Luc van den Brande who is involved with the Council of Europe’s program on human rights expressed misgivings about the fairness of the upcoming Russian election on December 2. He said there is little evidence the election would be fair, open, democratic, or transparent. Russia’s leading party, United Russia, completely dominates television sources and uses government money to propogandize its ideas to the public. Of the 85 political parties which attempted to have themselves placed on the ballot, only 11 were able to do so. He also expressed concern that only 300 international observers would be allowed to monitor the election compared to 1,163 who were allowed in 2003. The Russian Electoral Commission dismissed this complaint saying there was nothing in its nation’s constitution requiring foreign observers.
President Putin is in control of the nation and he has turned his back on the democratic enthusiasm which swept the country in the 1990s. His old KGB training dominates the manner in which he deals with elections– why bother since only one party-his United Russia– is allowed to gain victory.