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The Media Mirror: what's in today's Russian newspapers?

Vladimir Putin’s TV address: consolidation of the electorate. Russia in the OSCE: to go or not to go. Election monitoring – Sergey Lavrov counts Christian Strohal’s lies. These topics are addressed by Russian newspapers.

All the newspapers publish the full text or shorter reports on Vladimir Putin’s televised pre-election address.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA asks whether the address in which the President urged the public to vote for his party was a breach of campaigning rules. The Central Electoral Commission responds: no, there was no breach. The address came in a news block, together with addresses by the candidates from other political parties.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA has the first comments by political scientists. Sergey Markov says there were two main ideas; one was to boost voter turn-out, the other was to gain votes for the United Russia party. Valery Khomiakov says Putin just said once again that nothing will work automatically in this country for at least 15 – 20 years more, and that manual controls mean a joint effort by the public and the government.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA says Russia insists that the OSCE needs reform, especially in the field of election monitoring. The paper writes, the main clash on the issue happened at the Madrid summit between the U.S. and Russian delegations.

In his KOMMERSANT column Gennady Sysoyev writes that the OSCE is now pursuing policies that go against Russia’s course, both in foreign and domestic affairs. So, for Russia it is a matter of the OSCE reforming along the lines that Russia suggests, or no OSCE at all.  

VREMYA NOVOSTEI says that the Russian election became one of the most important issues on the agenda of the Madrid summit, together with the behaviour of Christian Strohal, the chief of the OSCE monitoring agency. The paper quotes Sergey Lavrov saying that Kristian Strohal lied to the media at least three times during this conflict.

Mikhail Kamynin, Russia’s official representative at the OSCE, says in his article in NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA that Strohal is very inaccurate in his description of the monitors’ visa problem. All the documents including the visa forms, very unsophisticated by the way, were sent to him months before the conflict. He simply refused to accept Russia’s regular visa application procedure.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA has a translation of an article by an Oxford History lecturer, Mark Almond, originally published by The Guardian. The British academic and experienced election monitor writes that what makes democracy work is not foreign observers hovering over an election but the political culture of the voting society.