federal Law "On Political Parties", as of 5 September 2007 |date=2007-09-07 |accessdate=2007-09-07 |publisher = Federal registration service] On
13 September 2007, Patriots of Russiaand Party of Russia's Rebirthcreated a coalition, [ru icon cite web| url=http://www.regnum.ru/news/884538.html |title="Patriots of Russia" create electoral coalition "Motherland - Patriots of Russia" |date= 13 September 2007|accessdate=2007-10-22 |publisher=REGNUM] leaving only 14 parties to participate. All 14 parties have presented their lists of candidates to the Central Election commission. [ru icon cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/russian/russia/newsid_7050000/7050008.stm |title=CIK attests party lists |date=|date= 17 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-22 |publisher=BBC Russia ] However, the Electoral Commission decided the Russian Ecological Party "The Greens"would not be able to stand, due to an alleged large number of faked signatures (17%, more than the allowed 5%) in their supporters' lists. [de icon cite web |url=http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/international/russland_gruene_partei_wahlen_1.575600.html |title=Russian Greens are not permitted to the elections |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date= 2007-10-27|work=NZZ Online ] Nationalist People's Union decided to endorse the Communist Party. [ [http://www.partinform.ru/new.htm На региональных и местных выборах] ]
Included in final ballots were:
Agrarian Party of Russia
Democratic Party of Russia
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Union of Right Forces
Russian Social Justice Party
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
Patriots of Russia– Party of Russia's RebirthCoalition
A number of parties contested the election. The biggest and most popular party in
Russiais United Russia, which supports the policies of Vladimir Putin. On October 1 2007, Putin announced he would run first place on the United Russialist and that he might consider becoming Prime Minister after the elections. [cite web |url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aJTN3aKtVF40&refer=europe |title=Putin Says He May Become Premier After Term Ends |accessdate=2007-12-04 |author=Meyer, Henry |date= 2007-10-01|work= Bloomberg L.P.online ] Other pro-Kremlin parties crossing the seven percent threshold include the new Fair Russiaparty, led by the Speaker of the Federation Council of Russia Sergey Mironov, and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia(whose candidates included Andrei Lugovoi, wanted in the UK for the murder of Alexander Litvinenkocite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7124585.stm |title=Monitors denounce Russia election |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date= 2007-12-03|work= BBC News] and elected [http://www.vybory.izbirkom.ru/region/region/izbirkom?action=show&root=1&tvd=100100021960181&vrn=100100021960181®ion=0&global=1&sub_region=0&prver=0&pronetvd=null&type=220] ), which has also been favourable towards President Putin's policies.
The largest opposition party is the
Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which saw its share of the vote cut in half between 1999 and 2003. It came in second with over 11% of the vote, however. The liberal democratic opposition was represented by the free-market Union of Right Forces, the more socially minded Yabloko, and Civilian Powerrepresenting right liberal ideology, none of which won any seats.
