Russia has announced that it will not be sending a team to monitor the U.S. elections. The Russians were to be part of an Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) team that will evaluate if the U.S. elections are up to international standards.
An OSCE team opened an office in Washington on October 10. The observers include 13 international experts and 48 observers split into teams of two. According to the OSCE press release:
“The observers will focus mainly on federal legislation and its implementation, election reform issues, the election campaign and the media, electronic voting, access of observers, and other issues including voter registration, voter identification, and voting rights.”
After the 2000 election, the OSCE sent observers to the 2002, 2004 and 2006 elections.
Some expected the Russians to take part in the election monitoring because of heavy U.S. criticism of the Russian election when Dmitry Medvedev received 70% of the vote. That campaign was characterized as unfair to Medvedev’s opponents.
“They criticized us at our elections and we will criticize them, too,” Evgeny Minchenko, head of Moscow’s International Institute of Political Expertise, told Kommersant. “There is the task to take away from America its position as sole interpreter and priest of democracy.”
However, yesterday, Vladimir Churov, head of the Russian Central Election Commission, announced the Russians would not take part in the monitoring.
The exchange should be mutual,” Churov said noting that the U.S. did not send observers to the last two Russian elections.
Churov also said that because of differing election laws in each U.S. state, the Russians were not willing to send observers to all 50 states.