U.S. comments about Russian polls ‘unacceptable’ – Foreign Ministry

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday comments by senior White House officials about Russian parliamentary elections were “unacceptable.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier on Tuesday that Sunday’s polls in Russia were neither free nor fair.

Addressing the foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member countries in Vilnius, Clinton said: “Russian voters deserve a full investigation of all credible reports of electoral fraud and manipulation and we hope in particular that the Russian authorities will take action.”

“Comments by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the Russian parliamentary elections, as well as those of other representatives of the White House and the U.S. Department of State are unacceptable,” the ministry said in a statement.

“We expect the U.S. side to refrain from unfriendly statements running counter to the general positive vector of our bilateral relations,” the statement reads.

The pro-Kremlin United Russia party gained almost half of the vote in Sunday polls. The vote was marred by widespread allegations of poll procedure in favor of the party, with dozens of clips appearing to show election fraud uploaded onto the Internet.

International observers from the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe noted that the election preparations were technically “well-administered across a vast territory,” but marked by “flagrant procedural violations,” including cases of ballot-stuffing, “a convergence of the state and the governing party,” limited political competition and a lack of fairness.

President Dmitry Medvedev declared Sunday’s elections free and democratic but ordered an investigation into the alleged violations.

Russia is disappointed by the fact that Washington officials “stick to outdated stereotypes and labels without trying to understand what is really happening in our electoral field,” the Russian ministry said in its statement.

The U.S. election system can also hardly be considered “a paragon of openness and fairness,” the ministry said, pointing to a “very low voter turnover at [U.S.] elections at all levels.”

“The U.S. executive authorities should rather analyze the reasons for this situation and ways to improve it,” the statement said.


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