Russia labels EU criticism of elections ‘strange’

Russia labels EU criticism of elections ‘strange’
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU plays down European Union criticism of recent elections to the State Duma, saying it is more reasonable compared to other sources of antagonism.

­The European Union's reaction to the Russian State Duma is deliberate but at the same time restrained, "at least compared to the reaction coming from some other parts of the world," Russian permanent representative at the EU Vladimir Chizhov told journalists in Brussels following an EU parliamentary meeting.

On the agenda was the upcoming Russia-EU summit planned for December 15.

"This subject has not been and will not be on the official agenda,” Chizhov noted. “But I am sure that Dmitry Anatolyevich [Medvedev] perfectly understands what he will answer to questions that are to be asked.”

The Russian envoy said it looked “strange” that once again the EU was passing resolutions dealing with Russia at the very same time a bilateral summit is about to convene.

"This looks quite strange again, because this is not the first time that the European Parliament has passed a resolution…without trying to analyze its results,” Chizhov noted. “But they have their schedule. This is probably what explains this.”

This is not the first time that Western officials have commented on Sunday’s parliamentary elections, which have been criticized in certain quarters for being “unfair.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US has “serious concerns” about Russia’s weekend parliamentary elections, which she labeled “unfair.”

Moscow is hitting back at the criticism, coming as it does without the benefit of any evidence, calling it interference in Russia's internal affairs.

“I'm absolutely convinced that the recent resolution by the European Parliament is blatant interference in Russia's home affairs,” Sergey Markov, director of Institute for Political Research, told RT. “Yes, we do know that there have been certain violations during the parliamentary elections, however, there were many opinion polls conducted prior to the elections which show that in general the current vote results reflect the preferences of the voters.”

Markov went on to say that much of the western criticism stems from a wish to remove Vladimir Putin.

“All the fuss is definitely not about democracy, freedom and human rights – it's about getting rid of Vladimir Putin, who doesn't let Westerns countries put Russia and its nuclear potential under complete control,” he said.

Certain western countries desire a geopolitical situation, in which Russia will have no influence over world geopolitics, Markov added.

Earlier, Konstantin Kosachev, head of the committee for international affairs under the Fifth State Duma (United Russia), warned that bilateral relations could suffer following what seems to have been a premature comment out of Washington on the nature of the Duma elections.

Kosachev reminded the US that Russia’s internal situation is for the Russian people alone to manage.

"If there are initiatives on the part of the US side, say, with direct support of those who Clinton says belong to the Democrats, our response will be tough and consistent,” the United Russia Duma member said. “Our post-election situation is our situation, and only we, the Russian people, can determine the parameters of holding election and eventually, give opinions about them.”

President Dmitry Medvedev said that international monitors who participated in overseeing the State Duma elections should not evaluate Russia's political system in general.

"The conclusion about the sufficiency or insufficiency of parties is an area of responsibility of the Russian authorities, not international organizations,” the president said while meeting with Russian Central Elections Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov referring to the evaluation given by the OSCE election monitoring mission to the December 4 elections. “If they monitor the quality of elections and violations, it's one thing; but the issue of the country's political system is none of their business.”

They will soon be telling us how to write our constitution, the Russian leader added.

Medvedev is traveling to Brussels, where he will take part in the 28th Russia-EU summit.

The summit's agenda is set to tackle energy issues, including differences on the third energy package, the situation in the global economy, which remains mired in a financial crisis, and the situation in international affairs, Chizhov told reporters earlier.

Robert Bridge, RT