Disinfo: The OSCE's refusal to send observers to the Russian elections aims to question its legitimacy later

Summary

The refusal of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to send observers to the Russian elections aims to create an artificial scandal around the election in order to question its legitimacy later.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the OSCE as allegedly biased against Russia and a political tool used by Western countries.

This claim was neither counterbalanced nor critically challenged in the article.

The OSCE made a decision not to send observers to monitor the Duma elections because Russian authorities had limited the number of observers it could send to the elections. OSCE institutions had been invited to observe the vote scheduled for 17-19 September 2021, but were subsequently restricted to sending 60 observers. For the upcoming parliamentary elections in Russia, an OSCE needs assessment mission deployed in May to June 2021 found that a mission with 80 long-term observers and 420 short-term observers was needed to provide an independent credible assessment.

Matteo Mecacci, Director of OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, (ODIHR) commented on the matter as follows:

"We very much regret that our observation of the forthcoming elections in Russia will not be possible, but the ability to independently determine the number of observers necessary for us to observe effectively and credibly is essential to all international observation. The insistence of the Russian authorities on limiting the number of observers we could send without any clear pandemic-related restrictions has unfortunately made today’s step unavoidable".

Russian authorities cited the sanitary-epidemiological situation in the Russian Federation as the reason for the limitations. The OSCE said that no pandemic-related entry restrictions or rules about operating and moving within the country would seem to prevent the deployment of a full election observation mission in line with ODIHR’s initial assessment.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 256
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/08/2021
  • Article language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: OSCE, Elections
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Disproof

Disinformation which advances the pro-Kremlin claim that the EU punishes countries which buy the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. Besides being a part of Russian efforts to promote Sputnik V-vaccine, this narrative also fits into a broader pro-Kremlin narrative about “colour revolutions” allegedly promoted by the US or other Western actors to overthrow governments that are unwelcome to the West.

There is no evidence to support the claims that a government crisis was organised deliberately in Slovakia as a punishment for its purchase of Sputnik V.

Disinfo: If Western 'maidan' technologies are not stopped, Belarus will face coup and war as in Ukraine

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus, the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests and the ensuing armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

There is no basis for the claims that the Western states are trying to organise a colour revolution in Belarus. The protests in Belarus drew participant from broad segments in society and erupted to contest the results of the presidential election on 9 August 2020, which were not monitored by independent experts, and are largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a big part of the Belarusian society. On 19 August 2020, the European Council called Belarusian elections neither free nor fair.

Disinfo: For the West, Russian elections will always be "bad"

A critical stance of the democratic processes in Russia is part of the West's long-term policy. In fact, this is a consistent and recurring policy; whatever happens in the Russian elections, they will always be "bad", and whatever happens in the elections in Ukraine, Moldova, or the Baltic states, they will always be "good" if they achieve the desired (Western) result.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West's double standards when dealing with Russia versus Ukraine and the Baltic States, where, according to the narrative, the West turns a blind eye to violations of human rights and democratic principles that occur there.

However, the differences in the integrity of the electoral processes between Russia on the one hand, Ukraine, Moldova, and the Baltic states on the other is more than just imagined. In the 2020 Democracy Index, Russia scored a low of 2.17 out of 10 in the "electoral process and pluralism" indicator. On the other hand, Ukraine scored 8.25 and Moldova 7, while the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all scored 9.58.