President Dmitry Medvedev has responded to criticism from the European Parliament over the outcome of Russia’s parliamentary elections.
“The decision of the European Parliament with regard to our elections – I have no comment on this,” Medvedev bluntly told a press conference following his meeting with EU Council President Herman van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday. "These are our elections, and the European Parliament has no relationship to them. [The EP resolutions] mean nothing to me."
It seems the Russian leader was not alone in his sentiment.
Medvedev mentioned that he had looked through the internet on Wednesday and observed that the Russian parliamentary parties had also expressed their indignation with the European Parliament’s criticism of the elections.
In a resolution passed at a session in Strasbourg on Wednesday, the European Parliament called for new Russian parliamentary elections to be held, labeling the December 4 ballot “unfair.”
"Our Russian parliament – represented by various factions of parties, both those representing a majority and opposition ones, as far as I can tell – expressed their open and strong disagreement with the European Parliament's position yesterday, because the European Parliament should care about European affairs,” the Russian leader said.
Talking about the current state of democracy in Russia, Medvedev said he shares Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's proposal on gradually reinstating direct gubernatorial elections.
Responding to the question concerning the violation of human rights, Medvedev said that the European Union is certainly not free from such concerns.
Russia "has enough problems" with human rights, he said. "But there are problems in the European Union as well. There are problems with respecting the rights of Russian-speaking minorities in many European countries.”
Medvedev went on to mention other serious issues affecting the EU, including incidences of xenophobia, extremism and the rise of neo-Nazi movements in some EU countries.
"We cannot close out eyes to such incidences, and action must be taken against them," he added.