An international election watchdog agency has canceled its mission to monitor Russia’s December vote because its delegation's visa applications “have continuously been denied,” reports the Washington Post. The lack of oversight by the agency, part of the 55-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is expected to heighten concerns about the legitimacy of the elections.
Russia’s election chief maintains that the agency submitted its forms late. A poll out today shows 66% in favor of the United Russia party loyal to Vladimir Putin, who is stepping down as president. “United Russia’s lead is so great that these elections are reminiscent of Soviet elections, where there was no alternative” said the polling center director.