EU Urges Putin to Start Dialogue with Opposition

The European Parliament on Thursday issued a resolution calling on Prime Minister and president-elect Vladimir Putin to soften his rhetoric against protesters and engage in “sincere dialogue” with them.

The European deputies condemned shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct of Russia’s March 4 presidential poll. International observers found that Russia’s presidential elections were “deeply skewed in favor of one candidate through shortcomings in the registration process, unequal media coverage and the use of State resources in favor of one candidate,” an EU press release read, quoting the text of the resolution.

“Parliament regrets that the choice of voters was limited in the recent elections and demands comprehensive analyses of all irregularities with a view to strengthening democratic rules for future elections,” the resolution said.

The coordinator of the Left Front movement Sergei Udaltsov on Thursday called for a million-strong rally to take place in Moscow on May 5, two days before Putin’s inauguration.

The EU Parliament encouraged all sides to take the opportunity, before the new president is inaugurated, to decide on a comprehensive reform package and called on Russian democratic opposition groups to unite more closely around political reforms, thus affording Russian citizens a credible alternative.

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