Electoral Monitors Are Western Spies–Russian Official

Igor Borisov.  Source: golos.ruRussia’s elections agency has information that some international elections monitors from the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) are agents of the Western intelligence agencies. Igor Borisov, a member of the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), announced the finding during a live interview on the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

“There is such information,” he said. “I cannot speak specifically.”

According to Borisov, agents “came to Yugoslavia, Georgia, Ukraine.” “The result is known to all,” he said, apparently referring to bloodless “color revolutions” which took place in those countries. The CEC member added that “today there is absolutely no democracy in the OSCE.” Borisov went on to say that monitors from the West have exerted political pressure on Russian election officials.

Russia has been critical of European electoral monitors, while observers have complained of increasing efforts on the part of authorities to stymie their work. In February, the OSCE cancelled its missions to the Russian presidential election citing interference from authorities. A December 2007 mission was critical of the way Parliamentary elections were handled.

Government critics have pointed out widespread electoral violations in Russia and have suggested that the results of both Parliamentary and Presidential elections were largely falsified. One computer expert created statistical models indicating that results were most likely “rounded up” by local electoral commissions.

The OSCE has denied that it has any intention of politicizing electoral monitoring missions.

Still, Borisov was starkly critical of the organization in a separate interview with the Vesti news program on July 20th. “The OSCE proclaims its adherence to democratic principles and methods,” he said, “but it works in a different way.

“Russia is trying to rescue the international election monitoring institute,” he went on. “We suggest clear-cut principles of election monitoring: transparency, collegiality, impartiality, respect for sovereign rights of a host country and so on. Everyone, including our Western partners, agree with that.”

Borisov’s statements come simultaneously with a new proposal by the CEC to drastically reform the OSCE. As the Gazeta.ru online newspaper reports on July 23rd, Russia suggested sweeping reforms at an OSCE electoral monitoring conference, which took place from July 21st to the 22nd in Vienna.

Alexander Ivanchenko, the head of the Russian Center for Electoral Techniques Training within the CEC, noted one proposal that would effectively shut out Western European observers altogether:

“Participation in international election monitoring should only be open to representatives of countries whose laws contain provisions on the institution of international observation and have an established practice of inviting international observers to monitor their own elections.”

Russia takes an active role in its own international monitoring projects, and will send a mission to monitor the US presidential election this fall.