Foreign election observers
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe(OSCE) planned to send a large team of election monitors to Russia for the election, but scuttled the plans after accusing Moscowof imposing curbs and delaying monitors' visas (Russian officials denied the claim). Consequently, only 400 foreign monitors from international organisations (330 of them from OSCE) were on hand to observe at some of Russia's 95,000 polling stations.cite web |url=http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/03/2108453.htm |title=Opposition, monitors denounce 'rigged' Russian election |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date= 2007-12-03|work= ABC NewsAustralia ] [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7123198.stm |title=Russians vote in general election |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date= 2007-12-02|work= BBC News]
Observers of the
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation( China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistanand Uzbekistan) inspected 30 precinctelection commissions in the electoral district of the city of Moscow. The statement issued by the mission states the election of deputies of the State Duma "in the election district observed by the Mission was legitimate, free and open, and basically conformed to the requirements of the national legislation of the Russian Federation and its international obligations." [ [http://www.sectsco.org/news_detail.asp?id=1911&LanguageID=2 SCO Observer Mission issues statement on parliamentary polls in Russia] ]
As of 02:00, 3rd December
Moscow Timeabout 47.14% votes had been counted. Four parties passed the 7% threshold: United Russia63.2%, Communist Party of the Russian Federation11.5%, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia9.1%, Fair Russia7.8%, Agrarian Party of Russia2.5%, Russian Democratic Party Yabloko1.5%, Union of Right Forces1.1%, Civilian Power1.0%, Patriots of Russia0.9%, Russian Social Justice Party0.2% and Democratic Party of Russia0.1%. [ru icon cite web |url=http://www.cikrf.ru/news/info_021107_8.jsp |title=About the ongoing results of the vote at 02:00 Moscow time |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date= 2007-12-03|work=Central Election Commission, Russian Federation ] This was consistent with exit polls conducted by VTsIOM, which predicted 61%, 11.5%, 8.8%, 8.4% respectively. Exit polls conducted by the Public Opinion Foundationshowed similar results: 62.3%, 11.8%, 8.4%, 8.3%. [ru icon cite web |url=http://www.fom.ru/topics/2544.html |title=Election of Deputies of the State Duma (December 2, 2007), Polls at the exit of polling stations (exit-poll) - Final results |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date= 2007-12-02|work=Public Opinion Fund ]
Results mostly repeated the ones of the previous legislative election. The ruling centrist party
United Russia, leftist Communist Party and nationalist LDPRpassed the threshold again; the moderately socialist Fair Russiatook the place of Rodina, absorbing many of its members and most of its electorate. United Russia kept its leading position, again receiving a supermajority(more than ⅔ of seats), which gives it an opportunity to make changes to the Constitution of Russia. [cite web |url=http://www.forbes.com/business/2007/10/16/putin-russia-kremlin-cx_1017oxford.html |title=Parliamentary Democracy In Russia? |accessdate=2007-12-04 |author= Oxford Analytica|date=2007-10-17 |work= Forbes.com ]
Although the United Russia became the leading party in each region, in different regions of the Russian Federation, election results vary considerably. While in
metropolitan areas of Moscow and Saint Petersburgwith 50-55% turnout United Russia got only about 50% of the votes, the national republics, especially in North Caucasus, provided much stronger voter turnout and support for the ruling party.
According to the official results, the highest
turnoutwas in Chechnya at 99.5%, of which 99.36% votes were cast for United Russia; the Chechen pro-Moscow leader Ramzan Kadyrovhad publicly promised beforehand to deliver 100 percent of his republic's vote for Putin.cite web |url=http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSL03585550._CH_.2400 |title=Big Putin vote in Chechnya has locals puzzled |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date= 2007-12-03|work= Reuters] In the neighbouring Republic of Ingushetia, where the official results also said around 99 percent of the republic's population had voted and nearly all of them for the pro-Putin party, the elections were preceded by mass protests against the government, and observers suggested that in fact only 8% of people turned out to vote there. [cite web |url=http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=10238268&fsrc=RSS |title=Russia's election. How it was rigged |accessdate=2007-12-03 |author= The Economist|date=2007-12-03 |work= The Economist.com ]
Opposition parties and some independent observers reported widespread
abuses, such as strong biasin the Russian media, ballot stuffing, briberyof voters, and coercionof workers and students to vote for United Russia. [cite web |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,2219492,00.html |title=Fraud, intimidation and bribery as Putin prepares for victory |accessdate=2007-12-05 |author=Harding, Luke |date= 2007-11-30|work= Guardian Unlimited] cite web |url=http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL3088680120071201 |title=Russians say being forced to vote in election |accessdate=2007-12-05 |author=Lowe, Christian |date= 2007-12-01|work= Reuters] cite web |url=http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/provider/providerarticle.aspx?feed=FT&date=20071203&id=7889771 |title=Russia elections 'unfair and undemocratic' |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date= 2007-12-03|work= MSN] cite web |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,2221157,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=12 |title=Putin win: It's not fair, say observers |accessdate=2007-12-05 |author=Harding, Luke |date= 2007-12-03|work= Guardian Unlimited] Nevertheless, critics mostly agree that the United Russia would gain majority even if the election were fair.
