Russian Federation flouts international commitments once again with decision not to invite OSCE observers to presidential election



mecacci kaumaMatteo Mecacci and Pia KaumaWARSAW/COPENHAGEN, 29 January 2024 – The decision of the Russian Federation not to invite OSCE observers to the upcoming presidential election is deeply regrettable, leaders of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) said today.

“We are greatly disappointed at the decision not to invite the OSCE to observe the Russian presidential election,” said ODIHR Director Matteo Mecacci. “This runs contrary to the OSCE commitments made by the Russian Federation, and at the same time will deny the country’s voters and institutions an impartial and independent assessment of the election.”

All OSCE countries have recognized the importance for our societies of holding democratic elections. ODIHR is respected worldwide for its credible and reliable assessment of elections across the region, using a comprehensive and uniform methodology. This most recent decision reflects a clear lack of will to co-operate with OSCE international observers, despite the commitments made by all OSCE countries to do so. It also adds to the growing concerns surrounding the shrinking democratic space and erosion of fundamental rights in the Russian Federation. Any system defining itself as democratic welcomes international scrutiny and encourages transparency.

“We regret that conditions have deteriorated so much in the Russian Federation that we cannot deploy observers for the presidential election in March,” said OSCE PA President Pia Kauma. “The very first election observation mission organized by the OSCE PA was to Russia in 1993, and since then we have observed ten national elections in the country. It is very unfortunate that democratic backsliding has reached such a critical point that we cannot be on the ground to observe this year, but we will of course continue to follow the situation closely.”

ODIHR engaged in consultations with the Russian Federation as early as September 2023 to agree on the dates for the deployment of a pre-election needs assessment mission, an initial and crucial step in determining whether to deploy an election observation and in what format. Following the 2021 parliamentary elections, when no OSCE observers were deployed following major limitations imposed by the Russian Federation authorities, the presidential vote on 17 March 2024 will be the second time in a row that the OSCE is unable to observe elections in the country.

All OSCE participating States have committed to inviting observers from other OSCE participating States and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to observe, as well as following up swiftly on ODIHR’s election assessment and recommendations. Parliamentary observers from the OSCE PA put their political expertise and personal experience in electoral processes at the disposal of the OSCE through election observation work conducted across the OSCE region.

While ODIHR will not be able to observe the forthcoming presidential election, the Office continues to monitor the unfolding events in the Russian Federation across all the areas covered by its mandate.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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