Russia Stiff Arms International Vote Monitors

Showdown looms with US & EU in bid to keep observers at a distance
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2007 5:11 AM CDT
Members of local election committee and observers watch as other election officials count ballots at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine, early Monday, Oct. 01, 2007. The Orange Revolution allies made...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Russia may be headed for another showdown with the US and the European Union over its proposals to severely limit the authority of international election monitors. The Kremlin wants to cut the number of observers and ban their reports from publication until after elections. The move comes just months before the country’s parliamentary and presidential contests, the New York Times reports.

One diplomat accused Moscow of trying to “deconstruct” reforms. An election monitor called the latest move “part of an overall strategy to emasculate” monitoring efforts. But Russia’s foreign minister said the practice is “becoming an instrument of political manipulation and a destabilizing factor.” Russia has already delayed inviting international monitors to observe elections for its lower house of parliament.