Alexander Kynev, a political analyst with the monitoring organisation
Golos, said they "have seen a campaign of unprecedented pressure on the voters." Golos said it has received more than 3,000 reports of election abuse on a special hotline. It said various violations during the voting amounted to "an organised campaign".cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7126056.stm |title=Kremlin insists election was fair |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date= 2007-12-03|work= BBC News] Golos made public an analysis of the 1,329 complaints that were filed during the elections and of the observations of its 2,500 election monitors. According to the report, 23% of all complaints involved officials and police hindering the work of election monitors, 22% involved reports of illegal campaigning, 15% percent involved purported manipulations of the voter lists, 11% percent involved pressure on voters and 9% involved alleged violations of regulations protecting voter privacy.
The Russia's Communist Party said its 300,000 observers identified about 10,000 violations, among them the alleged mass falsification of Duma vote in the Caucasus republic of
Dagestan.cite web |url=http://www.rferl.org/newsline/1-rus.asp |title=Communists allege mass Falsification of Duma Vote in Daghestan |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date= 2007-12-04|work=RFE/RL Newsline ] Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganovcalled a news conference to criticize the official results.cite web |url=http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2007/12/03/russian_election_results_challenged/6097/ |title=Russian election results challenged |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date= 2007-12-03|work= United Press International] Journalist Grigory Belonuchkin, delegated as an observer by the CPRF in Moscow Oblast, claims that the chairpersons of several polling stations attempted to forge the results while transmitting them to the above committee, rigging vote count in favor of the United Russia. [Белонучкин, Григорий. [http://www.sovross.ru/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2140 Между молотом и наковальней: Ночь в кругу действующих лиц] // Советская Россия № 165 (13063), December 8, 2007.] [ Белонучкин, Григорий. [http://www.dolgopa.ru/vybory/oni.html Чудеса с голосами] ]
Yabloko party leader
Grigory Yavlinskysaid "The results of this election were not counted, were not analyzed, were not gathered. They were ordered." He also issued a warning to Yabloko supporters: "Be very careful. We are entering a time when, if something happens, there will be nowhere to turn. A single-party system is built in such a way that there is no court, no law, no defense of any kind." [http://www.rferl.org/newsline/1-rus.asp RFE/RL Newsline] , FRE/RL, December 5, 2007]
The Communist Party, Yabloko, and the Union of Rightist Forces are considering filing a joint complaint with the Russian Supreme Court against the official results of the Duma elections. The parties also said they will likely appeal the election results to the
European Court of Human Rights, even though a Yabloko-filed case contesting the results of the 2003 elections is still pending there.
Vladimir Zhirinovskycomplained of vote-rigging in several regions where his ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia did worse than in the rest of the country, but blaming only local authorities. "Just as road accidents cannot be avoided in any country in the world, there are officials who manipulate (elections), who falsify, even though no one has asked them to do it," Zhirinovsky said. [ [http://www.startribune.com/world/12149496.html Litvinenko poisoning suspect, elected to Russian parliament, expresses contempt for West] , Associated Press, December 5, 2007]
Former world chess champion
Garry Kasparov, who heads the The Other Russiaopposition movement, has dismissed the elections as a "farce" and "rigged from the start". Kasparov, who spent five days in jail previous week for holding an unauthorised march, said he plans to lay a wreathoutside the Central Election Commissionto "mourn the death of Russian democracy". Former Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Kasyanovalso said the elections were illegitimate. "There is not doubt that these elections were not free. They were dishonest and unfair. The result is that this Parliament will not be legitimate," he said.
The deputy head of
Central Election Commission of Russia, Nikolai Konkin, said "all complaints and allegations will be carefully examined" and pledged to respond in the coming days. Already on December 3, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told CNNthe complaints were "groundless". He also said he had no reason to doubt the Chechen result. President Putin himself described the "honest, as transparent as possible and open" election as a "good example of domestic political stability".
