The State Duma, regional and local elections in the Russian Federation took place on 17-19 September.
“Russians were robbed of the possibility to have a say and freely choose their country’s destiny. The EPP Group calls on the EU and its Member States to not recognize this vote”, said Sandra Kalniete MEP, Vice-Chairwoman of the EPP Group in charge of Foreign Affairs, and Andrius Kubilius MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on Russia.
“During the 3 days of voting, numerous serious violations were reported. The electronic voting system was utilized by the regime to shape the final voting outcomes, without any independent scrutiny, especially in Moscow electoral districts. The elections took place in an atmosphere of intimidation and silencing of any critical voices. And the result, which is a result of unprecedented tampering, appears to be substantially worse than in 2016. This severely weakens the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin’s rule”, Kalniete and Kubilius stressed.
“What took place in Russia is totally different from what everybody can see in the different democratic countries, including neighboring Ukraine, where Ukrainian authorities are not afraid to hold transparent and fair elections. If elections in Lithuania, Latvia or any other EU Member State were organized in such a shameful way, as has been done in Russia, those ‘elections’ would be called illegitimate”, they concluded.
A statement was also made by the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell. He noted that prior to the elections, “there was an increase in repression against opposition politicians, civil society organizations and independent media, as well as journalists,” which led to limited choice for voters. Borrell expressed concern that in Russia “space for opposition continues to shrink.”