Putin blames U.S. for vote monitor pullout

A02859903.jpgPresident Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia had information suggesting the United States influenced a decision by OSCE international observers not to monitor the December 2 parliamentary election.The main election monitoring unit of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) pulled out of Russia’s parliamentary vote earlier this month, accusing Russian authorities of obstruction.

A spokeswoman for the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutes and Human Rights (ODIHR), which was running the aborted election observation mission, said Putin’s remarks were “simply not true”.

“According to some information it (the pullout of observers) was done on the recommendation of the U.S. State Department,” Putin said. “We will certainly take this into account with our bilateral ties with this state.”

Putin said the United States wanted to present the Russian parliamentary election as illegal, citing the fact that it was not properly monitored.

ODIHR spokeswoman Urdur Gunnarsdottir said by telephone: “This (decision) was not made at the recommendation of any state but was simply made, and only made, on the basis of our inability to do a long-term observation.

“It did not have an aim to influence the Russian election in any way.”

Putin was in St Petersburg meeting local members of his parliamentary party, United Russia.

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