In mid-December journalist of "
New Times" Natalia Morarpublished an article [http://www.nazlobu.ru/press/article2455.htm "Black Fund of Kremlin"] in which she's alleged political parties in Russia being funded from a secret unaccountable fund of the Kremlin. After that Natalia Morar, a citizen of the Republic of Moldovaand a permanent resident[http://www.echo.msk.ru/programs/personalno/57242/index.phtml] of Russia, was forbidden to enter the Russian Federation. The International Federation of Journalistscalled on the European bodies to investigate the case. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071216/wl_nm/russia_journalist_dc Russia expels journalist critical of Kremlin] , Reuters, Sun Dec 16, 12:32 PM ET] Russia's Union of Journalists also condemned the deportation. [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22285842/ Journalists condemn Russian expulsiion] , "The Financial Times", Dec. 16, 2007]
To protest the official results of the election (according to which 98.4% of registered voters participated in the election, and 99.2% of them voted for the United Russia), voters in the republic of Ingushetia collected written and signed claims from adult people who did not vote, 87,340 as of
January 10, 2008. [ [http://www.rferl.org/newsline/2008/01/1-RUS/rus-100108.asp EVER MORE INGUSH FORMALLY DENY VOTING IN STATE DUMA ELECTION.] ] This is 54.5% of the republic's totalelectorate.
Court challenges to the election results
March 19 2008the court of town Dolgoprudny, Moscow Oblaststarted hearings on the falsification of the election results in two districts of town. In particular the plaintiffs, representatives of Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Fair Russiaand Yablokoparties allege that the results of the United Russiawere artificially increased from 54.4% to 82.4%. [http://www.kommersant.ru/doc.aspx?DocsID=869005&NodesID=2 Жители Долгопрудного не согласны с итогами думских выборов] by Yury Chernega KommersantN45 (3862) 20 March 2008ru icon ] . According to the plaintiffs the falsification of similar magnitude were registered throughout all eight districts of Dolgoprudny but on the most of the other districts the observers managed to prevent the counterfeit reports from getting into the final results. If the allegation will be found to be true the central electoral commission would have to modify the final national results; it also may be the grounds of starting criminal persecution against the electoral officials of Dolgoprudny with a possible sentence of up to four years of imprisonment.
According to a joint statement by the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe(OSCE) and the Council of Europe, elections on December 2 "were not fair and failed to meet many OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards for democratic elections". [cite web | url = http://www.thewest.com.au/aapstory.aspx?StoryName=441897 | title = Russia's election not fair, says OSCE | publisher = The West Australian| author = Reuters| date= 2007-12-03 | accessdate = 2007-12-03] According to the statement,
In general, the elections were well organised and observers noticed significant technical improvements. However, they took place in an atmosphere which seriously limited political competition and with frequent abuse of administrative resources, media coverage strongly in favour of the ruling party, and an election code whose cumulative effect hindered
political pluralism. There was not a level political playing field in Russia in 2007. [cite web |url=http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/Press/StopPressView.asp?ID=1979 |title=Russian Duma elections ‘not held on a level playing field’, say parliamentary observers |accessdate=2007-12-03 |author=Bergman, Klas |date= 2007-12-03|work= Council of Europe]
As chief of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe(PACE) mission Luc Van den Brandesaid at a news conference in Moscow the elections were not fair, including the "unprecedented" example of a president still in office running in parliamentary elections. [cite web |url=http://new.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=10949&theme=6&size=A |title=Putin’s expected landslide marred by suspected electoral fraud |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date= 2007-12-03|work=Asianews.it ] Van den Brande said the president and his office had exerted an "overwhelming" influence on the campaign, and also criticized flaws in the secrecy of the vote.cite web |url=http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,521063,00.html |title=OSCE Slams 'Unfair' Russian Election |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date= 2007-12-03|work=Spiegel online ] "If Russia has managed democracy, then these were managed elections," he said, and warned: "While we are happy that there was the fall of the (Berlin) Wall, we don't want to have a new dividing line in Europe in terms of democracy."
