Statement on the absence of OSCE observation of Russia's State Duma elections

Delivered by chargé d’Affaires a.i. Henning Hj. Johansen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 8 August 2021.

Madame Chair,

Norway deeply regrets that the OSCE will not be able to send observers to the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Russian Federation due to limitations imposed by Russian authorities.

We understand that the ongoing pandemic raises concerns. And this pandemic does require special measures to be undertaken to prevent the spread of the virus. Still, we are confident that the ODIHR and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in cooperation with the Russian Federation would have been able to find solutions that would reduce the risk of spreading Covid sufficiently.

ODIHR’s election observation constitutes the golden standard of election observations. One of several important parts of ODIHR’s observation methodology, is the mandate to independently conduct a need assessment and from that decide on the necessary number of observers. The severe restriction on the number of observers posed by Russian authorities would reduce the value of the observation in question.

Without independent observers, the credibility of the upcoming elections is in doubt.

Thank you