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Transparencia Electoral urges Latin American election officials not to participate in Russian elections

Transparencia Electoral urges election authorities and officials, as well as academics and specialists, not to participate as “election observers” in the Russian general elections to be held between March 15th and 17th, 2024.

The electoral process is completely flawed to ensure the victory of Vladimir Putin and the “United Russia” party. The political opposition is illegalized, persecuted and criminalized, which leaves no possibility of holding free and fair elections.

In fact, the death of Alexei Navalny, announced on Friday, February 16th, one of the most important leaders of the opposition, happened during his imprisonment for political reasons. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has declared that “the EU considers the Russian regime solely responsible for his tragic death”.

In August 2023, Grigori Melkoniants, co-president of Golos, an organization declared “undesirable” and classified as a “foreign agent” by the Russian government, was arbitrarily detained. This independent electoral monitor based in Russia denounced numerous irregularities identified during the Municipal and Regional Elections that were held in Russia between September 9th and 11th, 2022, and the arrest was made less than a month before the electoral farces that Moscow held to appoint regional assemblies and municipal councils in the illegally annexed Ukrainian regions of Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

The Russian regime uses the figure of “election observation” as a tool to legitimize its elections, as well as the elections of other autocratic regimes. It is common for delegations of Russian “observers” to attend the elections in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela with the purposes of supporting their governments, as has been evidenced in the study “Russian electoral observers in Latin America: Missions from and for authoritarian regimes”.

After learning that the Russian Electoral Commission has extended invitations to electoral authorities and officials in Latin America, as well as academics and specialists in the region, we urge them not to validate and condone this autocratic strategy with their presence.

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