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Russia slams ‘unbalanced’ EU resolution on presidential vote

Published time: February 17, 2012 09:12
Edited time: February 17, 2012 13:59
A presidential election campaign poster reads: "The 4th of March - The elections of the President of Russia" (RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok)

A presidential election campaign poster reads: "The 4th of March - The elections of the President of Russia" (RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok)

Moscow has responded heatedly to a grab bag of complaints leveled against Russia by the European Parliament, which includes early criticism of next month’s presidential election, and a call to reinstate a disqualified candidate.

­Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's permanent envoy to the EU, slammed a European Parliament resolution, which lumps together an assortment of issues, including Russia’s stance on Syria, last December’s Duma elections, and presidential elections scheduled for March 4.

“The present resolution deals with the upcoming presidential election in Russia,” Chizhov told reporters on Thursday. “If the European lawmakers wanted to comment on the election so much, they should probably have waited for it to be carried through.”

Chizhov mentioned the contradictory nature of the “not always objective or balanced” document, which seems to be more a reflection of “sentiments among members of the European Parliament,” some of which he described as downright “volatile sentiments.”

“One passage points out the peaceful character of the demonstrations and rallies that took place in Moscow and some of our other cities without interference from the authorities,” Chizhov noted. “Another passage speaks about the dispersal of some demonstrations.”

Without attempting to investigate the motives behind such contradictory assertions, the diplomat said he would leave it “on the conscience of the European parliamentarians.”

Meanwhile, Andrei Klimov, chairman of the lower house's international affairs committee, questioned the part of the resolution that calls for liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky – disqualified from the race following campaign violations, which Yavlinsky himself admitted – to be counted among the presidential candidates.

"Evidently someone in Brussels decided to support friends from the so-called Russian opposition who periodically run to the European Union to complain," Klimov said.

The Russian lawmaker mentioned that “PACE observers, who recently visited Moscow, found no special problems with the presidential campaign so far.”

“The resolution was passed at the height of the election campaign [in Russia], which can be qualified as “a factor of pressure,” the parliamentarian stressed.

Chizhov, drawing attention to the Occupy Wall Street protests in the United States, questioned why the European Parliament was not shoveling out criticism of foreign governments on an equal basis.

"For some reason, the European Parliament has not responded to the clearly disproportionate use of force in the United States in the dispersal of protests in 110 cities, where more than 6,000 people were detained,” he said.

Chizhov went on to address certain current events inside the EU.

“It also happens quite often that the European Parliament doesn't react to developments in EU member states,” he said. “In this sense, it will be interesting to see the reaction of the European Parliament to a planned referendum expected to be held in Latvia.”

Latvia, which has a large Russian-speaking community, will vote on whether to make Russian the second official language, in a referendum scheduled to take place on February 18.

It would be praiseworthy if members of the European Parliament paid more attention to shortcomings of democracy within the European Union itself and in other countries, the diplomat added.

Chizhov also mentioned that European Parliament resolutions discuss issues “that have nothing to do with the declared theme of a resolution.”

"If it's about the election, what does the UN vote on Syria have to do with this? What do the rights of religious organizations have to do with it?" the Russian envoy asked.

Reminding his European colleagues that “President Dmitry Medvedev…stated the Russian position on such votes eloquently enough at a news conference after December's Russia-EU summit in Brussels," Chizhov went on to say that “such resolutions are, naturally, in no way binding on the Russian side and are of no practical significance for us."

Robert Bridge, RT

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