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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Question: How are preparations going for the reception of international observers of the elections of deputies of the lower house of the Russian parliament?

Answer: Despite the continuing exacerbation of the situation with coronavirus infection in the world, the Russian Federation consistently adheres to the principles of maximum openness and transparency of the electoral process, and is highly interested in the availability of international observation.

Russia is ready to accept and ensure the safe stay of international observers and provide them with all the necessary organizational, technical and legal conditions for them to fulfill their tasks, therefore invitations have already been sent or will be sent to several hundred international observers. In particular, the Russian authorized bodies, and these are the chambers of the Federal Assembly (the Federation Council and the State Duma), as well as the CEC of Russia and the Russian Foreign Ministry, invite all international organizations that traditionally sent observers to elections in our country to participate in observing the elections of deputies to the State Duma. The invitations will also be sent by the chambers of the Federal Assembly through inter-parliamentary cooperation and the CEC of Russia in the framework of cooperation with electoral bodies of foreign states.

Question: Which international organizations are expected to send their observers?

Answer: We expect to receive observers from such international organizations as the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Interparliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy, as well as from a number of specialized international organizations of electoral bodies.

We are interested in ensuring that all international organizations, parliaments and electoral bodies of foreign states with which the authorized bodies have agreements could, on equal terms, take part in professional, objective and impartial observation.

Question: What are the nuances of the upcoming observation of the electoral process in the Russian Federation against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic?

Answer: Of course, international observers must comply with all the requirements established by Rospotrebnadzor.

Given that foreign (international) observers hold meetings with participants in the electoral process (candidates, political parties, observers, members of election commissions), in the current epidemiological situation, non-compliance with these requirements may lead to the spread of coronavirus infection among a large number of citizens and create a risk of disruption of elections in some polling stations.

Based on the example of the organization of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, we see that, despite the unprecedented security measures and the complete closedness of their holding for spectators, there are regular reports of new cases of coronavirus infection in various delegations. In the context of the emergence and spread of new strains characterized by increased pathogenicity, additional measures will be taken such as PCR tests, vaccination, and, if necessary, quarantine measures. These measures will ensure the safety of participants in the electoral process during the three days of voting.

We are convinced that partner organizations will be sympathetic to such requirements aimed at ensuring the safe conduct of the election campaign, including the implementation of foreign observation. In addition, they meet global standards for international surveillance in a global pandemic.

We admit that such requirements and restrictions may seem excessive to some, but the Russian Federation proceeds from the unconditional priority of the safety of our citizens: voters, observers and all participants in the electoral process.

All foreign observation missions and arriving observers must be in the same conditions. We consider it unacceptable for someone to be in a privileged position.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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