Kimmo Kiljunen, the deputy president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assemblyand a member of its election monitoring mission in Russia, questioned the accuracy of the reported Chechen election results in an interview to a Russian radio station, saying that it is "impossible that all voters come and vote for one and the same party." [cite web |url=http://www.hri.org/news/balkans/rferl/2007/07-12-04.rferl.html#06 |title=Chechnya claims highest turnout for Duma elections |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date= 2007-12-04|work=Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ] Commenting on his personal experience of observing about 10 polling stations, he said "my general point is that in principle what happened yesterday were normal elections and in technical sense they worked well." He also said, "the election was made in a Russian style — I can't say whether democratic or not — I can't analyze it in this aspect". Commenting a statement by the host that "the president had a formal right to head the list of one of the parties" he said "I also think so. You didn't do it against your law." [ [http://echo.msk.ru/guests/15077/ [Kimmo Kiljunen's interview to Ekho Moskvy] , December 3, 2007]
According to Russian
RIA Novostinews agency, Igor Borisov of Russia's Central Election Commission said the OSCE and Council of Europe allegations were ungrounded and that the commission had not received any official reports from these organizations. [cite web |url=http://en.rian.ru/russia/20071203/90684547.html |title=International election watchdogs slam Russian polls |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date= 2007-12-03|work= RIA Novosti] Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churovdismissed the criticisms of the Western election monitors as "politically motivated and subjective".
;EUR: The EU also voiced its concerns, with
European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldnerstating that they "saw some violations of basic rights, notably free speechand assembly rights." A spokesman for the European Commissionsaid that "we are obviously aware of the allegations of irregularities. These will have to be assessed by the relevant bodies in Russia, and we will monitor this closely." Graham Watsonfrom the European Parliamentsaid the vote proved that President Vladimir Putin is "a populist with the trappings of a dictator.... He is in the same category as Hugo Chávez, only...more dangerous." The final joint EU statement said:
there were many reports and allegations of media restrictions as well as
harassmentof opposition parties and non-governmental organizations in the run-up to the elections and on election day, and that procedures during the electoral campaign did not meet international standards and commitments voluntarily assumed by Moscow. The EU hopes that investigations will clarify the accuracy of these allegations. [http://www.rferl.org/newsline/1-rus.asp EU IN 'DISARRAY' OVER RUSSIAN VOTE] , FRE/RL, December 5, 2007]
;FRA: France called on Russia to investigate the alleged violations in the poll. French President
Nicolas Sarkozyhowever telephoned Putin to congratulate him on his victory, which drew protests from rights groups and put him at odds with close ally Germany and most other EU governments. [http://www.chinapost.com.tw/international/2007/12/05/133576/EU-split.htm EU split on vote after Sarkozy calls Putin] , Reuters, December 5, 2007]
;GER: German government said that "Russia was not a democracy and Russia is not a democracy" [http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,2221445,00.html Russian election unfair and biased towards Putin, observers say] , "The Guardian", December 4, 2007] and called for Russia to embrace multi-party politics.
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel[cite web |url=http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C12%5C03%5Cstory_3-12-2007_pg4_4 |title=Angela Merkel criticises Russian elections |accessdate=2007-12-03 |date= 2007-12-03|work= Daily Times (Pakistan)] and Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeierboth criticised the Russian elections. Ruprecht Polenz, who heads the German parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the Russian vote was "not what we would call a democratic election" and noted that "we don't know what kind of Russia we'll be dealing with the day after tomorrow." [ [http://www.rferl.org/newsline/2007/12/1-RUS/rus-031207.asp U.S. CALLS ON RUSSIA TO INVESTIGATE ELECTION FRAUD CHARGES] , RFE/RL, December 3, 2007] The German government spokesman said: "Measured by our standards, these were not free and fair elections, they were not democratic elections."
President of the Council of Ministers of Italy Romano Prodiquickly denied the Kremlin's claims that he had called Putin to congratulate him on his party's success. [http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/1196803921.66/ Prodi denies congratulating Putin over Russian poll] , EUbusiness, 04 December 2007] ;POR: The Council of the European Union's Portugal presidency said the vote "did not meet international standards and commitments." The presidency was seeking agreement among the member states on a joint statement but it was difficult to get consensusin national capitals on a text; they eventually agreed on a milder rebuke of the Russian government.
