Russia, Ex-Soviet States Rebuke Democracy Watchdog

Russia, Ex-Soviet States Rebuke Democracy Watchdog

8 July 2004

VIENNA, Austria (Reuters) – Russia and eight other ex-Soviet states accused
Europe’s biggest security and human rights watchdog Thursday of failing to
respect their sovereignty.

The 55-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),
whose activities include monitoring elections, has chided former the Soviet
states for ballots it says failed to live up to democratic standards.

“In part (the OSCE) does not respect such fundamental principles … as
non-interference in internal affairs and respect of national sovereignty,”
said a statement signed by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Russia has long complained of double standards at the OSCE, which it says
criticizes human rights and democracy failings east of Vienna, where the
organization is based, but does not denounce similar shortcomings to the

Of the OSCE’s 18 field activities, 12 are in the former Soviet Union.

The OSCE said Russia’s presidential election in March was well administered
but fell short of democratic standards, particularly where the state media
was concerned.

President Vladimir Putin swept to a second term with 71 percent of votes in
that election.

“It is of concern that OSCE field missions focus not on their mandated role
to help the authorities of the receiving state …, but exclusively on
monitoring human rights and democratic institutions,” the CIS statement

The European Union issued a statement expressing its “serious concern” at
some of the CIS states’ comments. (Additional reporting by Richard Ayton in