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US says Russia's Duma elections not 'free and fair'

Polls 'preceded by widespread efforts to marginalize independent political figures,' says State Department

Michael Hernandez   | 20.09.2021
US says Russia's Duma elections not 'free and fair'

WASHINGTON

Russia's recent parliamentary elections were held in conditions "not conducive to free and fair proceedings," the US State Department said on Monday.

"The Russian government’s use of laws on 'extremist organizations,' 'foreign agents,' and 'undesirable organizations' severely restricted political pluralism and prevented the Russian people from exercising their civil and political rights," spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

"Russian government restrictions, which were preceded by widespread efforts to marginalize independent political figures, also prevented the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and its Parliamentary Assembly from observing the elections, constricting transparency that is essential to fair elections," he added.

Polls closed on Sunday after Russians voted in the three-day parliamentary elections.

President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won an overwhelming majority in the Duma polls as opposition groups maintained the polls were marred by mass fraud.

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