National Security Counciland White Housespokesman Gordon Johndroesaid: "Early reports from Russia include allegations of election day violations. We urge Russian authorities to investigate these claims." [cite web |url=http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=071202215026.nfg26qxb&show_article=1%20US |title=US urges Russia to probe election violations: WHouse |accessdate=2007-12-02 |date= 2007-12-02|work=Breitbart ] President of the United States George W. Bushsaid that he and his administration "were sincere in our expressions of concern about the elections" in the telephone talks with Putin. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7127540.stm Bush tells Putin of poll concern] , BBC News, 4 December 2007]
Western media criticism and commentary
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (
RFE/RL) published a detailed report on election day why they considered the elections a show election. [cite web |url=http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/12/d608f697-5a09-4240-b45d-13637dae9d6b.html |title=Russia: Five Myths About The Elections |accessdate=2007-12-04 |author=Coalson, Robert |date= 2007-12-02|work= Radio Free Europe]
According to British newspaper "
The Independent", "critics condemned the election as an exercise in phantom democracy. Although voters had a choice of 11 parties, the only ones with a chance of making it into Russia's notoriously feckless Duma are either creations of the Kremlin, or loyal to it" and "Many Russians believe that the loss of freedom has been an acceptable price to pay for the stability." [cite web | url = http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/putin-voting-scam-1235055.html | title = Putin voting 'scam' | publisher = The Independent| author = The Independent| date= 2007-12-03 | accessdate = 2007-12-03]
However, according to Nikolai N. Petro's opinion article in the "
International Herald Tribune", "Far from indicating a retreat from democracy, the Russian electorate's rejection of the current opposition may be a sign of the country's progress toward a mature democracy." [cite web |url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/04/opinion/edpetro.php |title=Why Russian liberals lose |accessdate=2007-12-04 |author=Petro, Nikolai |date= 2007-12-04|work= International Herald Tribune] Norman Stonein " The Times" guest comment article though admitting that "No doubt there are elements of truth in [the allegations] ", wrote "President Putin is popular, and from a Russian perspective, you can easily see why. Indeed, the outcome of his recent election more than slightly resembles General de Gaulle's success in 1958". He concluded on Putin: "if Russians see him as the best hope, they should be understood." [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2994651.ece No wonder they like Putin] , by Norman Stone, The Times, December 4, 2007]
On the other hand,
Denmark's daily " Politiken", noted that the Russian election "could be best described as a swindle." The paper argued that Western countries should not accept its results "lest they compromise their own democratic values and deprive Russians of hope in a democratic future for their country".
Financial Times" observed that "Russia's relations with the West threatened to hit a new low...as Western leaders and institutions denounced parliamentary elections at the weekend as unfair and undemocratic. But independent observers suggested both sides could seek to contain the damage as Russia heads into a crucial and uncertain period."
Brussels, NATOSecretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffersaid through his spokesman that he is concerned "about the conduct of the elections, in particular when it comes to freedom of expressionand association," but there was no sign of any change of the alliance's policy towards Moscow. [cite web |url=http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,22866767-5005940,00.html?from=public_rss |title=NATO chief concerned over Russia vote |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date=2007-12-04 |work=Mercury news ] Van den Brande also said there was no prospect of Russia being thrown out of the Council of Europe.
Zbigniew Brzezinski"the overt and increasingly arbitrary political manipulation of Russia's political process culminated in the elections to Duma in late 2007 that were not much more than a state controlled public plebiscite. The ultimate irony is that, at the time, Putin could in all probability prevailed even in a truly contested electoral process" Zbigniew Brzezinski[http://www.twq.com/08spring/docs/08spring_brzezinski.pdf Putin's Choice] "The Washington Quarterly" 31:2 pp95-116 2008]
* [http://www.electoralgeography.com/new/en/countries/r/russia/russia-legislative-election-2007.html Electoral maps]
* [http://cikrf.ru/postancik/Zp070186.jsp Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation]
** ru icon [http://www.vybory.izbirkom.ru/region/region/izbirkom?action=show&root=1&tvd=100100021960186&vrn=100100021960181®ion=0&global=1&sub_region=0&prver=0&pronetvd=null&vibid=100100021960181&type=236 Official results]
* [http://riav.ru/pressa/ Video records of television debates between Russian parties]
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