U.S. Statement on Russian Duma Elections
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
September 19, 2016
The United States welcomes the preliminary report on the Russian Duma elections by the observer mission of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. We acknowledge that the Russian Central Elections Commission administered the elections transparently, but we note the report’s finding that, “the electoral environment was negatively affected by restrictions to fundamental freedoms and political rights, firmly controlled media and a tightening grip on civil society.”
We share the observers’ concern that the inclusiveness of the candidate registration process was diminished by limitations on the right to stand and excessive registration requirements, particularly for independent candidates. We also note observers’ reports during the campaign period of misuse of administrative resources by some local authorities, obstruction of certain campaign events, and we reiterate our concerns about the harassment of prominent members of the political opposition.
Like people everywhere, Russians deserve free, fair, and transparent elections, and leaders who are accountable to those they represent. We urge Russian authorities to take positive action on both the recommendations contained in the OSCE’s observers’ report, and on the recommendations of other domestic and international observers.