(Source: Council of the EU)
The State Duma, regional and local elections in the Russian Federation took place on 17-19 September. The European Union regrets that Russia’s decision to severely restrict the size and format of an international OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission prevented its deployment.
The EU takes note of independent and reliable sources reporting serious violations.
In the run-up to the elections, there was an increased crackdown on opposition politicians, civil society organisations and independent media outlets, as well as journalists. This resulted in the limitation of the choice for Russian voters and their ability to get full and accurate information about candidates.
The EU reiterates its deep concerns over the continuous pattern of shrinking space for the opposition, civil society and independent voices across Russia. The EU calls on Russia’s leadership to reverse these negative developments.
The Russian Federation should abide by the commitments it has assumed within the framework of the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe in terms of protection of human rights and democratic values.
The EU does not and will not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and therefore does not recognise the so-called elections held in the occupied Crimean peninsula.
The Russian Federation‘s decision to involve residents of the non-government controlled territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine in the State Duma, regional and local elections runs counter to the spirit and objectives of the Minsk agreements. The EU remains unwavering in its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.