OSCE Monitors Continue to Await Visas

With State Duma elections less than three weeks away, electoral monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are still awaiting visas.  Interfax reported that the two step process of applying for a visa, then for accreditation, has been indefinitely delayed.

Representatives of the Organization noted that they have done everything in line with official protocol, and denied claims that they were attempting to politicize the delay.  The Russian Foreign ministry has accused the monitors of  “attempts to lay the responsibility for (their) own sluggishness on the inviting party, and to try to give this a political subtext to boot.”

Formal invitations to monitors were only sent on November 1st, weeks later than in previous parliamentary elections.  Around 330 international observers are expected to monitor the December 2nd election, less than a third of previous cycles.  Many have faced long processing times on their documents, and many have yet to arrive in the country.